Survey Documents the State of Black Studies at U.S. Colleges and Universities

BlackStudiesSurvey-1A new report from the department of African American studies at the University of Illinois finds that the academic discipline of Black studies is thriving at U.S. colleges and universities. A survey of 1,777 colleges and universities found that 76 percent of these institutions had Black studies programs to some degree. Some 20 percent of responding institutions had formal academic units, either departments or programs, dedicated to African American studies. Of these, official African American studies programs, 35 percent are free-standing Black studies departments.

The survey also found that 46 percent of the academic units in Black studies were headed by women. Another key finding is that 53 percent of the colleges and universities that had official programs in Black studies, also had Latino studies units.

rwbaileyRonald Bailey, chair of the department of African American studies at the University of Illinois, stated, “Many people assume that Black studies was simply a political response to the turmoil of the 1960s. What is not fully appreciated is that Black studies also spurred and inspired many significant transformations in higher education. For instance, it produced one of the first big discussions of interdisciplinary scholarship, and of what is now known as service learning. It is a discipline and field connected by countless threads to communities and to other disciplines and arenas of scholarship in higher education, both in the U.S. and around the world.”

The survey, entitled African American Studies 2013: A National Web-Based Survey, can be accessed here.

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