This news might be of some interest to America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs): A study by Cornell University doctoral student Joshua Price indicates that having a black instructor in the sciences makes black students more likely to actually follow through and graduate from college with degrees in math or science.
An article by Scott Jaschik in Inside Higher Ed explains that the results:
Point to… the role of black college instructors in encouraging black science students to persist as science majors. The finding could be significant because many students (in particular members of under-represented minority groups) who start off as science majors fail to continue on that path — so a change in retention of science majors could have a major impact.
The Price study was designed to measure the impact of race and gender and college persistence. Interestingly, Price found that no significant relationship existed between women who had female instructors in the sciences and technology and their persistence to graduation.