California State University, Fullerton has announced the creation of the Institute of Black Intellectual Innovation. The institute will support students and faculty, campuswide, by institutionalizing the support and inclusion of Black people and Black culture, creative arts and intellectual history through collaborative, innovative, anti-racist research opportunities and publications; creative arts initiatives; community-based social science and humanities programming; and events that promote cultural competency.
A primary goal during the first five years is to support the recruitment and retention of high-quality and diverse faculty and staff. The institute hopes to identify and select advisory board members from the campus and beyond; develop a regional journal that centers on issues related to history, arts, culture and contemporary affairs of Black people in California; provide programs, events, and conferences; and assess systems within the university that contribute to racist outcomes. They will also create a student research consortium and engage in fundraising to help support these goals.
“Our goal is to see students and faculty fellows collaboratively conducting research, centered on assessing and dismantling persistent legacies of institutional, anti-Black racism in higher education,” said Natalie Graham, an associate professor of African American studies at the university. “I see CSUF as a place for Black intellectual development. That’s what we can be known for — increasing achievement. I want people to understand that there’s something happening here. I think developing a cultural, intellectual space is a great step in that direction.”
California State University Fullerton enrolls more than 35,000 undergraduate students. Only 2 percent of the undergraduate student body is Black.