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SLU African American Studies program to become full department this fall

Elevating the program to an academic department was unanimously supported by all levels of the university

ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis University is about to reach a historic milestone.

This fall, SLU will become the fourth Jesuit university in the nation to formally establish a Department of African American Studies.

“I think this moment speaks to the seriousness of the university’s approach toward intellectual production of the African diaspora and will help our faculty and students contribute to the intellectual and social aspects of Saint Louis University,” said the program’s director, Christopher Tinson, Ph.D., who will become the new department’s first chair.

Elevating the program to an academic department was unanimously supported by all levels of the university. Courses in African American Studies began at SLU in the early 1970s.

“I want to congratulate all the faculty that have been instrumental in bringing this to fruition, and I want to thank Dr. Tinson, who since his arrival in 2018 has been steadfast in working toward department status,” said University Provost Michael Lewis, Ph.D. “This move to department status brings with it a number of opportunities, and I look forward to seeing the incredible work of this group of faculty and students becoming an even more integral part of SLU in the coming years.”

According to the press release, the change will help provide additional resources to support teaching, scholarship and service. Academic departments also have autonomy to hire their own faculty, grant tenure, set curricula and establish graduate-level programs.

The Department for African American Studies will continue to be housed in SLU’s College of Arts and Sciences.