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Since translating the value of Black Studies in the mis­sion of  uni­versities has been difficult, particularly with the ap­pli­ca­tion  of the corporate model to the functioning of many of to­day’s uni­ver­sities, question eight was initiated as a means of ob­tain­ing in­no­va­tive ways for the field to adjust to the new set­ting. Dis­cus­sants tackled that concern with a number of sug­ges­tions. Inspired by the question, Karenga asked, “Is an adminis­tra­tor just a functional kind of task or does it involve an intellectual agen­da?” A discussion of curriculum develop­ment and direction occurred around the theme of an in­tel­lec­tual agenda. Including a distance learning com­ponent is a means of increasing students. Alkalimat suggested that pro­ponents in the field should “enter­tain the idea of im­perm­a­nence.” Emergency preparedness is a means for arming the field for continued longevity. Whatley’s application of that idea to cur­ric­ulum development includes the creation of at least one course that satisfies general education re­quire­ments and is capable of becoming a required course in the un­der­­grad­u­ate curriculum. Black Studies administrators have the ob­li­ga­tion to educate chief ac­ademic officers in state government about the needs of Black Stud­ies in the state as well as trans­late what is going on socially in­to curriculum.

Panelists suggested that the privatization of education has changed the “community” service relationships where hu­man­i­ties and social sciences are de-emphasized while the “hard” sciences be­come handmaidens to corporate capital ven­tures. That issue was interpreted as being intricately tied to a need for chief academic officers to understand the social justice and social responsibility mission of Black Studies, and that department and program lead­er­ship have a responsibili­ty to educate those officers, but must go a step beyond by building relations with politicians in an­ti­ci­pa­tion of the institutional changes occurring nationally. Bailey’s sug­ges­tion of collaborative projects provided examples of the ways in which the emphasis on hard sciences and the professions could be used to keep active the social responsibility agenda of Black Stud­ies; making PhD degrees responsive to the needs of society; ed­u­ca­ting chief academic officers in the states about the needs of Black Studies in the state.

Joint appointments create a dependency on other admin­is­trative units. Therefore, hiring, granting tenure, and promoting faculty in departments and programs are the first steps on the road to obtaining functional independence. In ad­di­tion to the dis­cus­sion of this objective, there was a call for filling Africana Studies de­part­ments’ and programs’ faculty with scholars who have ob­tain­ed PhDs in the field—a goal most discussants supported. Such a goal requires a tremendous amount of recruitment by the seven universities that offer PhDs in Black Studies. Although it was not discussed, the graduation rate of new PhDs in the field can pro­vide some insight into how quickly these seven programs and de­part­ments would be able to accomplish that goal. In order to sus­tain the field, other suggestions were made regarding the role of administrators, such as compelling faculty to join the Na­tion­al Council for Black Studies, requiring publishing in jour­nals of the field as a criterion for obtaining tenure in depart­ments and programs, and consideration of terminal master’s degrees.


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iBlack Studies by marilyn m. thomas-houston is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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