2011 Ethnic Studies Report on Strengthening the Minor in Black Studies Submitted by Michael Washington The proposal to strengthen the Black Studies Program here represents a reaffirmation of the proposal agreed upon by Drs. Paul Tenkotte and Michael Washington during the summer of 2011. Dr. Tenkotte’s satisfaction with the proposal is expressed below in an email dated August 12, 2011. It states: From : Paul Tenkotte Sent: Fri 8/12/2011 7:03 AM To: Michael Washington Subject: Re:
Hi Michael, I enjoyed our meeting as well. Together we can regrow the minor and pursue a Race and Gender major. The replacement of HIS 106 and 107 with a 300-level course is, as you demonstrate, crucial. Let's get that passed by UCC this Fall. Please gather your retention statistics and share with me, as we'll need those for the major proposal. In terms of the brochure, I pulled information from your latest Black Studies brochure. The good news is that we are currently printing only 500 copies so that we can test drive the brochure, and change--within six months or so--anything that we're not happy with. Paul The above email plus a previous agreement between the chair and the Black Studies coordinator to reduce the minor from 24 to 21 credit hours represent their consensus on an approach to increase enrollments in history courses with Black Studies content. The consensus was necessary because of the devastating blow the new General Education Requirements had on the enrollments in His 106 &107. To get the 300 level courses passed by the UCC this fall will simply require changing the course titles and descriptions of HIS- 318 and HIS-319 which is currently being done in collaboration with Dr. Bill Landon. Long-Term Programmatic Concerns While the strategy to” re-grow” the minor may result in increased enrollments in the short-term, there is a much greater threat to the long-term survival of the Black Studies Program as one that functions in the best interest of Black people, hence continuing its role in recruiting Black faculty and implementing academic programming that correlate with improved retention rates for Black students. The disrespect for the discipline that yourself and Dr. Debra Meyers have demonstrated over the past academic year threatens to diminish the value of Black Studies at NKU. Hence, in comparison to peer institutions and especially with respect to Division I schools, NKU is an anomaly in its disrespect for the discipline. The categories below represent a comparison of Black Studies/ Ethnic Studies/Women’s Studies programs with NKU’s regional, state-wide, and national peer institutions.
Regional Universities and Black Studies/ Ethnic Studies Greater Cincinnati/ northern Kentucky The University of Cincinnati’s Africana Studies Department offers a BA, Certificate, and minor. Similarly the African and African American Studies Program at Wright State University offers both the BA and the minor as does Miami University’s Black World Studies Program. Conversely, the Catholic colleges in the local area reflect the opposite trend. Neither the College of Mount St. Joseph, Thomas More College, nor Xavier University offer a programmatic study of the Black Experience. Xavier does, however, offer 18 credit hour minor in Gender & Diversity Studies. State Universities and Black Studies/Ethnic Studies In the state of Kentucky NKU holds company with five other institutions of higher education offering minors in Black Studies. One institution, The University of Louisville, has a department that offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Pan-African Studies. The five universities with Black Studies minors include Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky State, Murray State, the University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky University. The University of Kentucky also has a Department of Gender & Women’s Studies that offers a major and a minor as does the University of Louisville’s Women and Gender Studies Department while Morehead State offers an interdisciplinary Women’s Studies Minor. Hence, seven out of the eight state universities in Kentucky offer programs in Black Studies while two offer majors and minors in Gender Studies and one minor in Women’s Studies. National Peer Institutions The comparisons of Ethnic Studies programs included in this report are from a list of 25 institutions that comprise a resource titled “Planning, Policy, and Budget: National Peer Institutions from the NKU Business Plan.” From that list 13 institutions offered programming in Black Studies, 5 in Ethnic Studies, 1 in Women’s Studies, 5 in Ethnic and Women’s Studies, and 1 with no such programs. (See Appendixes on National Peer Institutions) Hence, it is reasonable to conclude from the above findings that the data on Black Studies programs regionally, state-wide, and from national peer institutions suggest that where there exist an institutional commitment to the discipline, Black Studies units tend to thrive. For instance, among NKU’s regional and state-wide peer institutions, three of them have Black Studies units that appear on The 100 Most Popular Schools for African American Studies Majors & Degree Programs; a directory copyrighted by Wintergreen Orchard House. The institutions include 17th ranked University of Louisville, 31st ranked Miami University-Oxford and 36th ranked University of Cincinnati-Main Campus. Each of these institutions are also Division I Universities, a status NKU is currently seeking to obtain. In addition to these regional and state-wide peers, seven universities from NKU’s national peer institutions appear on the list. They include 19th ranked Eastern Michigan University, 23rd ranked University of Wisconsin-
Milwaukee, 40th ranked University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 46th ranked University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 52nd ranked Indiana State University, 65th ranked San Jose State University, and 83rd ranked University of Nebraska at Omaha. Black Studies and NKU While most regional, state-wide and national peer institutions indicate a value for the discipline of Black Studies on their campuses, this is not the case at NKU. Rather than support the founding director’s initiatives to enhance the program’s relevance to campus diversity policy and to the enhancement of the quality of campus life for Black faculty, staff and students, the chair and assistant chair of the History & Geography department constructed a scheme to destroy the minor then used its demise as the unspoken rationale to justify eliminating the minor in Women’s Studies. For instance, the above email demonstrates that on August 8, 2011 the chair agreed to work with the director to ”regrow the minor and pursue a Race and Gender major. “ Yet on September 9, 2011 Dr. Tenkotte endorsed a preproposal to eliminate the Black Studies Minor upon approval of the major in Race and Gender Studies. The director of the Black Studies Program is not the only African American that Dr. Tenkotte doublecrossed when he decided to kill the minor; Mr. Dannie Moore, the Associate Dean/Director of the Office of African American Affairs was also led astray. On June 22, 2011 Dr. Tenkotte consented to work in collaboration with Mr. Moore’s office to “strengthen the Black Studies Minor.” To date, Dr. Tenkotte has not informed Mr. Moore of the change in his course of action. Hence, possibly hundreds of African American students are being wrongly advised that the minor is being strengthened as Dr. Tenkotte conspires with his loyal constituency group, encouraging them to vote for the Major to kill the minors. Dr. Tenkotte has never explained the rationale behind his actions of consenting with an African American faculty and administrator to strengthen the minor while working behind the scenes with a group of whites and token Blacks to eliminate it. Because of this, it appears that Dr. Tenkotte acted intentionally to deceive his African American colleagues so that they would not offer opposition to his plan to kill Black Studies as a minor. With the minor in Black Studies dead there would be no justification to sustain the Women’s Studies minor, hence the minor in Women’s Studies was sacrificed on the altar of racism in order to garner support for the new major. While there exist no precedent among NKU’s peer institutions of Gender Studies Majors eliminating their minors, Dr. Meyers convened a committee to advocate for the new major without input from the director of Black Studies who would insist on authenticity based on the precedent of offering the major in Gender Studies with corresponding minors (see The University of Cincinnati, the University of Louisville, and The University of Kentucky). Instead, the thinking was to substitute the director’s input for the input of two token Blacks who could be manipulated to vote against the Black Studies minor. Hence, until the minor in Black Studies is respected by the department in which it is housed, it cannot be expected to be strengthened.
Proposal to Strengthen Black Studies/ Ethnic Studies I propose that the departmental Curriculum Committee do a thorough investigation into the origins of the Pre-Proposal for the Race and Gender Major and be able to answer all questions surrounding the exclusion of the director of Black Studies and students. Should anything less than fair play be discovered with regard to treatment of the director by the departmental chair and assistant chair, that a process be proposed to restore the program’s integrity and its founding director. Once restored I propose that both Women’s Studies and Black Studies continue to offer the minors even as components of the Race and Gender Major. I also propose the following short and long term recommendations for Black Studies. Short term -
Change the His 106 & 107 to a 300 level course requirement (HIS 318 and/or HIS 319) Reduce minor to 21 hrs. Continue collaboration with Learning Community courses Collect data on NKU’s Black Studies/Learning Community courses Continue collaborating with the Office of African American Student Affairs o Departmental members (and others) promote Black Studies as part of an organized plan o Annual Lecture series o Earmarked Scholarships to study Black Studies Designate 6 “Minority Scholarships” as Black Studies Fellows Promote Black Studies and immediately cease administrative efforts to undermine its success Sustain an authentic history and rationale that addresses structural racism
Long Term -Implement the joint-title ( or at least hires to support Black Studies) approach to faculty hires to show institutional support to the Black Studies Program - sustain the positions once created -Develop a major in Black Studies
……. Index of Regional, State-wide and Nation Peer Institutions to NKU…… Regional The University of Cincinnati’s Africana Studies Department offers a BA, Certificate, and minor ( rated 36 in the nation as one of the most popular African American Studies Majors)
Miami University’s Black World Studies program offers a bachelor of Arts (rated 31 in the nation as one of the most popular African American Studies Majors) Wright State University offers both the BA and the minor. Conversely, neither the College of Mount St. Joseph, Thomas More College, nor Xavier University offer a programmatic study of the Black Experience
Kentucky Western Ky. Univ= Potter College=African American Studies as an Interdisciplinary Program Univ. of Kentucky African American Studies and Research Program is a multidiscinplinary unit that offers a major and a 21 hr. minor It also has a Department of Gender & Women’s Studies Univ. of Louisville= Pan-African Studies Department ( has been ranked in the top 10 percent of “Black Studies” programs in the nation (1997) Currently ranked 16th in the nation. It also has a Department of Women and Gender Studies Murray State= African American Studies and Ethics ( has a director not chair) Benchmark list Kentucky State offers a minor in African American Studies (interdisciplinary program out of History, 18 semester hour) Morehead State (interdisciplinary Women’s Studies Minor) WST/SOC American Minority Relations Eastern Kentucky Univ.= minor in African/African American Studies
National Peer Institutions The comparisons of Ethnic Studies programs included in this report are from a list of 25 institutions that comprise a resource titled “Planning, Policy, and Budget: National Peer Institutions from the NKU Business Plan.” From that list 13 institutions offered programming in Black Studies, 5 in Ethnic Studies, 1 in Women’s Studies, 5 in Ethnic and Women’s Studies, and 1 with no programs. (See Appendix on National Peer Institutions)
……….Peer Institutions……………………. 13 offer programming in Black Studies 5 Ethnic Studies 1-Women’s Studies 5-Ethnic and Women’s Studies 1- No such studies Appendix on National Peer Institutions 1-Boise State University-Bachelor degree in-Multi-Ethnic Studies 2-California State University-Dominguez Hills = Area, Ethnic, Cultural, and Gender Studies (Black & Hispanic) 3-CUNY (The City College of New York) Black Studies Program offers a major 4-Eastern Michigan University’s Department of African American Studies= Bachelor of Arts ( 1 yr.of foreign language) Bachelor of Science and a minor 5-Indiana State University= African and African American Studies Major 6-Kent State’s Pan African Studies Department=Major with choice of three concentrations and two minors (Pan-African Studies & African Studies) 7-Missouri State University=minor in African American Studies 8-Portland State University= Black Studies Department & Major 9-Univ. of Southern Maine (Self-Design Major)—Hispanic Studies 10-San Jose’ State University=Department offers Bachelor of Arts and 18 hr. Minor with courses emphasizing the humanities and the social sciences (Model for NKU) 11-Southern Illinois University Edwardsville=Black Studies Program 12-Texas State University-San Marcos= 18 hour minor in Diversity Studies from the Center for Multicultural & Gender Studies ( 77% retention with 5% Blacks and 5% graduation rate and 23% Hispanic with 18% graduation rate 13-Towson = Area, Ethnic, Cultural, & Gender Studies offers Bachelor degrees in Women Studies (Maryland) 14-University of Central Oklahoma=Ethnic Studies Minor
15-University of Massachusetts-Boston= African American Studies Program 16-University of Nebraska at Omaha = Major in Area, Ethnic, Cultural, And Gender Studies 17University of North Carolina at Charlotte= Department of Africana Studies 18-University of North Carolina at Greensboro= African American Studies offers a Bachelors and an online Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 19-University of North Florida= no Black Studies 20-University of Southern Maine= Hispanic Studies & Self Design Major 21-University of Tennessee-Chattanooga=Women Studies 22-University of Texas at Arlington=Center for Mexican American Studies 23-University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee= Bachelors in African American Studies & Women Studies 24-Wichita State University= Major in Ethnic Studies and Major and minor from The Center for Womenâ€™s Studies 25-Youngstown State Univ. Major & Minor in Africana Studies