The National Council for Black Studies (NCBS) recently honored California State University, Northridge’s Department of Africana Studies with its Sankore Institutional Award for outstanding contributions to the development of Africana studies. The award was presented in March at the organization’s 40th annual conference in North Carolina.
The NCBS lauded the Department of Africana Studies for its scholarship and research, support of student scholars and commitment to community service-learning.
NCBS Past President Charles Jones, head of the at the University of Cincinnati’s McMicken College of Arts and Sciences and head of the organization’s awards selection committee, singled out CSUN’s leadership in organizing NCBS’ 2015 annual conference in Los Angeles for special recognition. CSUN worked with six other universities in hosting the four-decade old national organization’s conference.
“During the past decade, CSUN’s Africana studies department has been at the forefront in promoting the discipline of Africana studies,” Jones said. “As a past president, I have valued and appreciated the CSUN’s Africana studies department’s invaluable presence in the discipline, which serves as a model for other such academic units.”
Karin Stanford, former chair of CSUN’s Africana studies department and member of the NCBS board of directors, said the faculty is honored to have been recognized by such a venerable organization.
“Winning this outstanding institutional achievement award indicates a recognition of the hard work that we do to support our students, our department and the field of Africana and black studies,” said Stanford, chair of the local organizing committee for the NCBS’s 2015 conference. “Our department is known for introducing our students to the importance of academic conferences in preparation for graduate school and furthering their quest for knowledge. We value the impact we have on the lives our students ”
Stella Theodoulou, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, said the NCBS’s award is a great honor.
“This is a well-deserved recognition for all faculty, both full-time and part-time, in the department and brings great honor to the department, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the university,” Theodoulou said.
CSUN’s Department of Africana Studies is one of the oldest and largest degree-granting black studies programs in the nation. The department was officially formed in 1969 as the Afro-American Studies Department. It was organized in the wake of campus protests and the mass arrest of hundreds of students who were angry about the treatment of students of color.
The Africana studies major is a multidisciplinary academic major (45 units) designed for students who wish to gain an understanding of the history, psychology, sociology, literature, culture and education of African-Americans and other Africans in the diaspora and the continent. The department has 12 full-time and six part-time faculty, and 28 majors.
The Africana studies department has been applauded for its support of the Hip-Hop
Think Tank, a student organization that facilitates academic analysis, research and critical discourse on hip-hop culture; its award-winning Model African Union, an international conference that provides a unique opportunity for college students to study the role, structure and activities of the African Union as well as the economic, social and political-security issues facing African countries; and its Men of Color Enquiry and Student Research Poster Session.
The Sankore Institutional Award is given annually by a committee of former NCBS presidents. NCBS’s membership represents more than 300 universities and colleges from across the nation. The organization also has members from institutions of higher education in France, Brazil and Zimbabwe.