President, Dean, Interim Provost, Exprees Support for Black Studies
New Paltz Students, Faculty and Staff, and Alumni:
We write – as Dean, Interim Provost, and President –to underscore our full and unhesitating support for a strong and vital Black Studies Department at a time of significant departmental transition.
Among the oldest Black Studies Departments in the country, the Black Studies Department at New Paltz has long played a vital role in the education of our students. Black Studies serves students through General Education courses and through the Black Studies interdisciplinary major. The Department has a strong and valued legacy of mentoring students of color and facilitating their community and civic engagement, and of helping majority students understand Black history and culture. Black Studies also nurtures strong ties to alumni and their continued engagement with SUNY New Paltz.
The Black Studies Department is in a period of change, managing the retirement and departure of several faculty. At the same time, the Department participated last year in the institution’s process of periodic program review, required of all departments.
The Black Studies Department’s participation in this process last year reflects the institution’s investment of resources in the program and our confidence in its pivotal role in our curriculum and on our campus. Since our receipt in May of the external review team’s recommendations, each of us has met (some several times) with Department Chair Dr. Major Coleman to support him as the Black Studies Department begins its work.
The program review recommended several areas of desired change, and opportunities to re-envision curriculum and enhance programs to best serve students and engage them with contemporary interdisciplinary approaches to Black/Africana studies. Those recommendations are being evaluated by the Chair and others and will help us better define faculty specialties and roles to achieve new curricular goals. These important foundational steps will better position New Paltz and Black Studies to attract new faculty as we commit to future hires in this area.
We join the Chair and faculty, current students, alumni, and friends of Black Studies in our eagerness to move thoughtfully through this period of transition. The work engaged during this period will re-position and strengthen the Department for continued success in the decades ahead.
Laura Barrett, Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Stella Deen, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Donald Christian, President