By Curt Yeomans
As the Southern Crescent becomes a more diverse area in which to live, local educational institutions are reflecting that trend.
In Clayton County public schools, over 60 languages can be heard on any given day. Even Clayton State University, in Morrow, is showing the growing diversity of the area it serves.
Clayton State has been named the most racially diverse baccalaureate college in the southeast by U.S. News and World Report in its America's Best Colleges edition.
The university had a diversity index of 0.56, out of a possible 1. This year marks the fifth time since 2001, the college has received the honor.
"As Clayton State University has moved toward becoming a comprehensive, metropolitan university, there has been a steady increase in the diversity of the population, including students, faculty and staff," said CSU President Thomas Harden on Tuesday, in a statement about the ranking.
During the 2006-07 school year, 52.6 percent of U.S.-born Clayton State students were African-American, while 32.3 percent were Caucasian; 5.6 percent were Asian; 5.2 percent were multi-racial; 2.6 percent were Hispanic, and 0.2 percent were American-Indian or Alaska Natives, according to enrollment reports from the fall 2006 semester.
The remaining students were non-U.S. residents, who are not included in the ranking. The purpose of the ranking is to show the ratio of minority students to the overall student population.
"This diversity throughout the entire university helps ensure the richness and breadth of the educational experience at Clayton State for all of our students, faculty and staff," Harden said.
The next school listed in the ranking was Macon State College. Other Georgia colleges on the list include: Brewton-Parker College (no. 18); LaGrange College (21); Emmanuel College (30); Shorter College (36); Reinhardt College (42); Toccoa Falls College (43), and Covenant College (69).
Clayton State's listing as a baccalaureate college captures the school as it is making a transition. Baccalaureate colleges are schools which do not offer graduate degrees to students, but Clayton State now offers four master's degrees. Since the rankings are based on the 2006-07 school year, though, the university's full array of graduate offerings was not functioning then.
There was only one graduate program, a master's degree in liberal arts, available to Clayton State students last year. There were 13 students enrolled in the program.