The Black Lives Matters movement is on the rise in the US.
As a result, the Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE) in Philadelphia has decided to add a Black Studies section to its faculty roster.
“I thought that it would be an important piece to add to our curriculum because, for me, a lot of our students are Black, and I think a lot are students of color,” said CSHE Director of African American Studies Mary E. Gannon.
The CSHE is a public university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
It is a member of the Black Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania and is affiliated with the University’s College of Arts and Sciences.
CSHE is now the first university in the country to add the Black History and Black Studies department to its curriculum.
It will be the first African American and/or Black Studies course at a major university.
Gannon said that she did not want the Black students of Color program to “take over the black studies curriculum”.
“We want to be a school that is inclusive and we want to make sure that our students feel safe, they feel welcomed and they feel valued, so I’m not surprised that this was included in the curriculum,” she said.
Black students in the United States make up about 1% of the US population.
There are approximately 20 Black colleges and universities in the U.S. The CSHE has a Black faculty and over 300 students of African descent.
For Black students to be included in a university’s Black Studies curriculum, Gannon said, it would have to be approved by the university.
The curriculum is approved by faculty and students, but the university has to approve the inclusion of the course in its own curriculum.
“So for us to have it on the faculty, I think that’s really important,” she told Al Jazeera.
According to the College Board, only about 30% of Black students in America are in college.
In 2014, Black students made up only 2.8% of all students in public universities.
A 2013 report by the NAACP said that there was a large racial and gender gap in higher education and that black students were disproportionately impacted by the lack of access to higher education.
‘We want them to be in the classroom’At CSHE, the inclusion has been a long time coming.
As the school was founded in 1871, it was founded to educate Black people and the Black community.
Over the years, the school has become a model for the rest of the country, where it has become one of the nation’s most diverse institutions.
At the same time, the CSHE and the rest the Black and African American communities have suffered discrimination in the workplace, housing and education.
“There is this whole narrative about the Black life and the African life being separate and not as meaningful,” said Gannon, who has been at CSHE for 16 years.
One of the first issues that she faced as an African American student was when she applied for a job interview.
“The application said ‘we do not hire African Americans for any job, period.
I was like, ‘what are you saying?'”
Gannon told Aljazeera.
After she was rejected, she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
She was told that her application was denied because she was a Black woman.
“[I said] because of my skin color, I don’t fit into that category of someone who fits into that stereotype,” she recalled.
That is why, she said, she was upset that she applied again.
On a recent Saturday, CSHE students sat in a circle outside the CSH Office to learn about the new addition to the Black studies program.
During the first week of classes, students were allowed to use the black space to discuss the issues that they were working on.
But there was no discussion about the discrimination that Black people have faced.
When Gannon was asked why she wanted the Black Students and Teachers section to be added to the curriculum, she answered that it is important to add more resources to students.
Casting a wide net for more resources means that Black students are more likely to be accepted to college, she explained.
And the inclusion in the course, Gannan said, is a positive move for students.
“I think that a lot more Black students, if they want to go into higher education they have to think about the fact that we want them in the classrooms.
We want them there, and that means we want their voices heard.”
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