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Program will highlight university's diversity

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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Media Contact: Bridget Lewis, Office:817-272-3317, Cell:214-577-9094, blewis@uta.edu

ARLINGTON – The University of Texas at Arlington has announced the establishment of a new Center for African American Studies that will build on the University’s reputation as one of the nation’s most diverse institutions and highlight the contributions of its faculty, staff and students to curriculum and programs.

The center will be the only one of its kind in North Texas and the third in the state. UT Austin founded its Center for African and African American Studies in 1969. Texas Lutheran University in Seguin launched a similar center this year. Other such centers exist at Princeton, Duke and UCLA.

President James D. Spaniolo said the new Center for African American Studies will be a modern model for the study of issues of race and cultural diversity.

“UT Arlington is proud of its commitment to student and academic diversity. Our new Center for African American Studies will enhance the University’s reputation by setting the standard for scholarship in diversity, culture, history and more,” Spaniolo said. “This is one more example of the breadth and depth of excellence that define The University of Texas at Arlington.”

UT Arlington will conduct a national search for the director of the Center for African American Studies with a goal of launching the program in August 2012. The center is a collaboration between the School of Social Work and the College of Liberal Arts.

The center will initially offer an introductory course and a rigorous minor in African American Studies. The minor will require 18 semester credit hours comprising courses from various departments.

Research methods drawn from several disciplines will enable students to enhance their understanding of African Americans’ unique social circumstances and heritage and to acquire a deeper comprehension of the politics, culture, and history of the nation as a whole, UT Arlington administrators said.  

Marvin Dulaney, chair of the History Department and longtime advocate for a UT Arlington center focusing on African American studies, noted that the program will provide faculty and students enhanced opportunities for community engagement.

“They will participate in research projects that will address community issues such as voting rights, health care, homelessness, criminal justice and the so-called “War on Drugs,” Dulaney said.

“The center is really needed in the Dallas-Fort Worth region,” Dulaney added. “It’s significant that a large, comprehensive University like ours demonstrate its commitment to diversity through its academic programs and outreach activities.”

UT Arlington has repeatedly been cited by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s best universities for diversity. About 15 percent of students are African American, while about 19 percent are Hispanic. Asian students make up about 10 percent of enrollment.

For more information about UT Arlington’s new Center for African American Studies, email Marvin Dulaney, dulaney@uta.edu.

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of 33,439 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

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