The Department of Pan-African Studies exists to serve a vital need both within the Kent State University community and beyond. It offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate major leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree, which covers the full spectrum of the Pan-African experience, with emphasis on excellence in teaching and research. The major and minor in Pan-African Studies are structured on a holistic and interdisciplinary approach, which provides in-depth exposure to history, culture, language, philosophy, education, literature, sociology, creative and performing arts, music, community development and other disciplines as they relate to peoples of African descent everywhere.
In addition, the Department seeks to meet the educational needs of students who want to engage in rigorous scholarship about Peoples of African descent, First Nation Peoples, Latinx Peoples and other Communities of Color. Thus, it has a strong outreach component through programs and events sponsored by the Institute for African American Affairs (IAAA), the Center of Pan-African Culture (CPAC), the Communication Skills and Arts Division (CSA), and the African Community Theatre (ACT), as well as through various courses, workshops and liaisons with other organizations and units across campus. The Department seeks to administer consistently several programs specifically designed to serve students-of-color as well as the general student population of Northeastern Ohio and beyond.
The Department of Pan-African Studies acknowledges the following pedagogical imperatives:
- To develop a holistic educational approach which integrates various areas of knowledge and to establish viable working relationships with related University departments and programs;
- To adhere to a structure allowing the Department and its students to become involved in real-world educational experiences designed in part to increase the contact time each faculty or staff member spends with individual or groups of students;
- To view people in the international African community as cohort communities and to create opportunities (internships, field trips, foreign travel, study and work programs, etc.) that allow students to learn by doing;
- To fashion activities that encourage students and their families to come together to address issues informing African and African American family life and to celebrate the family as the foundation of a healthy community;
- To establish for faculty, staff and students high standards in teaching, learning, language competence, research and publication, community and university service, and citizenship in a complex world;
- To foster qualities that are prerequisite for personal fulfillment, career success, and responsible citizenship in a culturally diverse, rapidly changing and increasingly global society;
- To evaluate the Department’s goals, mission and effectiveness on a regular basis;
- To promote excellence in academic and scholarly work among students and faculty in the Pan-African World;
- To promote excellence and creativity in the Kent Pan-African community and elsewhere in Ohio and abroad through the DPAS Cultural Center and its programming.