Our top priority as a College is to establish the new Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS). We recognize this as a primary way through which we can live out our core value of equity by recruiting and retaining talented faculty and students of color to the College of Arts & Letters and Michigan State University.
However, for this strategy of recruitment and retention to be successful over the long term, we are embracing the intellectual substance of African American and African Studies by building curriculum and supporting an organizational structure that conveys, with clarity and urgency, how important Black and Africana Studies is to Michigan, from Flint to Muskegon, from Lansing to Detroit, and from the United States to Africa and the broad African Diaspora.
An indication of our shared commitment to transform the institutional culture of the College of Arts & Letters by establishing a Department of African American and African Studies can be found in the support letters from the College Advisory Committee (CAC) and the College of Arts & Letters Department Chairs that accompanied our proposal to the faculty senate to establish the Department. The letter from the CAC put it well:
The College’s vision is to shape intentional lives, cultivate creativity, and engage global cultural understanding. A Department of African American and African Studies would contribute significantly to our vision, especially across—but certainly not limited to—the areas of histories; social and cultural criticism; and feminisms, gender, and sexuality studies.
Further, to have a letter of support for a new Department signed unanimously by all of the Chairs is a powerful indication of the broad commitment by the College for this important initiative.