Students collaborate with faculty on African-American studies minor

0
137

Print Article
Students who are pushing for TCU to create an African-American studies minor are getting help from faculty.

A resolution supporting the student plan to create the minor was approved by the Student Government Association last month.

Now that the plan has been passed along, faculty members have been working to create an African-American studies minor, as well as a larger program called critical race and ethnic studies.

Max Krochmal, an assistant professor of history, put together a proposal to the AddRan College of Liberal Arts for their Creativity and Innovation in Learning Grant Program.

“Student initiative started on [African-American studies minor],” Krochmal said. “We’re trying to work together for the same cause.”

Melanie Harris, an associate professor of religion and ethics, and Krochmal are meeting with different colleagues who may be interested in African-American studies and African diaspora studies.

African-American studies and African diaspora studies will be under one minor, Krochmal said.

This means that students can take courses related to African-American experiences in the U.S., as well as courses related to African descendant people around the world.

Krochmal and Harris are planning to work with directors of other independent minor programs to build a critical race and ethnic studies program.

Krochmal said he and Harris plan to call a meeting to pass out details about the proposal for the African-American studies minor.

“Our hope is that we will get all of our colleagues together. We’ll start drafting the actual language of the proposal, which include[s] the finalized course list,” Krochmal said.

The student initiative to propose the resolution was prompted by last spring’s TCU United protest, which objected to racist comments on Yik Yak posts about the Baltimore riots.

Graduated student Jarrod McClendon, Adam Powell, a senior history major and Samantha Koehler, senior sociology major, first created a mock proposal for the African-American studies minor as a final project for a Civil Rights Movement course.

Powell said more than 150 students who attended the protest sent emails or provided contact information to support the resolution.

“I don’t think you can find a more diverse group of people to support something than admin, faculty, staff and students from all over the campus,” Powell said. “Everybody was there with the same goal in mind to create something positive out of negative circumstances across the country.”

Once they had SGA support, the students had to work with faculty to propose the curriculum to TCU curriculum committee.

Krochmal said the faculty committee has to decide the governance structure for the minor, including required and subcategory courses.

Krochmal said he believes the addition of an African-American studies minor will  help to create a fuller experience and a more broadly grounded education for students and faculty members.

“For TCU to really continue to propel itself upper in the ranking, to really become a world class university that we all wanted to be,” Krochmal said, “this is one area that we need to catch up.”

A forum will be held today, Oct. 6, at 6.p.m. in the Beck and Green rooms in the Brown-Lupton University Union for all faculty, staff and students to learn more about African-American studies and ethic studies.