LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
Greetings CAS Affiliates, Core Faculty, Students, and Friends!
Welcome to an exciting 2015-16 school year! I am so honored to have an opportunity to serve as Director of our Center for African Studies. There has already been a flurry of activity at the Center this fall.
With the funding from Title VI, our Illinois National Research Center, a consortium which consists of the Center for African Studies (CAS) at the University of Illinois, and the Program of African Studies (PAS) at Northwestern University, is working with the Chicago community colleges to sustain an intellectual environment and provide fertile ground to develop new understandings and solutions seeded by crosspollination of ideas from our transdisciplinary faculty. For example, on March 10-11, 2016, and again in early May 2016, we are working with PAS to organize an Africana Studies Faculty Development Seminar in Chicago.
Importantly, our consortium’s faculty and staff excellently provide instruction and resources for the training of baccalaureate and graduate students from various disciplines. We have numerous courses with Africa content offered by our affiliate faculty this school year and we week to increase our minors and MA students. Another initiative is that we are meeting with appropriate stakeholders to articulate an agreement so that successful students may transfer from campuses of the City Colleges of Chicago consortium (CCC) into African American Studies and/or other select LAS units at the University of Illinois, and complete coursework for a minor in African Studies.
Interdisciplinarity, intellectual diversity, and a rich environment for global education are signatures of our consortium. This semester our core and affiliate faculty and staff integrate expertise from our internationally recognized programs in engineering, with social science methodologies and humanities country-specific skill sets, training in cultural competency and social justice to propose two Mandela Washington Fellowship Institutes—one in public management and one in civic engagement. Further, we continue to work with the five other Title VI NRCs, and other area/thematic studies centers in our Illinois International administrative unit at the University of Illinois, which is in the midst of undergoing structural changes.
We look forward to seeing you at our post-holiday reception at the end of January. And we thank you for your work to sustain our vision for African Studies at Illinois to promote world-class scholarship; sustainable funding streams; pedagogies that center the peoples of Africa; and public engagement around issues of Africa, its Diaspora, and Africa’s transcontinental connections.
A luta continua,