Update from the Chair Spring 2020

Chairperson of AFRE, Titus Awokuse, gives a status update on the department and outlines recent accomplishments by faculty, students, and alumni.


Dear AFRE Colleagues,

The events of the past few months, especially these past two weeks, have been challenging and very troubling for us as a nation and as a university.  We are at a pivotal moment in our shared history. Racism and any other form of hateful discrimination and injustice towards African Americans and other communities of color should have no place in any civilized society.  It must be exposed, condemned and corrected.  As Spartans we have a responsibility to ensure that our values are reflected in our actions and words alone will never be enough.  

First, we must acknowledge the racial injustices and inequalities that afflict our country and touch our academic community as well.  As educators we must understand how these inequalities affect our campus community, our teaching and our research, and we must confront them wherever they are, including within our profession.  Once we can acknowledge these often-uncomfortable truths, we must be open to dialogue and be willing to listen to one another.  Talk is cheap and discussion is not enough.  

We need to be prepared to take meaningful actions.  We must always be willing to educate ourselves, to learn and grow, and to give our students the tools they will need to navigate an often unjust society on the journey to a more inclusive, equitable, and peaceful future.  Our Department believes our diversity is a source of strength and we will always be committed to our students and to creating a community where all people are valued for who they are.  To all of our students, please know that we value you and you belong here.

Despite the challenging circumstances that we currently face as a department, I must commend our students, faculty, and staff for their dedication and sustained commitment to high quality work and doing it with excellent results. The updates and positive stories highlighted in the rest of this newsletter are a testament to the strength and resilience of our department. Our students and our faculty have collected numerous honors and accolades this past semester and I encourage you to read more about their successes. 

Lastly, please join me in congratulating all of our students graduating in the class of 2020. We recognize and celebrate your successes and wish you and your families the very best in your future endeavors. Our graduating class includes 90 undergrads for spring 2020 (plus about 28 more for summer 2020) and nine graduate students. I am confident that there is a bright light at the end of this tunnel and better days will surely come again.

- Titus O. Awokuse


Did you find this article useful?