A new study from the National Research Center for College and University Admissions found demand for Africana studies and similar programs is outpacing the supply, especially in Florida and Georgia. As a result, the University of North Florida in Jacksonville has announced that it is establishing an Africana studies program.
The University of North Florida has offered a minor in African-American/African Diaspora studies for years. The new Africana studies program will be a interdisciplinary major within the university’s College of Arts and Sciences. Students will be able to choose from concentrations including history, arts and culture, gender and sexuality, health, education as well as race and the environment.
The new program will be under the direction of Tru Leverette, an associate professor of English at the university. She has been teaching at the university since 2005 and has a background in African American literature and culture.
Leverette emphasized that a major in Africana studies won’t limit students to a career in academia. “Knowledge of race and cultural competencies are of interest to employers,” Dr. Leverette said. “There are so many applications, especially since we are wanting to offer these particular tracks that will really help streamline people in their areas of interest. And lots of graduate schools really like these kinds of interdisciplinary degrees, so whether students want to go straight into a career or want to go to graduate school, this is a solid move.”
Dr. Leverette is a graduate of Barry University in Miami. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in American literature from the University of Florida.