Morris Duenow Essay

Psych Discourse
October, 2000, Volume 31 #10

"Indiginization" of African Psychology



   Psych Discourse Online
   By Halford H. Fairchild, 3

Prevention of HIV/AIDS Through Traditional Means:  The Cultural Practice of Dipo
   By Rose M. Schroeder & Samuel Danquah, 5

Toward an African-Centered Psychology:  Voices of Continental African Psychologists
   By Charity S. Akotia & Akinsola Olowu, 7

Black Parents Battle Family Courts for Children
By Harry R. Davidson, 11

How Africa Developed the World
By Halford Fairchild & Dipannita Basu, 12

An African American Psychologist’s Response to “The SPSSI Bridge”
By Kelly S. Ervin, 14

   Student Circle Contact Information, 16
   E-Mail Directory, 19
   Notice to Contributors, 20

   Job Opportunities and Internships, 21
   Products and Services, 35

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Psych Discourse Online
BY Halford H. Fairchild, Ph.D.
Editor, Psych Discourse

 We are now testing a system for making Psych Discourse available online.  By the end of the year, we will have Psych Discourse linked to our organizational website (, and by the time that you read this, you can see last month’s issue and this month’s issue at a mirror site that I created on my personal website at Pitzer College (

 The benefits are enormous.  First, we begin a system of archiving Psych Discourse so that readers may select issues from the first online issue forward.  (Whether we do backward posting is something that is being considered.)  Second, we make the information in our monthly newsjournal available, at no cost, to readers around the world.  Third, we may begin to generate revenues as we could charge a nominal fee for individuals to download Psych Discourse content.  Fourth, we make the increasing use of Internet addresses, contained within articles, announcements and advertisements, to be “clickable” for those who read the online version of Psych Discourse.

 For the past year and a half, I have developed some beginning skills as a Webmaster.  I have found my website very useful in posting my course syllabi, essays, photographs, and related material so that students and others can easily access them.  I can share students’ papers, among students and others, by posting them on web pages that are linked to my course pages.  As a leader in a fight for social justice in Claremont, I have found it most efficacious to refer supporters to our website, that I created and maintain, for recent news and information (

 To see these benefits for yourself, go to my website and click on the Psych Discourse link.  Too much available is on the Internet, and our struggles as Black psychologists are too daunting, for a contemporary student or scholar not to have ready access to online resources.

Halford H. Fairchild is a Professor of Psychology and Black Studies at Pitzer College and serves as Editor of Psych Discourse.  He may be reached at PsychDiscourse@AOL.COM.



Prevention of HIV/AIDS Through Traditional Means: The Cultural Practice of Dipo Rites
Rose M. Schroeder, Ph.D. and Samuel Danquah, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of Ghana, Legon

This paper examined Dipo as a traditional means of controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases in Ghana. In Africa, HIV/AIDS is believed to be spread through sex. Currently, there is no known cure for HIV/AIDS, and drugs identified as slowing its progress are financially out of reach of many African nations. The main purpose of Dipo as a transitional rite of passage in Ghana is to prevent promiscuity and premarital sex. It appears that the adoption of this rite may curtail the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. This paper thus suggests research into Dipo and other transitional rites to help control the spread of these diseases.  Although many traditional practices have been condemned and isolated by Western societies, Dipo has resisted this condemnation and therefore has persisted. When Dipo began, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases were not thought of. Society thought of educating girls about preserving their dignity, the values of marriage and the good morals of the Krobo woman by emphasizing sexual abstinence before marriage. Now, Dipo could play a very important role in the preventing and controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases in Ghana.

The Origin of Dipo

It is believed that there was once a noble Krobo man who had two wives. The elder wife had only male children while the younger wife had only female children.  The custom at that time was to circumcise the boys between the ages of 10 and 14 years. The circumcision was accompanied by an elaborate celebration to initiate boys into manhood. The pride and the glamour that went with the circumcision became a source of envy to the younger wife who had only female children. This problem was presented to Nana Kloweki, the priestess of Manya Krobo. To appease the younger wife, Dipo was instituted as a puberty rite for girls between the ages of 14 and 21 years.

Nana Kloweki, by virtue of her priestly leadership, assumed the role of spiritual, moral, social, and economic leader, as well as a teacher of the adolescent girls. The training of the girls included personal hygiene and some vocations. The girls were also taught home management and childcare. They were assessed in these various areas of their training and symbolic marks that are similar in concept to tattoo were inscribed on their bodies for successfully completing the training. In all, there were three traditional marks; the first was inscribed between the thumb and the wrist for personal hygiene.

The second mark was inscribed on the girls belly (Fomi Bo) after thorough examination by Nana Kloweki to verify that the girl was fully developed for both marriage and child bearing. This mark signified maturity and readiness for child bearing. The essence of the Fomi Bo was to make sure that only mature and certified girls were accepted as ready physically to have children. This was also a check on teenage pregnancy.  The third mark was made at the back of the waist. It was a taboo to let any man except her husband touch or hold her waist. The essence of this mark was to prevent promiscuity, adultery, and premarital sex.

Dipo as means of HIV/AIDS Prevention

The second aspect of the training consisted of moral training and self discipline. It was believed that any girl (before Dipo) who was sexually active, had an abortion, or was pregnant, would fall down during the ceremony and bring a calamity to her parents. This belief put some responsibility on parents to monitor their daughter’s movements and to help uphold their virginity and the dignity of the family. The purpose of this training was to help the girls preserve their virginity which to some extent also curtailed the spread of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and AIDS. The successful candidates were "outdoored" amid singing and dancing with merry making. After the rites, the girls were ready for marriage. The Dipo rites dictate when virginity can be lost and whom the girl could have sex with since it is a taboo to let any man except her husband touch or hold her waist. Dipo rites thus emphasize prevention of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, prevention of immorality and teenage pregnancy, and preparation for marriage. If the girls adhere to the teachings, they will keep themselves from sex until marriage and that could prevent the incidence and the spread of HIV/ AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Stages of Dipo
The Dipo rites involve many activities divided into stages. The first stage involves replacing the normal waist beads with a single string with only one reddish bead tied to it. A very large red lion cloth is then affixed to the string both in front and at the back of the girl to cover her genital organ. A guide then leads each girl to stand on a sacred antelope skin in a room saying to her, “ine nene dze wakasi-mi peehe ha mo, ne opee klo-yo” meaning, “I am performing our traditional rite for you, that you may become a Krobo woman.”

This is followed by the guide helping the girls to grind millet. The essence of this ritual is to introduce the girls to one of the most important duties of a Krobo woman, that is, grinding of millet for the household.

On Saturday the girls are sent to a stream where they are cleansed and dressed up. Goats presented by their parents are sacrificed with merry making. The blood of the goat is believed to wash away any evil thing that may be harmful to the healthy development of the girls toward mature womanhood and motherhood.

Changes in Dipo
The Dipo rites originally lasted between one and three years. Nevertheless, with the advent of Christianity, Islam and formal education, the duration for the training has been reduced to one week to enable the girls to go back to school. With the misconception of what rites of passage are, Western culture perceives all rites as devilish. Westernization has influenced Ghanaians to also to see Dipo as devilish and fetish, consequently, putting a stop to it. As a result, parents who are Christians are suspended from their various churches for allowing their daughters to undergo Dipo.  Also, with Western influence, people now perceive Dipo as exposing girls’ naked bodies to the public since formal dressing is not encouraged on the day of the outdooring. This has made adolescent girls shy away from the ceremonies. As a result, girls as young as four years may undergo Dipo since at this age they are innocent and see nothing wrong with being naked.
Another reason for the early participation of young girls is the enormous expense involved. Going through Dipo is relatively cheaper for the young girl than the adolescent. Girls are also teased by their friends for undergoing Dipo. Recent developments indicate only girls 15 years and above should be allowed to undergo Dipo.

In the past, those who did not take part in the rites were isolated and were driven away from the community. Presently, due to emigration of traditional people and the influence of religion and Western culture, people view Dipo as fetish. Christians and Muslims see puberty rites as devilish and the educated elites see it as outmoded. For example, Teyegaga (1984) sees Dipo as an outmoded custom that is now more of a religion than training for marriage. Due to the influence of both religion and Western culture, a large section of parents feel no remorse when their daughters do not take part in the Dipo rites. However, the irony is that these same parents will not let their sons marry a girl who has not undergone the Dipo rites since it is believed that uninitiated girls are unclean and do bring a bad omen to the family. This belief shows the importance of Dipo rites to the Krobos.

It is a fact that there is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS (Comer, 1995).  In addition, the drugs that have been found to slow down the progress of AIDS are very expensive and beyond the reach of African governments. There is therefore the need to explore other traditional methods of preventing the spread of the disease. Since HIV/AIDS is mainly sexually transmitted in Africa, Dipo that is a used to prevent promiscuity and infidelity could serve as a tool for the prevention of all forms of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and teenage pregnancy which is a problem facing many nations.

It is possible that other ethnic groups have similar transitional practices that we are not aware of. It is time we rediscover these practices and study how they can be used as mechanisms for controlling sexually transmitted diseases.
For this proposal to be effective and implemented, research into the Dipo is very important.  To encourage such practices, it is proposed that a link be established between the psychologists in Ghana and the organizers of Dipo and other transitional rites:

  • To educate the leaders on prevention of HIV and modernization of these rites
  • To educate the girls about the transitional rites
  • To encourage a dialogue between the traditionalists and the churches to explore systematic ways of using these rites to help prevent HIV that would be acceptable to both the churches and the traditionalists.
 Further, due to the exclusion of males from the rites, research is needed to find out what is done or can be done for males that would help develop a systematic way of preventing the spread of HIV/ AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases among them.


Burton, R. V. & Whiting, J. W. M. (1961). The absent father and cross-sex identity. Merrill Palmer Quarterly, 7, 85-95.

Comer, R. J. (1995). Abnormal Psychology. W. H. Freeman and Company, New York.

Narh, A. J. (1998). The impact of Christianity on the Dipo custom of the Krobos. Unpublished dissertation, Department of Sociology, University of Ghana.

Teyegaga, B. D. (1984). Dipo custom and Christian faith. Jupiter Printing Press Ltd. Accra, Ghana.

Address for correspondence:  Dr. Rose Schroeder, Department of Psychology, University of Ghana, P.O. Box 84, Legon, Ghana, West Africa.


Toward An African-Centered Psychology: Voices of Continental African Psychologists
Charity S. Akotia, M.A.
Department of Psychology
University of Ghana
Legon.  Accra
Akinsola Olowu, Ph.D
Department of Psychology
Obafemi Awolowo University
Ile-Ife. Nigeria


“It is only when we start developing our own theories and epistemologies that we can really understand Africans and what makes meaning to the African people.  We believe that when this is done, not only will indigenous psychology enhance the understanding of local phenomena but will also expand our vision of what forms psychological functioning may take in diverse cultures.”

For sometime now, there has been a call from African psychologists for the continent to have a psychology that is African-centered.  We cannot always assume that findings in Euro-American cultures are universal and therefore applicable to African culture. Scales and testing measures developed in the West may not be appropriate and relevant in Africa.  Western-based models and epistemologies may also not be useful in African cultures.  This paper examines the status of psychology from the viewpoint of the indigenous cultures, traditions and specific needs of peoples in Sub-Saharan Africa.  It emphasizes the voices of African psychologists in an endeavor to have a psychology that is African-centered.

Over the years, psychology in many African countries has been based on Euro-American models and epistemologies.  But, then, can we always assume that findings in Western cultures are universal and therefore applicable to African cultures?  Can Africans have their own psychology based on what is relevant to their culture?

In recent years, voices in Africa have emerged, advocating for the indigenization of psychology in the continent.  Pioneers in the “indigenization” movement have pointed out that Western psychology has limited applicability and relevance to Third world issues because of its individualistic orientation, emphasis on narrow aspects of larger social problems, and the lack of conceptual tools for exploring these problems (Sinha, 1990).  Findings from Euro-American cultures cannot to be assumed universal. Scales and testing measures developed in the West have limited usefulness for the study of non-Western cultures.  When alien schemata are applied to Africa, important phenomena may not be noticed since such models may be insensitive to their recognition (Nsamenang, 1997).

Many metaphors and constructs may be meaningful in one culture or society and yet meaningless in another.  In this regard, some African psychologists call for indigenous theorizing based on indigenous metaphors, paradigms and epistemologies (Egwu, 1996).  Nsamenang argues that “since we live within the precincts of our eco-cultural imperatives and existential realities, what psychology should be concerned with is how people the world over live up to the demands of their cultures and not how they conform or measure up to Euro-American centered models” (Nsamenang, 1997).

Even non-Africans have added their voice to the call for an African-centered psychology.  Indeed, as far back as 1989, Mundy-Castle, an European who has lived and worked in Africa and has helped with the development and establishment of psychology departments in the continent (Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa), advocated for a paradigm shift in psychology in Africa to reflect the shift occurring in the sciences more generally, and specifically in psychology.  He argued that the new emerging paradigms of phenomenology, existentialism and humanism are what will suit psychology in Africa.  The subject matter of psychology is real life and its laboratory should be the community.  To understand Africans, we must seek to understand how Africans subjectively construe reality.  Thus, there is the need to move away from positivists’ paradigms to post-positivists’ paradigms.

This paper examines the status of psychology from the perspective of the indigenous cultures, traditions and needs of people in Sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, it highlights and reinforces the voices of African psychologists who advocate for an epistemology that is based on issues pertinent to the continent and people of Africa.
The writings of African psychologists such as Bame Nsamenang, Michael Durojaiye, Cecil Bodibe and Akinsola Olowu and other Black African voices will therefore be the focus of this paper.

The Status of Psychology in Sub-Saharan Africa
Interest in the study of psychology in Africa south of the Sahara extends from Mauritania across to the Sudan and down to South Africa.  Though largely diverse in ecology, ethnicity, linguistics, politics and history, writes Nsamenang (1995a), “ a certain common quality” deriving from similarities in historical experiences, cultural traits and adaptation to environmental forces, characterizes the many peoples of Afrique Noire.

The 1998 volume of “The World of Learning” indicates that over 100 universities have been established across the sub-continent, led by Nigeria and South Africa (36 and 21 respectively).  Since 1962, many universities in the continent have established psychology departments with 12 in Nigeria having 12 and 19 in South Africa.  These two countries have done a lot in promoting the discipline in Africa.  In Ghana, there are Psychology Departments in 4 of the 5 Universities in the country.

Many attribute the fledging status of psychology in Afrique Noire to lack of recognition of psychology, inadequate finances, political instability, political interference, paucity of psychologists, poor infrastructure and low incentives for scholarship.  Added to these is the over dependence on Western models of psychology and Euro-American values and epistemologies more generally.  Nsamenang (1993; 1995a), for example, posited that Eurocentrism, lack of relevant measures to capture local knowledge and low cultural relevance of the discipline exacerbate the present day situation.
Awaritefe (1997) identified the numerous tasks that face the overburdened editors of scientific journals in Sub-Saharan Africa. Frequent electric power cuts, poor postal and telephone services and lack of finance are some of the problems to grapple with.  Consequently, many African journals become moribund soon after their maiden issue.  As a result, many African psychologists seek publication of their work outside of Africa.  This also raises a number of other problems.
A science that is oblivious of its cultural environment condemns itself to irrelevance.  In an attempt to meet its cultural and environmental needs, therefore, African psychologists have had to adopt problem-oriented research strategies rather than theory-oriented research strategies.  The focus of their work, together with its low sophistication, frequently makes it unattractive for publication outside the African continent.  Thus, the average African psychologist in academia faces a dilemma.

In the midst of the numerous problems faced by African editors, however, by 1995, Nigeria could boast of the publishing and management of 9 psychology journals, which include publication of cross-cultural and indigenous psychological studies of high caliber.

Even though there have been long-term criticisms of Western-based cross-cultural research by third World psychologists, little in the psychological world has changed (Naidoo, Olowu, Gilbert & Akotia, 1998).  Psychological theorizing and methodology still largely reflect socio-cultural models of Western cultures (Nsamenang, 1997).  Euro-American mainstream psychology still exists in many African Universities. Theories and methods in psychology are still derived from Western psychology.  Even when there are new developments in psychology and Westerners are questioning mainstream psychological paradigms, many African universities are still modeling mainstream paradigms, epistemologies and theories.  Furthermore, textbooks and curricula are also modeled after those in existence in Britain, Europe and America (Naidoo et al., 1998).  Many psychologists are also trained abroad and they maintain the North-South networks they might have developed while studying abroad.  Also, psychological studies and knowledge emerging from Africa and other developing countries have “second class” status (Naidoo, et al., 1998) as compared to those from Western countries.

African Viewpoints
Cecil Bodibe (1993) discusses the global scene in which African countries have been relegated to the “third world” and, by extension, Black people and Black culture to an inferior status.  Probing the underlying dynamics to African behavior, particularly within the South African context, Bodibe asserts that Africans have their own epistemologies from which the manifest behavior of Africans evolves.  He sees African behavior as wholistic, a product of the reciprocal interaction between the metaculture and the socio-political/economic milieu in which Africans find themselves.  Several studies conducted on African samples illustrate Bodibe’s contentions as the following examples indicate.

Akinsola Olowu’s (1997) studies of the Black self-concept among the Ashantis of Ghana and the self-concept of Nigerian adolescents reveal the centrality of the “self” as deriving from group “beingness.”  The individual self-identity is essentially an extended identity of the group. Olowu, citing other Nigerian researchers, reiterated that in traditional life the individual did not and could not exist alone.  The individual was simply an integral part of the collective unity.  This collectivist worldview is captured in the statement, “I am because we are, and because we are, therefore I am” (Olowu, 1997).  He warns that the erosion of the African view of self with Western contact could be problematic for us Africans.
In studying the meaning of intelligence for female/male, urban/rural Baganda (East Africa) and Yoruba (West Africa) people, Michael Durojaiye augments our understanding of the concept for these cultural groups.  He observed and seemed surprised at the similarity of views about intelligence across the two African peoples who are so geographically separated. Intelligence is conceptualized in terms of knowledge, thinking, inventiveness, practice and harmony.  The linkage of practice and harmony with intelligence defines unique meaning for these cultures.  “Harmony” according to him, is especially important in resolving local disputes.

Writing from Cameroon, Nsamenang advocates for innovation, readjustment of existing methods, flexibility, careful thought and systematic procedures in designing methodology and ensuring replicability in Africa (Nsamenang, 1995a).  Consequently, he finds the contextualist paradigm (1997) and the eco-cultural model (1995a) particularly insightful.  From a developmental point of view, using a contextual/eco-cultural framework, Nsamenang (1995a; 1993) makes very interesting observations about the place of the child in African society.  For example, the child is a source of prestige (as more children means more prestige); are the parents’ “walking stick” (parental social security system) and are agents of national development because African children are part of the economic life of their societies.

Clinical psychologist Alfred Awaritefe (1997) developed a technique called “meseron” for use in psychotherapy in Nigeria.  The technique is based on the observation that many ethnic groups in Nigeria believe in the power of the spoken word and how effectual it becomes, once spoken.  The “meseron” (an Urhobo expression) literally means “I refuse” but has deeper connotations.  In using the “meseron” the individual both detaches him/herself from negative aspects of life and actively associates with the positive.  Alternatively, the negative state may be attributed to an inanimate object. For example, a person may say: “I was very sick” followed by the “meseron”:  “my tree in the bush was sick.”  Rejecting illness and adopting a positive attitude towards life and living has obvious therapeutic value for the individual, argues Awaritefe.  Thus, the “meseron” concept has the potential of stimulating research into how our thoughts become impediments to our own advancement and progress.  Psychology, he argues, can help “the minds of Africans to be freed from their own chain.”

In a study among the Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa peoples of Nigeria, Egwu (1996) demonstrates the commonalities in cultural metaphors of work, time and money for Nigerians.  These shared metaphors for the Nigerian samples contrast sharply with Euro-American metaphors for similar concepts.  For example, Nigerians do not conceptualize work as an activity that takes place in “modern organizations” under managers, foremen and supervisors (in Egwu’s terms, a “machine” metaphor of work).  Rather, work is conceptualized in an environment of freedom, independence and maturity.  For them, work is directly related to time, money, life itself.  Egwu (1990; 1992; 1996) shows that Nigerian workers certainly do not enjoy positions of powerlessness, meaninglessness, isolation, alienation or estrangement in the workplace or society.  They want to be treated with respect, recognition and approval.  They want to be less supervised and less managed and would want to see their work through to the end.  In effect, the Nigerian workers do not enjoy the bureaucratic impersonal culture or climate of the Western imposed-culturally based organizational forms.  Egwu thus describes the Nigerian worker as disoriented in the modern organization.  Consequently, he calls for the integration of Nigerian cultural metaphors into modern organizations in his country. His research suggests that Nigerian cultural ontological metaphors of work, time and money may be of immense help to his people and aid them in the development of a viable, healthy, indigenous organization and associated behavior.

In a related study in Ghana, Puplampu (1997) examined the meaning of work for female and male, senior and junior staff in the service and manufacturing sectors of two organizations in the Accra-Tema metropolis.  He found significant statistical support for his proposition that Ghanaian workers understood the meaning of work in terms of a cosmic-religious conceptualization.  Two beliefs about the concept of work are crucial; “work is central to life; work derives from God” (p.8). Urban Ghanaian workers, despite the strong centrality of work and the religious frame of reference, exhibit poor work values, attitudes and behavior, writes Puplampu.  If these profound religious work values could be incorporated into their work ethic, motivation and work behavior may well improve.

Problems and Challenges
African psychologists, while advocating for an indigenous psychology, also accept the difficulties involved in developing theories and methodologies.  First, there is lack of cultural basis to accord the discipline an indigenous base (Awaritefe, 1997; Nsamenang, 1997).  For example, the fact that many African psychologists are still trained outside the continent may be problematic as they import epistemologies and models that are foreign to the African culture.  In addition, the multiplicity of ethnic groups and cultures in many African countries may pose a problem in the development of indigenous psychological tests.  Thus, the idea of eliminating cultural bias may create some difficulties that should be addressed.

African psychologists (Bodibe, 1993; Durojaiye, 1993; Nsamenang, 1995a) also caution that indigenous psychology could become narrow and ethnocentric, as they claim has occurred in mainstream psychology.  They generally agree that locally developed psychologies should be integrated into mainstream psychology to evolve a universal science of psychology.  According to Durojaiye (1993, p. 219), indigenous psychology accounts only for cultural patterning, in that “all human beings, by virtue of being homo sapiens will have similar psychological processes”.

The above examples of research in some parts of Africa offer unique insights into African views about their world, work, the self, intelligence, children and illness. Two assertions consistently emerge in the literature derived from African sources: (1) the need to resist over dependence on foreign psychological models of human behavior; and (2) the need for innovative methodologies to probe African spiritual beliefs, myths, rituals and worldviews.

It is only when we start developing our own theories and epistemologies that we can really understand Africans and what makes meaning to the African people.  We believe that when this is done, not only will indigenous psychology enhance the understanding of local phenomena but will also expand our vision of what forms psychological functioning may take in diverse cultures.


Awaritefe, A.  (1997).  The body-mind problem in an African context.  Ife Psychologia: An International Journal, 5(1), 140-149.

Durojaiye, M. O. A. (1993). Indigenous psychology in Africa: The search for meaning.  In  U. Kim & J. W. Berry (Eds.), Indigenous Psychologies: Research and Experience in Cultural Context, pp. 211 – 220.

Egwu, E.U. (1996).  Metaphors in aid of indigenous organizational theorizing and form in Nigeria.  Ife Psychologia: An International Journal, 42), 130 – 155.

Mundy-Castle, A. (1989). The history of Psychology in Africa: Implications for research, training and action. In F.M.
Okatcha, I.M. Omari, & P.W. Karinki (eds.). Teaching and Psychological Research. Eastern and Southern Africa. Nairobi, Kenya.

Naidoo, J.C.,  Olowu,  A., Gilbert  A., &  Akotia, C. (1998). Challenging EuroAmerican-Centered Psychology: The Voices of African Psychologists.  In W. J. Lonner , D. L Dinnel, D. K.  Forgays  & S. A. Hayes (eds.),  Merging Past, Present, And Future in Cross-Cultural Psychology.  Selected Papers from the 14th International Congress of the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology. Pp. 124 – 134.  Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger.

Nsamenang, A. B. (1993).  The ecology of child development: Research considerations. Special edition: Child development in Cameroon, Journal of Psychology in Africa, 1(5), 81 – 89.

Nsamenang, A. B. (1995a).  Factors influencing the development of psychology in Sub-Saharan Africa.  International Journal of Psychology, 30(6), 729 – 739.

Nsamenang,  A. B. (1997).  Towards an Afrocentric perspective in developmental psychology.  Ife Psychologia: An International Journal, 5(1), 127 – 139.

Olowu, A. (1997).  A statement of our exploration into the person at Ife Centre for Psychological Studies (ICPS). Personal communication, August 7 (Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria).

Puplampu, B. B. (1997).  Some preliminary findings on the meaning of work in Ghana: A research note.  Ife Psychologia: An international Journal, 5(2), 1 – 11.

Sinha, D. (1990).  Applied cross-cultural psychology and the developing world.  International Journal of Psychology, 25(3), 381 – 386.

The World of Learning (1998).  48th edition. London: Europa Publications Ltd.

Paper presented at the 32nd Convention of the Association of Black Psychologists.  August, 2000.  Parts of this paper have been presented at the 14th International Congress of International Association of Cross-Cross Cultural Psychology and published in The Conference proceedings. Thanks to our co-authors J.C. Naidoo, and A. Gilbert .for allowing us to reproduce parts of the paper.



Black Parents Battle Family Courts for Children
BY  Harry R. Davidson, Ph.D.
Co-Chair, ABPsi Legislative Monitoring Committee

An unpublished paper by Woody Henderson, Chair, National Action Network’s Committee on the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), “Are the Family Courts and ACS Destroying Our Communities Even More Than Police Brutality?” confirms my suspicion that America’s family courts are arbitrarily placing Black children at-risk under the guise of “protection.”  To quote Mr. Henderson, ACS’s philosophy is, “When in doubt, take them out.”  Calling it the most devastating and destabilizing force to be sent into our communities since slavery, he indicates that New York’s Administration For Children’s Services receives billions of dollars from the government to finance the unconstitutional removal of children from their families.  These children are subsequently placed into foster care agencies that subcontract out the children they remove, at a rate of $42,000 per child, per year, thereby removing the incentive to expeditiously reunify the child with its family.  In NYC, 97% of the children removed by ACS are African American or Latino.  Seventy-five percent of the children in foster care end up in penal institutions.  75% of the children who are being removed are low risk, cases where there is (and was) no immediate risk of harm.

On October 13, 1999, The U.S. Court of Appeals, of the Second Circuit ruled, “It is unconstitutional for the Administration for Children’s Services to remove children from their parent’s custody without a court order unless there is an imminent Risk of Harm.”  This language is being loosely applied to fit any given caseworker’s interpretation.  In Kansas City, Missouri, reacting out of her frustration, a Black mother told a White social worker she was going to straighten out her daughter’s behavior with a baseball bat.  The social worker shared with me his plans to hotline her despite my insistence that the mother meant the child no harm (there was no imminent risk) and she was merely expressing her frustration.  Workers are told they don’t need a court order before removing a child from their home if they believe there is an imminent risk.  This is endorsed by the Family Court’s willingness to issue court orders after the fact.  The assault is not just taking place in New York; it is blitzing the country.

I recently raised my objection to a White foster parent’s scheme to adopt a Black child, despite the fact that his mother had successfully complied with the court’s reunification stipulation that she complete counseling.  The court was determined to take the child, despite my certification of her completion.  What was their justification? The child said he wanted to live with the seductive White foster parents.  I told the hearing officer, “Sounds like another Elian Gonzales case to me.” As is the case in New York, the justification is made after the fact.  Once accusations are levied, delays and postponements in family court, hearsay evidence, worker biases and improper investigations prohibit any chance of a speedy resolution.  Parents are guilty until proven innocent and the more they voice their protest, the stiffer the reunification stipulations are made.  Ultimately, the process takes an average of one year to complete and the chance of a just ruling are less than 50%, with or without legal representation.  Needless-to-say, unscrupulous attorneys take advantage of the child’s desperate family; knowing that, once the wheels are set in motion, there is little that an attorney can do against the state.

In another case, the family court granted custody of a Black child to an elderly, single White foster parent, ruling against placing the child with his uncle and aunt.  The ruling was made despite the fact that they had already adopted the boy’s sister.  I was involved in a third case where a mother had been alleged to be unfit because she allowed her boyfriend to put his snake on the child.  A White female social worker determined that the snake the child talked about was the man’s penis.  When the courts discovered that the boyfriend actually had a pet snake, not to be outdone, the mother was charged with failure to protect the child from the snake.  A White psychologist’s evaluation of the mother was filled with unsubstantiated assumptions, speculations, and faulty interpretations.  He indicated that the mother was irresponsible and had a tendency to turn her problems over to God.  He further stated that she was denying her anxiety and stress and trying to appear composed and tranquil.  He accused her of pretending that she is a good person.  To quote Mr. White Psychologist, “She perceives that she tries to be understanding and tolerant, and she says she is ready to forget difficulties. He accused her of being paranoid, aloof, secretive, lacking confidence, and recoiling from life.” What he failed to recognize was how hard she was trying to control her resentment of him and his role in the abduction of her child.  This decision was despite the fact that the Black mother has worked as a supervisor for the last seven years, has been promoted on five different occasions and has maintained perfect attendance until two recent absences to appear in the family court to fight for her child. In the light of all of this, Mr. White Psychologist wrote that she was socially and occupationally impaired.

Woody Henderson and the National Action Network are calling for the support for corrective legislation to find more sensitive and effective solutions for monitoring and protecting children that are at-risk at home and in the custody of the family courts and foster care.  For more information call the National Action Network 1941 Madison Ave.  (212) 987-5030 or (212) 222-7490 e-mail WhoPro@aol.Com.
The author may be reached at



How Africa Developed the World


Halford H. Fairchild and Dipannita Basu
The Intercollegiate Department of Black Studies
The Claremont Colleges

“Today, we see America as a rich and powerful country.  Many Western European countries, too, including Australia and South Africa, are correctly viewed as controlling massive resources and a disproportionate share of the world’s wealth.  A proper understanding of this (mal)distribution of resources can only be had in the history of European expansionism and the stealing of land and people.  Along with the indigenous populations in America, the South Pacific, and Asia, Africans developed the world.”

 The idea of an undeveloped Africa dies hard.  Contemporary discourse includes phrases such as “undeveloped,” “under developed” or “developing” to characterize the “Third World,” particularly Africa.

 A Black Studies perspective, however, recognizes the strange perversion of The Truth when it comes to Africa.  Far from being underdeveloped or developing, it is more accurate to recognize that human development began in Africa and has continued there for a much longer period of time than anywhere else on the face of the earth.

European scholars have portrayed Africa as a continent of “stagnated development.”  Captain Richard Burton, the nineteenth century British explorer, suggested that Africans had failed to develop from the primitive to the civilized; that they had reached a point of “helplessness” that could not be improved (Davidson, 1969, p. 24).  Sir Samuel Baker, in 1866, suggested that the African “…mind is as stagnant as the morass which forms its puny world” (cited in Davidson, 1969).

The First People

 But Basil Davidson (1969) and other scholars in the African-centered tradition, such as Cheikh Anta Diop, Jacob Carruthers, John Henrik Clarke, and many others (see Karenga, 1993) have thoroughly debunked the idea of “stagnated development” in Africa.  Indeed, the fact of monumental human development in Africa comes from (White) archeology in the highly regarded research of Louis and Mary Leakey and their colleagues.  This research established, without equivocation, the origin of the human species on the continent of Africa.  The forerunners of homo sapiens sapiens (the thinking being) were in Africa as were our nearest phylogenetic antecedents.  Today, there is no debate that all human beings have African ancestry.  (This fact may lead to a collective identity that may eventually defeat racism and nationalism.)

 For many thousands of years, the human race progressed in Africa.  The challenges confronting early humans were daunting:  a fierce environment with extreme climates, a huge land mass, and myriad predators that posed life-and-death dangers (see Davidson, 1969).  African people, undoubtedly dark skinned and superficially similar to Africans today, not only survived these rigors of existence, but they thrived.  Their population mushroomed from a mere handful to many millions.  They invented language, the use of tools, fire, agriculture, and community organization.  These great leaps forward in human achievement laid the basis for the development of human culture:  the arts, literature, religion and science.

 Many seek to credit the ancient Greeks with establishing civilization out of thin air, but the historical record clearly situates these achievements in Africa, many thousands of years before the first Greek learned the alphabet.  Ancient Africans provided the foundations on which all other human cultures are based (cf. Davidson, 1969).  Africa developed the world.

The Ancients

 From this head start, ancient Nubian and Ethiopian cultures flourished in the Nile River Valley.  Following the northerly flow of the 3000-mile-long Nile River (the Great African Highway), African civilization reached its apex in Egypt (Karenga, 1993).  This south-to-north movement was enhanced through reciprocal influences in West Africa, Europe, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere.  Evidence of the African influence on world cultures may be seen in creation myths, linguistics, music and the arts (see Davidson, 1969).  The oldest scripts are of African origin, as are the oldest books (Karenga, 1993).

 The Greeks had a head start from the development that took place in Africa for tens of thousands of years before they crawled from their frigid caves in Central and Southern Europe.  That they would rob Africa of its storehouse of knowledge, and claim it as their own, is a story that is yet to be fully appreciated (see George G.M. James’ Stolen Legacy, and Martin Bernal’s Black Athena).

 Africans explored and settled the world, as all the world’s people are of African descent.  Can you imagine the surprise on the deified European explorers’ faces when they found dark skinned peoples in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and damn near everywhere?  As Peter Fryer (1984) noted, Africans were in Britain before the English.

The African Maafa

 The Maafa is a term, recently advanced by Marimba Ani, Wade Nobles and others, that refers to the 400-year period of African enslavement, degradation and dehumanization.  It is an experience that is unprecedented in human history.

 But, even during their centuries of enslavement, Africans continued to develop the world.  It was the rapacious appetite of the Europeans who raped and pillaged people and places, and whose greed demanded free (or near free) labor to maximize their accumulation of capital.  When they encountered indigenous people in the Caribbean and the Americas, they killed the men, raped the women, stole the land, and destroyed their culture (Shepherd, 1999).  The resistance of Caribbean women was so great that they sacrificed their children—through infanticide—so that they would not have to suffer the dehumanizing treatment of the colonizers (Shepherd, 1999).  Who, here, are the true barbarians?

 Plantation economies in the Americas demanded a ready supply of land and labor.  As Eric Williams noted, “Negroes…were stolen from Africa to work the lands stolen from the Indians in America” (Williams, 1994, p. 9).  It was a strange case of “survival of the fittest”:  African laborers were superior to native American or White laborers, and therefore contributed to the strengthening of the ‘peculiar institution’ of slavery throughout the Americas (Williams, 1994).  The White captors acted as parasites on the Black masses and depended on them for their own survival.

 For another three hundred years (including the present), Africans developed the world through their stolen land and their stolen bodies.  Africa (both material and human) fed the coffers of the European capitalists.  Their labor, forced through captivity, created enormous wealth for those who maintained human bondage and chattel slavery.  It was this great accumulation of capital that gave impetus to the Industrial Revolution and other hallmarks of Western “achievement.”

 Today, we see America as a rich and powerful country.  Many Western European countries, too, including Australia and South Africa, are correctly viewed as controlling massive resources and a disproportionate share of the world’s wealth.  A proper understanding of this (mal)distribution of resources can only be had in the history of European expansionism and the stealing of land and people.

Along with the indigenous populations in America, the South Pacific, and Asia, Africans developed the world.


Davidson, Basil.  (1969).  The African Genius:  An introduction to African social and cultural history (Part 1, Pp. 23-41).  Boston:  Little, Brown & Company.

Karenga, Maulana (1993).  Black History (chapter 2.1 – 2.3). Pp., 69-108 in Introduction to Black Studies.  Los Angeles, CA:  University of Sankore Press.

Fryer, Peter.  (1984).  'Those kinde of people.'  Chapter 1 (pp. 1-13) in Staying power:  The history of Black people in Britain.  London:  Pluto Press.

Shepherd, Verene, A.  (1999).  Indigenous Caribbean women.  Chapter 1 (pp. 1-19) in Women in Caribbean women history.  Oxford: James Curry.

Williams, Eric.  (1994).  The origin of Negro slavery.  Chapter 1 of Capitalism and Slavery.  Chapel Hill:  University of North Carolina Press.

Correspondence should be addressed to Halford H. Fairchild, The Intercollegiate Department of Black Studies, The Claremont Colleges, Claremont, CA  91711 or


An African American Psychologist’s Response to “The SPSSI Bridge”
Kelly S. Ervin
Washington State University

“I will not be able to secure social psychologists to review my work if it is too ethnic studies oriented and I will not be able to secure ethnic studies scholars to review my work if it is too data-driven and social psychological in nature. Alas, I am in pre-tenure purgatory."

Those of us who are social psychologists are quite familiar with the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), and many of us are members.  In a recent issue of the organization’s newsletter (April 2000, No. 211) SPSSI’s president, John F. Dovidio, wrote an interesting editorial entitled, “The SPSSI Bridge.”  In this article, he focused on the need for a better working relationship among the discipline of psychology and other fields of inquiry.

Although it is true that many areas of psychological research have show growing interest in the study of African Americans, this is probably most true in the areas of social, educational, health and counseling psychology. As more African American psychologists enter the field, their interests in essential areas will naturally intertwine psychology with other fields of study. One cannot intellectually discuss the psychology of African Americans without considering research found in other disciplines such as African American Studies, African American Women’s Studies and African Psychology, to name a few.

It is not uncommon for many of us, who choose to incorporate a variety of disciplines in our work, to reside in two academic homes.  Joint appointments are not rare and many African American psychologists find themselves equally committed to both departments.  On the other hand, some of us locate ourselves in “area” studies departments such as African American Studies.  The attempt to engage in interdisciplinary scholarship and find equal respect among disciplines can be difficult and problematic.

Dovidio’s commentary inspired me to share my particular situation with him.  As a member of ABPsi, I felt that many of us probably share similar experiences.  Therefore, I wanted to share my personal response to Dovidio with you, my fellow ABPsi members.

“Dear Dr. Dovidio,

I read your insightful commentary about the need for a “SPSSI bridge” in the April 2000 SPSSI newsletter with great interest.  Your thoughtful comments struck an intellectual chord within me.  As such, I would like to offer myself as a living, breathing and struggling example of your argument that an interdisciplinary bridge needs to be constructed between the fields of psychology and other areas of intellectual inquiry.

I am a quantitative social psychologist who is currently an assistant professor in an Ethnic Studies department.  My research, the methods I use to implement my research and the perspective from which I teach my classes are all grounded in social psychology.  Specifically, my interests revolve around the social psychology of African Americans.  My work concentrates on social identity, racial self-esteem, stigma, racial attitudes, and intra-/inter-group relations.  I am very much a social psychologist.  However, at the same time, it has always been my goal to situate myself in an academic environment in which I could combine my training as a social psychologist and apply it to the study of African Americans, which is more commonly referred to as “Black or African American Studies”.

Based on your argument presented in the “The SPSSI Bridge” article, if you were to assess the location of my academic employment (i.e., in an Ethnic Studies department) you would conclude that it makes intuitive and practical sense.  As social psychologists, we know all too well that all things are relative, especially human behavior and thought.  We also know that we cannot realistically understand the ABCs of social issues, that is, affect, behavior, and cognition without understanding the cultural, political and economic frameworks in which these processes take place.  We also know that if we do not incorporate identity politics, racism, classism, and sexism in the discourse on social issues we run the risk of presenting incomplete and possibly skewed analyses.  The need for research psychologists, especially social psychologists, to partake in an intellectual partnership with other disciplines is critical if we are to continue to contribute useful and practical knowledge.  This knowledge is not always apparent from the impressive and sophisticated statistical results of our multi-level factorial designs.  The findings from these types of inquiry must have practical implications to be useful to an American society that needs our help and expertise.  I argue that the SPSSI Bridge, an inter-connection with other pursuits of knowledge, already exists.  However, what we need is to get scholars to not only use the bridge but to also have respect and value for it. The problem is, those of us who attempt to traverse this bridge are sometimes discouraged and often penalized from doing so.  Allow me to illustrate my case in point.

Among many Ethnic Studies scholars, there is a lack of value and understanding for the scientific method and an inability to evaluate statistical segments of a body of work.  This is especially so for those scholars who have been trained in disciplines such as English, Art, History and Anthropology.  It is sometimes helpful if there are other senior faculty members who are psychologists, sociologists, and/or political Scientists in an Ethnic Studies department. There is also a lack of appreciation for the length of time involved in the review process and editorial decisions of psychology journals and in general, there is difficulty in being able to form mentoring relationships with senior faculty who understand and appreciate one’s work.

Because of this lack of value for the scientific method and data driven work, I am being asked to make a choice between social psychology and ethnic studies.  If I want to possibly get tenure in my current department I have been told that I must focus less on data driven, social psychological work and more on qualitative ethnic studies work.  Herein lies my personal dilemma.  If I continue to use the scientific method to pursue my research interests and if I continue to follow the guidelines of my discipline the intellectual bridge in which I am attempting to traverse back and forth from social psychology to Black/African American Studies will crumble and I will end up in the waters of the non-tenured and out of a job.

Similarly, among social psychologists and in most psychology departments there is a general lack of value for non data-driven work (e.g., ethnographies, interviews, participant observations, and other qualitative methods).  However, these methods of inquiry are quite common in the Black/African American Studies literature.  Therefore, if I pursue my work using these types of research methods my work will no longer be published by psychology journals. The pressure on me to make a choice between disciplines is unbearably strong. However, it is my hope that somehow I will be able to carve out a career that produces both data driven and non-data driven works.

This all amounts to a situation in which I fear that I am guaranteed to fail. If I stay immersed in social psychology and continue to publish in psychology journals, I will not get tenure because my work will be too data driven.  If I concentrate solely on Black/African American studies, I will not be able to publish my work in most psychology journals and I will not be working within the ‘standards’ of my discipline.  Therefore, in 2½ years, when I come up for tenure review, I believe that I will have a most difficult time in securing external reviewers of my work.  I will not be able to secure social psychologists to review my work if it is too ethnic studies oriented and I will not be able to secure ethnic studies scholars to review my work if it is too data-driven and social psychological in nature. Alas, I am in pre-tenure purgatory.

I am on that SPSSI Bridge, Dr. Dovidio, but the intellectual factions on opposite ends of the bridge have me placed in the middle and have pressured me to “choose sides.”  Ideally, I would like to be able to traverse this bridge while contributing to the knowledge of the social psychology of African Americans.  Ideally, I would like to earn tenure.  Unfortunately, I feel that these ideals are incompatible.

If scholars of social psychology learn to respect and value the issues and methods of ethnic studies and if ethnic studies scholars learn to respect and value the issues and methods of social psychology, I believe that the intellectual pursuit of the psychological study of social issues will become a bigger package with a brighter bow.  I would like to begin a dialogue with other SPSSI members on this issue.

I thank you for your attention.  I am Kelly S. Ervin.”

ABPsi members, if any of you are in similar situations I would love to hear from you.  I would like to hear your stories.

Note: Dovidio’s response to me was open and welcoming.  We met during the SPSSI conference in Minneapolis in June 2000 and we discussed the possibility of an APA convention program that would focus on and address these issues.

Kelly S. Ervin can be reached at



Call for Editor
The Journal of Black Psychology

Applications for the position of Editor of The Journal of Black Psychology are now being accepted.  Individuals with a strong publication record, superior organizational and management skills, and a history of participation in the activities of the Association of Black Psychologists are urged to apply.  The Journal publishes original research and review articles devoted to a range of topics related to the behavior of people of African descent.  It is a bi-monthly publication that handles a large number of manuscripts each year.  Interested parties should submit a full curriculum vita to: Jules P. Harrell, Department of Psychology, Co-Chairperson of the Publications Committee, Howard University, Washington, DC  20059 or  All materials must be received by close of business October 31, 2000.

Student Circle Contact Information
The current members of the Central Committee of the Student Circle are as follows:

Chairperson:  Deirdre Sermons, M.A. (
Immediate-past Chairperson:  George Leary, M.A. (
Mid-West Regional Representative:  Athena Porter, Ph.D. (
Southern Regional Representative:  Kevin Prince, M.A. (
Undergraduate Representative:  Sandra Wilson (

Travel Awards
Students in Social Psychology

Travel Awards to Attend SPSP Conference.  The Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) has established a fund devoted to increasing the degree of diversity within personality and social psychology.  As part of this initiative, eligible graduate students are invited to apply for travel awards to attend the SPSP conference in San Antonio, Texas, on February 1-3, 2001. To qualify for funding, applicants must be enrolled in a psychology graduate program and must be a member of an ethnic or racial minority group, a first generation college student, or an individual with a disability.  Travel awards will cover all conference-related expenses up to a maximum of $1,000, including transportation, lodging, food, and conference registration.  SPSP will also host a welcome reception for award recipients prior to the opening session of the conference.  For the 2001 conference, SPSP anticipates making approximately 12 travel awards.  To apply, please submit the following materials in triplicate by November 15, 2000: (1) A completed application form (printable from; (2) An academic vita or résumé; (3) A one-page statement describing your research interests, career goals, and rationale for applying (e.g., how you would benefit from the award).  In addition, applicants should include one letter of support from a faculty member (in a sealed envelope with the faculty member's signature across the envelope flap).  Please send all application materials to:  SPSP Diversity Fund, c/o Professor Scott Plous, Department of Psychology, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT 06459.  Award recipients will be chosen on the basis of academic merit. SPSP will notify all applicants of the award decisions by December 15, 2000. For further details, please see the SPSP web site at

Members in the News

Researchers Find That Parent’s Marital Status can Influence the Self-Esteem of African-American Adolescent Boys.  In a study examining how family characteristics affect African American youth, researchers found that African American adolescent boys with nonmarried parents are more at risk for developing low self-esteem compared with other African American adolescents.  The study, published in the September issue of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Journal of Family Psychology, illustrates the apparently valuable role of the African American father in raising his children, particularly his boys. Psychologists Jelani Mandara, Ph.D., and Carolyn B. Murray, Ph.D., of the University of California, Riverside, studied perceptions of self-esteem and family functioning from a sample of 116 15-year-old African American girls and boys and their parents from various high schools in Southern California. Fifty percent of the parents were married, 38 percent were divorced and 13 percent were never-married single mothers.

Results show that boys with married parents had higher overall self-esteem compared with boys with nonmarried parents, even when family income and family functioning were taken into consideration.  Parental marital status had no affect on girls' self-esteem.

The researchers say the gender differences in their findings may be explained by mothers' and fathers' different socializing patterns.  "In a two-parent home, the balance between the mother's and father's different socializing patterns may be what keeps the self-esteem of both sexes relatively equal," explained the authors.  "Apparently, the absent father upsets this balance, which leaves the African American male adolescent in a family environment in which less is expected from him, and, consequently, he may not develop the positive feelings of self-esteem."

 The authors say they are not suggesting that all male children living in single-parent homes are suffering from low self-esteem, just as not all children living with married parents are doing well.  However, they say the study shows that the role fathers play in socializing their children is very important and that public policy should be more focused on reversing the current trends of low marriage rates and high divorce rates.  Free or subsidized family counseling before and during marriage and expanding visitation rights for noncustodial parents are among the public policy changes the authors suggest.

 Besides parental marital status, the researchers also studied the effects family income and family functioning might have on self-esteem of African American adolescents.  Results indicated that adolescents from families with higher incomes perceived themselves as more likable and lovable and as having higher self-control.  Also, results suggest that the better the family functions, the higher the self-esteem of the adolescent.

 There were also differences in how the male and female adolescents responded to their family environments.  Income was related to perceptions of the quality of family functioning for boys, but not girls, which the authors say may again speak to the effects of different gender socialization. "Fifteen-year-old boys, in both types of homes, may feel that providing needed income to the family is partly their responsibility," said the authors.  "Therefore, when the family income is not adequate, African American boys at this age may be hypersensitive to it and perceive more problems associated with income than girls do."

 With respect to family functioning, the researchers found that girls' self-esteem was similar to boys when family functioning was low, but their self-esteem was higher when family functioning was high.  "Just as boys may be more sensitive to family income, girls may feel more responsible for relationships between family members," they said.
The researchers say focusing directly on adolescent's self-esteem with productive extracurricular activities and increasing the quality of family functioning may buffer the effects of having single parents.  They also say parents need to become more aware of the family factors that affect male and female children differently.

  Article: "Effects of Parental Marital Status, Income, and Family Functioning on African American Adolescent Self-Esteem," Jelani Mandara and Carolyn B. Murray, University of California, Riverside; Journal of Family Psychology, Vol. 14, No. 3.  Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office or at

 Jelani Mandara can be reached by e-mail at:; Carolyn B. Murray can be reached by e-mail at

Call for Papers
Call for Papers:  Seeking empirical, theoretical, or applied papers that contribute to the understanding of therapeutic issues for biracial women to be included in a special issue of the journal, Women and Therapy.  Please submit an Outline/Proposal in duplicate by December 15, 2000.  Final deadline for completed papers is May 15, 2001.  Manuscripts should be submitted in duplicate 10-20 pages in length in APA format accompanied by a letter indicating that the paper has not been published elsewhere and is not under review at another publication. A broad range of topics is acceptable so long as implications for psychotherapy with biracial women are addressed.  Interested potential authors are encouraged to contact us prior to December 15, 2000 with an idea for a manuscript.  Contact:  Angela R. Gillem, Ph.D., Beaver College, 450 Easton Rd., Glenside, PA 19038, (215) 572-2184,

Grant Writers Wanted!
GRANT WRITERS!  THE ASSOCIATION OF BLACK PSYCHOLOGISTS is in need of Grant writers to write grants for the Association.  We invite you to commit to assist our Association in remaining fiscally stable.  You would work closely with the Grants Committee of the National Board of Directors.  Grants are available to organizations such as ours but we often receive notices with turn around times of only two months.  Grant money is available but must be applied for promptly.  ABPsi could benefit if we had a core of grant writers in place.  The Black community needs the research and services of Black psychologists.  We encourage you to help us move to our rightful place as leaders!  If you are interested in becoming more involved with the heart and soul of ABPsi, please let us know.  Please send letters of intent with a copy of your resume to: Ms. Judy Ross, Treasurer and Chair of Grants Committee, National Office, The ABPsi, P.O. Box 55999, Washington, D.C., 20040-5999.

Please Notify the National Office of Address Changes!

The Ford Foundation has postdoctoral, predoctoral, and dissertation fellowships for "minorities."  For more information, contact:  Fellowship Office, National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Avenue, Washington, DC  20418.  Phone:  (202) 334-2872; Fax: (202) 334-3419; E-mail:; Website:  Applications may be downloaded from our Website or filled out on-line.

Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies.  Residential Research Fellowships.  Grant Date: 2000-12-01.  The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia invites scholars whose work focuses on Race, Ethnicity, and Society in Africa and the Atlantic World (broadly defined as the African Diaspora) to apply for Woodson predoctoral and postdoctoral residential research fellowships with terms beginning August 1, 2001. Postdoctoral fellowships (one year) carry a stipend of $25,000. Predoctoral fellowships (two years) carry an annual stipend of $15,000.  Individuals may not apply for both fellowships in the same year. The competition is open to qualified candidates without restriction as to citizenship or current residence except for current University employees, who may not apply. Applications must be postmarked no later than December 1, 2000. For complete guidelines and application forms, visit the Fellowships page of the Woodson website, listed below.  Contact information:; Selection Committee; Residential Research Fellowships; The Carter G. Woodson Institute; University of Virginia; P.O. Box 400162; Charlottesville, VA 22904-4162; Phone: 804-924-3109; Fax: 804-924-8820; Email:  Grant website:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3:  “411” ON CAREERS IN PSYCHOLOGY.  Hostos Commnity College, Repertory Theatre, 149th and Grand Course, New York.  9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  For more information:  Lisa Whitten at (516) 876-3124 or WHITTENL@OLDWESTBURY.EDU.

ASCAC's Midwest Region is proud to announce it's 16th. annual working conference and African World History Project Symposium Friday November 3, 2000 to Sunday, November 5, 2000.  This year’s conference, hosted by Chicago's Kemetic Institute, (700 E. Oakwood, Chicago, Il) promises to continue the legacy of hard work organizing and cultural centering that has come identify our conferences, Regional and National.  This years theme "Pan Africanism and Historiography: Establishing Paths to Self-Determination" is intended to focus on the ideas that will move us closer to developing the African World View so necessary for a totally liberated people. A keynote presentation will be given by Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III. Workshop abstracts are being accepted by fax at 773-548-0920. Please call 773-548-0920 for further information.

THE ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON COMMUNITY HEALTH LEADERSHIP PROGRAM (CHLP) honors ten outstanding individuals each year for their work in creating or enhancing healthcare programs serving communities whose needs have been ignored and unmet.  Each leader receives $100,000 which includes a $5,000 personal stipend and $95,000 for program enhancement over a three-year period.  CHLP seeks out individuals who have the leadership skills to overcome complex obstacles and find creative ways to bring healthcare services to their communities.  All are largely unrecognized and in "mid-career," most often with no less than five and no more than fifteen years of community health work experience.  The nomination process is open and nominations can be made by consumers, community health leaders, health professionals and government officials who have been personally inspired by the nominees.  Interested nominators can write CHLP anytime for a brochure and a Letter of Intent form (LOI), due to the Program Office no later than Sept. 16th.  You can view our brochure on line at:  Early submissions are guaranteed a prompt response.  Contact:  CHLP, 30 Winter Street, Suite 920, Boston, MA  02108.  Phone:  617-426-9772.

The Association for Women in Psychology Announces the Eleventh Annual Women of Color Psychologies Award.  Submissions:  Empirical, theoretical, and applied papers and books that contribute significantly to the understanding of the psychology of women of color will be considered.  Eligibility:  Manuscripts must be by and about women of color.  Jointly authored manuscripts will be considered if the first author is a woman of color.  Papers should be approximately journal length, written in APA manuscript style, and publication-ready (i.e., no drafts of papers).  Papers that have been submitted for publication or presented at a professional meeting, and papers and books that have been previously published or accepted for publication are eligible.  Submission Procedures:  The following material must accompany submissions:  four copies of the manuscript, two self-addressed stamped legal-sized envelopes, and a cover sheet with your name, address, phone number, and the title of the paper.  The author’s name should not appear anywhere on the paper itself.  Please send the above materials to:  Dr. Jeanette Hsu, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, 3801 Miranda Avenue (116B), Palo Alto, CA  94304, (650) 493-5000, ext. 67915, Fax:  (650) 852-3445, Email:  Deadline for Submissions:  April 1, 2001.  Review:  A diverse panel of AWP members will conduct a blind review (except when reviewing published books).  Submissions will be evaluated on the basis of creativity, sound methodology, clarity of presentation, contribution of new knowledge, and importance to the advancement of the psychology of women of color.  Awards:  The recipient of the award will be announced at the American Psychological Association convention in August 2001.  The recipient will be invited to present at the 2002 AWP Conference and will receive up to $250 in travel expenses.

Attention Women!
Attention Women:  Your participation is invited:  The Association for Women in Psychology (AWP) Women of Color Psychologies Award Committee would like additional AWP members for the committee who are familiar (or would like to become more familiar) with the literature by and about women of color.  We appreciate members from all backgrounds to ensure a diverse panel of reviewers.  Your responsibilities will include the recommendation of manuscripts for the committee to review and participation in the review process itself.  Even if you do not wish to serve as a reviewer, please feel free to make suggestions of articles and books for the committee to review.  We wish to consider as many articles and books as possible for the award.  The deadline for submissions is April 1st.  We will begin reviewing the submissions soon after that, with a deadline for completion of reviews of July 15th.  Members of the committee attending the annual APA convention will meet during APA and confirm the year’s awardee. For additional information about the committee and/or the recommendation process, please contact the committee chair:  Dr. Jeanette Hsu, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, 3801 Miranda Avenue (116B), Palo Alto, CA  94304, (650) 493-5000, ext. 67915, Fax:  (650) 852-3445, Email:


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Send manuscripts, hard copy and diskette (specify diskette format), to:  Halford Fairchild, Editor, Psych Discourse, The ABPsi, P.O. Box 55999, Washington, D.C.  20040-5999.  Editor's FAX:  (323) 734-0076.  Or e-mail the submission to  IBM-formatted files are strongly preferred.  Macintosh users should convert to Word for Windows prior to submitting.  Phone Inquiries should be made directly to the editor:  (323) 734-0809.

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Clinical Child Psychologist.  The Children's Hospital of Alabama has been serving Alabama’s children since 1911 and is currently recruiting for a full-time Clinical Child Psychologist to perform evaluations and provide psychotherapy to patients.  Minimum requirements for employment include Ph D., completed internship from APA accredited programs, current license or be license eligible to practice as a clinical psychologist in Alabama, and prior experience providing psychological services to children and adolescents.  Prefer formal postdoctoral training in pediatric/child psychology or 5 years postdoctoral experience providing psychological services to children and adolescents.  Salary and benefits are competitive and will be commensurate with experience and qualifications. Our professional group includes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and case managers.  We are hospital based and health system integrated service with three outpatient locations, and three inpatient psychiatric units.  We provided services to Children's Hospital, pediatric primary care and specialty clinics within the Children’s Health System, and local mental health agencies and clinics.  Screening of applications will continue until position is filled.  The Children's Hospital of Alabama is an equal employment opportunity employer and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.  Please send letter of interest, vita, selected work samples, and three letters of reference to:  Medical Director, Children's Behavioral Health Suite 500, 1600 7th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233. You may visit our website at:  [AL1]


PSYCHOLOGY/BLACK STUDIES: Pomona College invites applications for a tenure-track joint appointment in Psychology and Black Studies beginning Fall 2001.  Preferred areas of specialization are Clinical, Community, or Counseling psychology or a specialty that integrates one of these areas with another subfield of psychology that is relevant to mental health.  Research program pertinent to the psychology of persons of African descent is required.  Teaching includes introductory psychology, two courses in African American psychology, a course in area of specialization, and senior thesis.  Evidence of teaching excellence and ability to involve students in a program of research is expected.  Pomona College is a highly selective liberal arts college located 35 miles east of Los Angeles, attracting a diverse national student body.  We have a strong commitment to faculty teaching and research, and believe that these activities are mutually enhancing in our setting.  Review of applications will begin December 1, 2000 and continue until the position is filled.  Pomona College is an equal opportunity employer.  Women and members of underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.  Applications should include vitae, reprints, teaching evaluations, if available, and three letters of recommendation.  Send to: Suzanne Thompson, Chair, Department of Psychology, Pomona College, Claremont, CA  91711.  [CA1]

TWO POSITIONS: ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR AND DEVELOPMENTAL – CLAREMONT GRADUATE UNIVERSITY:  Claremont Graduate University announces a search for faculty (rank open) in (1) Organizational Behavior and (2) Developmental Psychology to teach and supervise research in the Ph.D. program in their area of specialization and to contribute to other academic programs, especially program evaluation; interdisciplinary collaboration is encouraged.  Further information on these positions and other open faculty positions at CGU can be found under Employment Opportunities at  [CA2]


UNIVERSITY OF DENVER-DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY:  Anticipates a tenure-track, Assistant Professor position in Child Clinical Psychology to begin Fall 2001.  The primary requirement for this position is excellence in research and teaching.  We particularly encourage applications from individuals with interests in development psychopathology, multicultural research, or pediatric psychology, but will seriously consider individuals with other interests relevant to Child Clinical Psychology.  Send a letter of interest, vita, at least three letters of recommendation, and reprints/preprints to Child Clinical Search Committee, Department of Psychology, University of Denver, Denver CO  80208.  We will give priority to applications received by December 1, 2000 but will consider applications until the position is filled.  The University of Denver is committed to enhancing the diversity of its faculty and staff and encourages applications particularly from women, minorities, veterans, and people with disabilities.  [CO1]


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NIMH POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPS – YALE UNIVERSITY SCHOOLS OF MEDICINE – The Yale Child Study Center invites applications for three positions in the NIMH sponsored, multidisciplinary postdoctoral research training program in Childhood Neurobiological Disorders.  Candidates must have a M.D., and completed their psychiatric and/or pediatric training or have a Ph.D. in psychology epidemiology, human genetics, molecular biology, pharmacology or neurochemistry.  Positions are available for 24 months, beginning July 2001.  Applications should be submitted by November 20, 2001.  Send curriculum vitae, any published research papers, three letters of reference and a brief statement of research goals to:  James F. Leckman, M.D., Director of Research, Yale University Child Study Center, 230 So. Frontage Road, SHM, 1-267, P.O. Box 207900, New Haven, CT  06520-7900. [CT2]


THE DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY, at the UNIVERSTIY OF GEORGIA invites applications for three tenure-track positions at the rank of Assistant Professor effective August 2001.  Cognitive/Experimental:  Two positions are in areas of cognitive/experimental psychology that focus on higher order cognitive processes broadly defined.  Cognitive Neuroscience:  This is a joint position in the Cognitive/Experimental and Biopsychology programs.  Applications are encouraged within all branches of cognitive neuroscience.  (Resources available include equipment for recording event-related cortical potentials and access to FMRI facilities.)  Candidates for any of these positions should have a commitment to teaching undergraduate and graduate students, and to developing a strong research program with the potential to attract extramural funding.  The ability to teach graduate statistics is desirable.  Send statement of interest (indicating the position being applied for), at least four reference letters, and representative reprints to:  Dr. Garnett Stokes, Head, Department of Psychology, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-3013.  All materials must be received by December 15, 2000.  The University of Georgia is an AA/EEO institution.  We encourage applications from minorities and women. [GA1]

PREDOCTORAL INTERNSHIP:  THE EMORY UNIVERSITY COUNSELING CENTER is accepting applications for its predoctoral internship training program in Professional Psychology.  The internship is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).  Three full-time intern positions will be available for the 2001-02 internship year, which begins on August 1st.  Supervised training experiences include individual, couples and group therapy with adults and adolescents.  Rotations available in family therapy and systems-oriented consultation.  Stipend:  $18,000 plus health insurance and fringe benefits.  Application deadline is November 15, 2000.  Members of under-represented groups are encouraged to apply.  For application materials contact:  Pamela J. Epps, Ph.D., Training Director, Emory University Counseling Center, Cox Hall, Suite 217, Atlanta, GA  30322, (404 727-1920)  [GA2]


THE DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, invites applications for an anticipated faculty position in Social Psychology, to begin as early as September 2001.  The search is approved for a tenure-track assistant professor, but a higher-level appointment may be made pending administrative approval.  Qualifications include outstanding research and teaching ability; senior candidates should demonstrate administrative experience.  Please send a statement of research interests, curriculum vitae, copies of recent publications, and at least three letters of recommendation to the Social Psychology Search Committee, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208-2710, USA.  Applications received before November 15, 2000 will receive higher priority.  AA/EOE.  The Department particularly welcomes applications from women and members of minority groups. [IL1a]

DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, invites applications for an anticipated faculty position in Human Cognitive Neuroscience, to begin as early as September 2001.  The search is approved for a tenure-track assistant professor, but a higher-level appointment may be made pending administrative approval.  Qualifications include outstanding research and teaching ability; senior candidates should demonstrate administrative experience.  Research supporting current departmental expertise using FMRI and ERP methods is particularly encouraged.  Please send a statement of research interests, curriculum vitae, copies of recent publications, and at least three letters of recommendation to the Cognitive Neuroscience Search Committee, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL  60208-2710, USA.  Applications received before November 15, 2000 will receive higher priority.  AA/EOE.  The Department particularly welcomes applications from women and members of minority groups.  [IL1b]

THE DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLGY, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, invites applications for an anticipated faculty position in Clinical Psychology, to begin as early as September 2001.  We are searching for a tenure-track assistant professor, but higher level appointment may be made pending administrative approval.  Qualifications include outstanding research and teaching ability and being licensed or license-eligible.  Senior candidates should demonstrate administrative experience.  Although we are interested in outstanding applicants from all area of clinical psychology, we especially encourage applications from those in the following areas of psychopathology research addictive disorders, child psychopathology, depression, personality disorders, or schizophrenia.  Please send a statement of research interests, curriculum vitae, copies of recent publications, and at least three letters of recommendation to the Clinical Psychology Search Committee, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208-2710.  USA.  Applications received before November 15, 2000 will receive higher priority.  AA/EOE.  The Department particularly welcomes applications from women and members of minority groups.  [IL1c]

DEPARTMENT HEAD-DEPARTMENT OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES-UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO-The Department of African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago invites applications for the position of Head.  Located in the heart of Chicago, UIC is as Research I University with over 16,000 undergraduates and 8,200 graduate and professional students.  The Department is a multi-disciplinary unit within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  It has 13 faculty, all jointly appointed with the cooperating disciplines of English, History, Political Science, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology, and an additional 17 faculty affiliates from a variety of other disciplines and colleges.  The Department offers a challenging and exciting undergraduate major and an M.A. is under consideration.  The Department emphasizes the development of interdisciplinary skills in the study of the African-American experience and the African Diaspora from the disciplines of the humanities and social sciences.  For more information, please visit

Students will pay $3 more per credit for the 2018-19 school year. Photo by: Arianna Parks

By: Brett Friedensohn

Students at County College of Morris will pay three more dollars per credit starting with the summer semester thanks to a hike approved by the Board of Trustees at its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Starting in summer, tuition for Morris County residents will rise from $125 to $128 per credit, but the college fee will stay at $29, making the total cost per credit $157.

Students who live outside the county pay a differential fee of 100 percent of the in-county tuition; therefore, they will pay $285 per credit. Out-of-state students’ differential fee will be $238, making their total cost per credit $395.

Tuition hikes have been recently common at CCM because of flat funding from Morris County and the state of New Jersey, according to Vice President of Business and Finance Karen VanDerhoof, who said that the approximate $7 million granted by the state and $11 million granted by the county for the 2017-18 school year has covered around one third of the college’s costs, leaving the other two thirds to be paid by the students. For comparison, CCM received $13 million from the county and $9 million from the state for the 2007-08 school year.

In Jan. 2017, the board approved a total tuition hike of $4 per credit for in-state students and $6 for out-of-county students. In Jan. 2016, the board approved a $2 per credit tuition hike.

Budget and Compliance Director John Young recommended the price hike to the Board of Trustees who voted unanimously in favor of his proposal.

Young said during the meeting that most of the college’s costs are used for salary and benefits of personnel.

“The increase will allow the college to maintain and enhance the quality of education and breadth of programs currently offered to students,” Vanderhoof said over email. “The administration recommends the budget parameters to the Finance and Budget Committee of the Board of Trustees.  The committee can request revisions be made to the parameters and then gives the administration authorization to develop the budget. Each division receives an allocation and determines how to distribute the funds to their departments. Each department builds their budget based on their needs and priorities.  They must also indicate how they are supporting the college’s strategic plan. Completed budgets are returned to the director of budget and compliance for review and compilation. The budget is the submitted to the finance and budget committee. Once approved by the committee it is then presented to the full board for approval.”

When New Jersey began opening community colleges around the 1960s, the state intended for each college to be paid for in even thirds by its county, the state, and the students, according to the New Jersey Council of Community Colleges.

Young said after last year’s hike that the idea “never came to fruition” because of the flat funding.

After last year’s hike, President Dr. Anthony Iacono and Vice President of Student Development and Enrollment Management Dr. Bette Simmons said that gradual increases over time rather than drastic, sudden increases are preferable for the students’ sake. Iacono said that in the event of a drastic increase of funding at the state and county levels, the college will probably decrease tuition.

During his gubernatorial campaign, current New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy  promised in September that if elected, he will ensure that all state community colleges are free of tuition, according to New Jersey Advance Media. A Murphy spokesman said that this would cost $200 million at the most. VanDerhoof said that she does not know if such an idea is feasible.

“I know he’s very serious about it,” VanDerhoof said. “How he’s going to do it we haven’t seen, and whether or not it’s doable from the state budget side of the house is yet to be seen, so we’ll keep our eyes open on it and see how it would impact us and the students.”

VanDerhoof said that she does not know what impact such a move would make on enrollment.

“It depends on how it’s done,” VanDerhoof said. “A lot of states have what they call free tuition, but the free tuition is as a last resort, like New York, there’s income criteria. Students still have to file for financial aid, and then, if there’s an on-net gap, that becomes the free piece, so it all depends on how it’s regulated or legislated, and then, we can assess it.”

Last fall semester, New York community colleges began granting financial aid to students whose households earned less than $100 thousand, according to NJ Advance Media. However, Tennessee covers free community college for all adult residents.

Liberal arts major Austin Smith said that she did not know about the tuition hike and that CCM should have made the move more transparent and that a mass email would have helped.

“I think the whole point of coming to school here is to be saving money in order to fund later institutional things, so that’s why I come here, to save money,” Smith said. “And I pay my own tuition, so not knowing that that was even happening this summer, it’s kind of a little absurd because they should be as transparent as possible with money and with our futures because that can make or break someone who is going to go to college or if they want to stay in college, too.”

However, mechanical engineering technology major Joshua Heinerch said that the burden of paying for colleges should not fall on taxpayers who do not use the college directly.

“I think it’s better because now, the people who are actually going to be paying more of it instead of people who aren’t, like the state or the government, paying for it,” Heinerch said.

After last year’s hike, Iacono said that while he respects the county freeholders’ priorities, he believes that government-funded tuition results in a more educated workforce, which in turn, benefits the community in general.

“It’s a difference in philosophy: Do you see education as an expense, or do you see it as an investment?” Iacono said. “I see it as the best investment you could possibly make.”

Third increase in as many years


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