National Council for Black Studies moves headquarters to University of Delaware
The National Council for Black Studies moves its headquarters to the University of Delaware.
The Council moves to UD from the University of Cincinnati and names UD Department of Africana Studies Assistant Professor Alicia Fontnette its new executive director.
The council was founded in 1975 following the Civil Rights Movement to formalize the study of the African world experience.
Fontnette sees bringing the council to UD as an opportunity to increase diversity and inclusion at the university, attracting more students from across the country.
“Especially Black and brown students saying this is a place that I can come and I’m accepted, this is a place that I can come and also have resources, because unfortunately, many PWI’s do not support these types of programs so students are hesitant to go," Fontnette says. "UD has said not only do we support, we have the national office for Black studies here and we’re also supporting financially and committed to the exposure.”
Fontnette says UD’s Africana Studies program is already growing too, noting this past fall, an open house for students interested in a major or minor in Africana Studies produced a record turnout, around 30.
Fontnette comes from an HBCU background – receiving her bachelor's from Dillard and her Master's and Doctorate from Clark Atlanta University. In the second year of her doctorate program, she was recommended for the Keto Fellowship, a board position that provides leadership training to young scholars.
Fontnette taught at Spelman College and was an assistant principal at an Atlanta high school. Fontnette says her time in K-12 made her a better college professor, showing her how to make meaningful teaching moments as opposed to just delivering a lecture.
Even with an HBCU - Delaware State Univ. - just an hour down the road, Fontnette says the national council prefers its headquarters be at an institution where there is a board member. They also chose UD because its Department of Africana Studies is growing and for the overall student experience there.
“The experience of the students at UD is paving a way as an example of how education should be," Fontnette says. "It should be one of truth, it should be one of critical thought and theory, it should be one where all perspectives are taken into consideration and learned about and taught about.”
She says the national council is still supported by its founders and the annual conference draws 500 scholars from member institutions around the country.