Niagara University in New York has announced that it is reintroducing its minor degree program in Africana/Black studies. African Americans make up 5 percent of the 3,200-member undergraduate student body at Niagara University, according to the latest U.S. Department of Education data.
Courses in the new minor will be offered by several departments including history, sociology, literature, political science, law, communication and education. Students can choose from two tracks. One will focus on African American history and culture and the other will focus on the African diaspora.
The minor degree program is under the director of Micahel J. Durfee, an assistant professor of history at the university. Dr. Durfee told JBHE that “our program became defunct when my predecessor left on short notice” in 2011 to take a position at another university. “Students could not minor in Africana Studies,” Dr. Durfee continued, “as some courses were no longer regularly offered and there was no director of the minor to advise students through the process. When I earned tenure-track status in 2015, students protested demanding that we reconstitute the minor with more emphasis placed upon the Black experience within the United States in the 20th century. Getting this minor up and running has met some institutional obstacles, but we are finally in a place.”
Dr. Durfee hopes to have 10 students enrolled in the minor degree program by the end of the year.