NYU Professor and Novelist Zadie Smith to Receive Langston Hughes Medal for Writing

Zadie Smith (photo via lithub.com)

via jbhe.com

Zadie Smith, the acclaimed novelist who is a professor of creative writing at New York University, has been selected to received the Langston Hughes Medal from the City College of New York. The medal honors writers of poetry, drama, fiction, biographies, and critical essays from throughout the Black diaspora. Professor Smith will honored on November 16 at City College’s annual Langston Hughes Festival.

Previous winners of the Langston Hughes Medal include James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, Gwendolyn Brooks, Octavia Butler, August Wilson, and Edwidge Danticat. Smith is the author of five novels including her latest work Swing Time (Penguin Books, 2016). She also published an essay collection Changing My Mind (Penguin Books, 2009) and writes frequently for the New Yorker magazine and the New York Review of Books.

A native of London, Professor Smith is a graduate of Kings College of the University of Cambridge. She joined the faculty at New York University in 2010.

Source: Zadie Smith of New York University to Receive the Langston Hughes Medal : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

Columbia University Professor Alondra Nelson to Be Next President of the Social Science Research Council

Columbia professor Alondra Nelson (photo via news.columbia.edu)

Columbia University professor Alondra Nelson (photo via news.columbia.edu)

article via jbhe.com

Alondra Nelson, a professor of sociology and dean of social science at Columbia University in New York City, will be the next president of the Social Science Research Council. Founded in 1923, the Social Science Research Council is an independent, international, nonprofit organization which supports research and development of social scientists. Professor Nelson will serve a five-year term as president of the organization, beginning September 1.

Professor Nelson joined the faculty at Columbia University in 2009 after teaching at Yale University. She is the author of the award-winning book Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) and a co-editor of Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History (Rutgers University Press, 2012) and Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life (New York University Press, 2001). Her most recent book is The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome (Beacon Press, 2016).

Professor Nelson is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of California at San Diego, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She holds a doctoral degree in American studies from New York University.

Dr. G. Gabrielle Starr Named 10th President of Pomona College in CA, 1st Female and African-American

Pomona College President G. Gabrielle Starr (photo via Guggenheim Foundation)

New Pomona College President G. Gabrielle Starr (photo via Guggenheim Foundation)

article via jbhe.com

G. Gabrielle Starr was appointed the tenth president of Pomona College in Claremont, California. When she takes office on July 1, Dr. Starr will be the first woman and the first African American president of the highly ranked liberal arts college.

Pomona College enrolls about 1,650 students. African Americans make up 7 percent of the student body according to the latest Department of Education data. However, data supplied to JBHE shows that Black students make up more than 15 percent of the entering class at Pomona College this year.

Dr. Starr has been serving as dean of the College of Arts and Science at New York University. She joined the faculty at New York University in 2000.

Gabrielle Starr enrolled at Emory University at the age of 15. She earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree at Emory before going on to earn a Ph.D. at Harvard University. Her most recent book is Feeling Beauty: The Neuroscience of Aesthetic Experience (MIT Press, 2013).

NYU Study Finds That Middle and High School Students of All Races Prefer Teachers of Color

(photo via constant contact.com)

(photo via archive.constantcontact.com)

article via jbhe.com

A new study by researchers at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University finds that middle and high school students of all races have a more favorable opinion of Black and Latino teachers than they do of White teachers.

The authors of the study examined data on 1,680 teachers in 200 urban schools who taught more than 50,000 students in grades six through nine.

Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng, assistant professor of international education at New York University and a co-author of the study, said that “we were surprised to find that minority teachers are not just viewed more highly than White teachers by minority students, but in many cases by White students as well.” Asian American students preferred Black teachers even more than did Black students.

The study, “The Importance of Minority Teachers: Student Perceptions of Minority Versus White Teachers,” was published on the website of the journal Educational Researcher. It may be accessed here.

Poet, Author and Professor Elizabeth Alexander Named to Pulitzer Prize Board

American poet Elizabeth Alexander speaks during an event in the State Dining Room at the White House on April 17, 2015, in Washington, D.C. First lady Michelle Obama hosted the event in celebration of National Poetry Month.

American poet Elizabeth Alexander (photo via Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

article by Stephen A. Crockett Jr. via theroot.com

Acclaimed poet, author and professor Elizabeth Alexander has been elected to the Pulitzer Prize board.

Alexander wrote and delivered her poem “Praise Song for the Day” for President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 and was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for her book of poetry American Sublime and a 2016 Pulitzer finalist for her memoir, The Light of the World, according to the announcement on the Pulitzer website.

Alexander has taught at several schools, including the University of Chicago, New York University and Smith College, and was part of the faculty at Yale University for 15 years; she also served as chair of Yale’s department of African-American studies. Alexander was recently named the Wun Tsun Tam Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University and is the director of creativity and free expression at the Ford Foundation.

As a member of the 19-person board, Alexander will help decide the winners of the Pulitzer Prizes in in journalism, books, drama and music each April. She will serve a three-year term on the Pulitzer Prize board, on which members serve a maximum of nine years.

Learn more about Alexander here.

New York High School Senior Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna Accepted to All Eight Ivy League Colleges

Image: Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna

Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna. Elmont Memorial High School (photo via nbcnews.com)

article by Sarah Donaldson James via nbcnews.com

All eight Ivy League schools — Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, University of Pennsylvania — have offered Long Island, New York high school senior Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna  places in their freshman class.

In addition to the Ivies, she was accepted by Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Augusta is valedictorian at Elmont Memorial High School, where she has a 101.64 weighted grade point average. The school is no stranger to academic superstars: Last year, senior Harold Ekeh scored the same number of Ivy acceptances.

“I am elated, but most importantly, I am thankful,” Augusta, 17, told school officials at Sewanhaka Central High School District.

Augusta’s older brother Johnson told NBC News that Augusta’s “initiative and perseverance,” as well as the family’s emphasis on learning, were responsible for his sister’s success. And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as both their Nigerian-born parents are college-educated, and her father has a master’s and doctorate from the University of Indianapolis.

“Education is very paramount in our family,” said her brother, who also made his way to the Ivies. He is a freshman at Cornell University, studying biological engineering.

Tobias and Basillia Nna immigrated to the United States in 1994 and settled first in Indiana then New York City. They moved to Elmont in 2000. Their father has worked for various companies as a physical therapist. All four of their children were born in this country.  “Augusta’s school days start from 7 in the morning until around 8 at night,” said Uwamanzu-Nna. “Not to mention all of the homework assignments, scholarship and other miscellaneous things she gets done.”

He said that while his sister was co-founder of her own tutoring service, she also works at another tutoring center on Saturdays.

“I am humbled by all of the college acceptance letters that I recently received,” Augusta says on her high school website. “I am reminded that I have a responsibility to be a role model for others and use my experiences to encourage and inspire others, especially young women.”

To read more, go to: http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/college-game-plan/long-island-high-school-student-accepted-all-eight-ivies-n551901?cid=sm_tw&hootPostID=9c3ca1968651804b658563b28ec6dd2c

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith Donate to Help Female Filmmakers at NYU Film School

Will Smith (R) and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the 47th NAACP Image Awards presented by TV One at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 5, 2016 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards).

Will Smith (R) and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the 47th NAACP Image Awards presented by TV One at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 5, 2016 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards).

article via thegrio.com

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are serious about seeing women succeed in Hollywood.  The couple just donated $30,000 to New York University’s film school as part of a foundation project designed to help female filmmakers and to finance student television projects.

“Will and Jada Smith have a strong desire and commitment to the education of tomorrow’s storytellers, and we’re thrilled that they have decided to support some of out standout students and programs,” said Joe Pichirallo, chair of Tisch’s undergraduate film and TV department.

The money will go to finance two student-created television pilots and will also go toward the Fusion Film Festival, which supports up to five female filmmakers whose work is submitted to the festival.