GALLOWAY, N.J. – Stockton University will offer a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Africana Studies starting in the fall 2019 semester.
The degree program builds from the Africana Studies minor program, which has been at Stockton since 1983 and provides students greater opportunity to study, analyze, and evaluate topics from an Africana perspective.
The curriculum includes five areas of concentration: Arts and Entertainment, Global Perspectives, History/Humanities, Literature, and Social and Political Perspectives. All students will take five required courses that include Africana Studies, The African World. An Afrocentric Approach to American History, and a senior seminar. The program will also include an experiential learning requirement through travel or community service, and a choice of electives.
The program is affiliated with the National Council for Black Studies, Inc. and students are eligible for membership in Ankh Maat Wedjau, the National Honor Society for majors and minors in Africana Studies.
Some 20 faculty members from a variety of disciplines are contributing courses to the program. The Program Coordinator is Professor of Africana Studies and Communication Studies Donnetrice Allison, who, with Distinguished Professor of Africana Studies and Social Work Patricia Reid-Merritt, are serving as the full-time core faculty.
Some 70 students, faculty and staff attended a launch party for the program. Reid-Merritt began the program with a tribute to all the educators through American history who were committed to Africana Studies even before it was an official field of study.
“These were people who started to think of the needs of the African-American community,” she said, citing W.E.B. Dubois, Benjamin Mays, and Mary McLeod Bethune as inspirations.
The program has also been highlighting successful recipients of Africana Studies degrees, including engineer and astronaut Mae Jamison, film director Ava DuVernay, and former first lady Michelle Obama.
“What can you do with an Africana Studies degree? Absolutely anything” Allison said.
The featured speaker at the launch was Molefi Kete Asante of Temple University, who founded the first Ph.D program in Africana Studies. Asante, who has reviewed Stockton’s minor program, supported the major, noting that many professionals already thought Stockton had a major because of the prominence of Stockton students and faculty in the field.
Stockton Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities Lisa Honaker said the turnout at the launch party shows the growing interest in the topic.
“This is a program whose time has come,” she said. “I am looking forward to great growth.”
Stockton also offers a dual credit class for local high schools on Topics in African-American History and Culture. Currently, five high schools–Pleasantville, Cherry Hill East and West, Middle Township, and Woodrow Wilson in Camden–participate.