The Michigan State University board of trustees has approved the establishment of a department of African-American and African studies, which will be part of the College of Arts and Letters. The new department will support the work of students, faculty, and staff associated with the existing African-American and African Studies program and enhance the program to include new degrees and courses.
A major goal of the new department is to establish an undergraduate major within the next five years. The minor was recently revised to include more course options and will remain unchanged. The graduate program will also remain unchanged, but it is hoped that the new department will help re-establish the African-American and African studies Ph.D. program as a national and international leader in the field.
Additionally, the new department will have an emphasis on gender and sexuality studies and critical feminist approaches as it relates to Africa and African descendants. This curriculum focus makes the university’s department unique from other higher education institutions and positions the university to be a leader in the discipline.
“Establishing a department of African-American and African studies has long been the goal of the unit since its founding,” said Glenn Chambers, associate professor and director of the African-American and African Studies program. “I’m elated that the faculty, students, staff and all the units in the College of Arts and Letters get to see the fruition of our efforts. What has transpired today has truly been a collaborative effort and all involved should be proud.”