Wayne State University is launching a cluster hire program that will recruit and hire 30 new humanities faculty and create the Detroit Center for Black Studies. The initiative, funded in part by a $6 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will support Wayne State’s goal to build a more inclusive and equitable university by prioritizing faculty and research centered on the Black experience.
The cluster hire will include the recruitment of 10 new early career scholars in the humanities for the Pathway to Faculty program, an initiative to guide and prepare pre-faculty fellows for tenure-track positions. The initiative will also recruit 10 new tenure-track hires and 10 tenured faculty members at the associate or full professor level. The focus will be on scholars whose research interests expand knowledge about people of color and the issues that affect them, along with studies involving the impact of race, racism, inequality, and struggles for equality and justice.
The new initiative will also create the Detroit Center for Black Studies, a faculty-led multidisciplinary center at Wayne State that connects Black studies faculty from institutions across the state of Michigan. The goal is an inclusive center that brings together the breadth of scholars who work in African American, African, and African-diaspora studies and the interconnections with U.S. and global histories, culture, social, economic, legal, and health systems.
Mark Kornbluh, provost at the university noted that “Wayne State is located in the largest majority-Black city in America, and our curricula should reflect that with more courses that center the Black experience and the role that race has played in American history, culture, and society. This grant propels us to build a more inclusive curriculum, a broader research agenda, and deeper impact on our community by dramatically increasing the number of faculty members whose work centers on the Black experience.”
Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson added that “we are committed to building a much more inclusive public research university that better reflects and serves our city, state, and nation. Ultimately, we believe that these hires and the curricula and community ties they develop will help us continue to increase success rates across our entire student population.”