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.