New Director Plans a New Direction for Black Studies at the University of New Mexico

Finnie Coleman came to the University of New Mexico this past fall to take over the African-American studies program. He holds a joint appointment in the English and American studies departments. Professor Coleman has ambitious plans to make over the black studies program to give it a global perspective. In negotiating the terms of his post, Coleman received a firm commitment from the university that he would be permitted to fill two new faculty positions in black studies.  

Professor Coleman also wants to strengthen cross-departmental ties within the university enabling students who pursue a black studies major to concentrate in areas such as economics, international studies, or law so that they will be more employable once they earn their degrees. He also would like to institute a study-abroad requirement as part of the black studies curriculum.

Blacks are nearly 3 percent of the student body at the University of New Mexico. According to the latest JBHE research, there are 45 black faculty members at the university, making up 1.7 percent of the total faculty.  

Coleman came to the University of New Mexico from Texas A&M University where he was a professor of African-American literature. A native of Pensacola, Florida, Coleman is a Gulf War veteran. While in the Army he graduated from the Virginia Military Institute double-majoring in economics and English. He went on to earn a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia.

Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.