Wednesday, September 29, 2010

PCAR and African Studies

Along with various programs at Howard University, the Undergraduate African Studies Department is in jeopardy of being closed.

The following information was taken from the document "Presidential Findings Rising out of Academic Renewal":
Discontinue the BA Degree Program. There is not a critical mass of students to offer an undergraduate major. Some undergraduate coursework should continue to be offered in addition to the Ph.D. program.

Unfortunately the document was taken down from the PCAR website [maybe for revisions?], but hopefully we will post the link ASAP. We have until December 15th to come up with a 3-year plan for the program, but the Office of the president has already sent in a letter of recommendation to close the African Studies Program.

In order to save African Studies Undergraduate program, several majors and minors have come together in and set up the T.I.A. campaign.

A petition will be available shortly for those who wish to support. We will also be holding meetings ASAP. You can also contact us through e-mail @ Also feel free to join our fanpage on Facebook or follow us on twitter @ thisisafricahu!

What is African Studies?

The Department of African Studies was established to offer the masters of arts degree in 1953. In 1969, the unit was placed in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. offering both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in African Studies. Howard University was the first university in the United States to offer a Ph.D. in African Studies. In 1988, the Howard University Board of Trustees approved the recommendation of the African Studies with both graduate and undergraduate programs. Since 1991 both programs have been fully functioning as components of the Department of African Studies at Howard University...The Department decided that the best approach to the study of the African continent can be better accomplished by adopting an interdisciplinary approach. Indeed, such an approach also requires a specialized knowledge of the history, culture, and other aspects of life on the continent. As for its students, the Department emphasizes overseas training and experiences, particularly at the Ph.D level, and doctoral dissertation based on field research or the use of primary sources. [taken from]

Until recently, the African Studies Undergraduate Program at HU was the only African Studies Undergraduate Program in the United States. Recently, there have been major attempts to develop African Studies at Historically White Institutions, though most have a deep admiration for the program at Howard. Many students who both major and minor in African Studies believe that the department surpasses its intended goals. Though we focus primarily on colonial and post-colonial Africa, in order to have a better understanding of contemporary Africa, we are forced to do research and studies on pre-colonial Africa and also the African Diaspora.

Please read more:
Department of African Studies

What is PCAR?

Though the website does not give a solid definition of The Presidential Commission on Academic Renewal (PCAR), from reading the various literature posted on the site, you may understand their purpose and goals for Howard University. As stated on the PCAR site:
The Presidential Commission on Academic Renewal (PCAR) is working with faculty colleagues, students, staff and external scholars to review our undergraduate, graduate and professional programs and make recommendations to President Ribeau for strategic adjustments...Contemporary opportunities and challenges require that Howard review its academic programs and organizational structures to ensure that once again, it is able to carry out its historic mission and remain competitive in the higher education community.[to read more click here]
On the PCAR website there are various documents which contain vital information. We recommend that you download and save important documents.

Important Pages and Documents on the PCAR website
PCAR Membership