The University Record, February 27, 1996

Nettles to head new national center devoted to Black educational issues

By Diane Swanbrow
News and Information Services

The College Fund/United Negro College Fund (UNCF) announced Feb. 22 the appointment of Prof. M ichael T. Nettles as director of the newly established Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute, the first major center in the nation devoted to Black educational data analyses and policy research.

Located in Fairfax, Va., at UNCF headquarters, the Institute will conduct research and analyze, interpret and disseminate data on Blacks in education. It also will provide essential information to the public, policy makers and educators on Black education issues from the preschool to the postgraduate level.

Nettles will split his time between the Institute and the School of Education where he has been since 1992. Before that, Nettles was vice president for assessment at the University of Tennessee, and senior research scientist for Education Policy and Research at the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J.

His research background includes studies on educational standards and testing, faculty productivity, tolerance on U.S. college campuses, minority achievement in education, computer applications in education, and historically Black colleges and universities. He holds a Ph.D. in higher education from Iowa State University.

"The University of Michigan has a long history of being at the forefront of Black educational achievement," said William H. Gray, III, president and CEO of the College Fund. "Their support today continues that great tradition. Dr. Nettles is an outstanding scholar with a unique research background that is ideally suited to the goals of this Institute. We thank the University of Michigan, its president and administrati on, for their role in bringing us Dr. Nettles and making the Institute a reality."

Commenting on Nettles' appointment, President James J. Duderstadt noted: "This is an exciting new venture for the University of Michigan. It formalizes our association with the College Fund/United Negro College Fund and allows us the opportunity to share our resources. The work of the Institute will be enormously valuable not only to those of us in higher education, but also to policy makers and the public. We are delighted to participate in this effort, and we are especially pleased that Professor Nettles will lead it."

The UNCF has raised more than $5 million in endowments for the Institute, created in collaboration with the U-M, which will pay a portion of Nettles' salary and adjust his teaching schedule so he is free to devote considerable effort to the Institute.

Nettles will serve a three-year term as the Institute's director. His responsibilities include structuring the Institute, hiring staff and determining the initial research priorities.

The oldest and most successful minority higher education assistance organization in the country, UNCF was founded on April 25, 1944, by Dr. Frederick D. Patterson, president of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). Today the College Fund/UNCF is a consortium of 41 private, historically Black colleges and universities. It administers more than 350 education programs that give students access to higher education and career opportunities and strengthen its member colleges.