The board of trustees at the University of Rochester in New York approved the creation of a department of Black studies. The new academic department will work in close collaboration with the university’s Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies, which was established in 1986. Until now, the institute, which is part of the School of Arts & Sciences, incorporated faculty who had primary appointments in other departments. The department of Black studies, however, will be able to hire faculty fully committed to its mission.
Sarah Mangelsdorf, president of the University of Rochester, stated that “the University of Rochester joins the community of institutions that embrace Black life, Black culture, and Black issues as very serious subjects of academic study. This is an important and necessary step as we work toward being a global research university of the future.”
Jeffrey McCune Jr., the director of the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies, added that “the study of Black people in the world is a major project encompassing geography, culture, political science, sociology, economics, and creativity. All of that is robust and deserves to be studied seriously.”
Before coming to the University of Rochester in 2021, Dr. McCune was an associate professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies and of African and African American studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. McCune earned a master’s degree in communications studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He holds a Ph.D. in performance studies, with a focus on African American and gender studies from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.