University of Iowa Plans to Resurrect Its Black Studies Department

Linda Maxson, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa, has announced that the black studies program at the university will regain departmental status by 2008.

The program initially achieved departmental status in 1969. In 2004, what was called the African-American world studies department was disbanded after several faculty members left the university. When reestablished in 2008, the new department will be called African-American studies.

Undergraduate student enrollments in the program dropped to 15 in the spring 2006 semester. There are no graduate students in black studies at the University of Iowa at the current time. For the coming academic year there will be 14 faculty members who will teach in the program, up from four in 2005.

The university hopes that a revitalized black studies department will help recruit a larger number of black students to campus. The latest Department of Education figures show that blacks make up 2.2 percent of all undergraduate enrollments at the University of Iowa. Blacks are 2.1 percent of the population in the state of Iowa.