Science careers at HBCUs

2/20/2018 3:21:55 PM

To continue our celebration of Black History Month here at the ASBMB, we want to highlight the significant role that historically black colleges and universities continue to play in training the next generation of minority scientists and community leaders. For example, check out the HBCU Voices of STEM Excellence podcast series produced by the HBCU Digest for stories from HBCU alumni on how their educational experiences set them up for success in STEM careers.  

HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions especially need dedicated faculty and staff members from diverse backgrounds who can serve as role models and provide a support system. Juliette Bell, president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, explained in a recent ASBMB Today article, “Having overcome many challenges in achieving my goal of a career in science and research, I chose to use my experience, skills and passion to encourage and support other underrepresented minorities in achieving their dreams. This is what led me to devote my career to teaching, research and service at historically black institutions. Leading an HBCU is the ultimate opportunity for service to my community.”  

As you’ll notice in the weekly jobs roundup below and in last week’s post on bridging the gap in health disparities, HBCUs are engaged in research (e.g., ethnobotany, minority health) focused on cultural traditions and diversity issues in healthcare, underscoring the critical role of HBCUs in promoting health equity. These research topics especially pique the interest of minority students in STEM fields who are seeking culturally responsive curricula that show how science is relevant to their lives and communities. (If you’re a teacher seeking tips on making your curriculum more inclusive, check out this insightful perspective essay in ASBMB Today by Ashley Warfield–Oyirifi on raising a rainbow of scientists.)  

Also, make note that there are other ways to work with HBCU students via STEM-education programs that recruit from or work with historically black colleges (e.g., Fisk University–Vanderbilt Master’s to Ph.D. Bridge Program). A few other programs with potential overlap are mentioned in the previous post on careers to support diversity in science efforts. I’ll cover more on these types of programs in a future post.  

Weekly jobs roundup  

Here is a listing of some open positions at HBCUs. I found these positions by doing a search of both generic and academic job boards with “HBCU” as my search term. Additionally, I went through the human-resources websites of the 10 HBCUs that produce the most STEM Ph.D. graduates, as identified by the American Institutes of Research in a 2014 report. I assume these schools hire more frequently for science faculty and support positions. (FYI, you also can find a comprehensive database containing information about the more than 100 accredited HBCUs on the U.S. Department of Education website.)  

  • The School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences at Morgan State University in Baltimore is recruiting for an assistant or associate professor to teach biology or chemistry courses and conduct research in natural-product development. Minimum qualifications include a Ph.D. in analytical or medicinal chemistry, plant science or a related field. A candidate is preferred who has experience in the area of medicinal plants and natural-product chemistry. No application deadline is provided.  
  • Fisk University in Nashville is hiring a campus coordinator to support research, training and community-outreach activities for health-disparities and wellness programs on campus. The coordinator will work with the HBCU Wellness Project that runs statewide. Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree (master’s preferred) in public health or related field and two to five years of relevant experience. No application deadline is provided.  
  • Hampton University in Hampton, Va., has posted several open science-related positions within the past few months. Some of these openings include an assistant or associate professor of organic chemistry and a part-time laboratory manager for molecular and cellular biology teaching labs. No application deadlines are provided. (Note: I’d reach out and check on the status of these positions before applying.)  
  • The College of Medicine at Howard University in Washington, D.C., is hiring a research associate to administer and coordinate clinical-research projects in women’s health related to pelvic-floor disorders. Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and research experience. No application deadline is provided.  
  • The Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta is seeking a program manager to oversee operations of a Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity program funded by the National Cancer Institute. Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree (master’s in business or public health preferred) and relevant experience in research administration. No application deadline is provided.  
  • North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C., is recruiting for several faculty positions to start in the fall, including a lecturer in bioengineering and assistant professor in molecular biology. All positions require a Ph.D. in the respective fields and teaching experience is preferred. Also preferred for the professorship is postdoctoral research experience but it is not required. Applications received by March 12 will receive full consideration.  

Note: If you’re a minority scientist and preparing for an academic career such as with an HBCU, check out this earlier post on diversity-support programs for underrepresented groups transitioning to academia. One mentioned program is the ASBMB Interactive Mentoring Activities for Grantsmanship Enhancement workshop to be held this June in Washington, D.C. This grant-writing workshop is for assistant professors and postdoctoral scientists who are preparing to transition into independent faculty positions. Applications are now being accepted and are due by April 13.

Donna Kridelbaugh is the ASBMB careers blogger. Connect with her on Twitter (@science_mentor) or at her website (