Structure and Organization

The Department is organized in keeping with official policies governing the conduct and administration of the University and the College of Arts and Sciences.  The Department consists of its Chairperson, its administrative support staff and its regular full-time faculty, as well as adjunct, part-time and emeritus faculty (see Appendix A). 

Position descriptions for individuals in each of the aforementioned categories follow:

  1. Department Administration

    1. Chairperson

      The Chairperson is a full-time faculty member and is the administrative officer of the Department and, thus, is directly accountable to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  The Chairperson is charged with bringing the vision of the department and its faculty forward, through support of effective implementation of policy and programming.  The Chairperson is responsible for assuring the recording, maintaining and implementing the department’s aims and objectives and the policies and procedures contained in the department Handbook.  He or she is also responsible for insuring that such policies, objectives and procedures are in conformity with the University Policy Register and the Collective Bargaining Agreements.  The Chairperson shall be an ex-officio non-voting member of the Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC), and as such shall be charged with the responsibility and authority to represent the Department in Collegial and University matters.  The Chairperson is also expected to be cognizant of and receptive to the advice of the available Department faculty before making decisions and/or recommendations to a higher academic officer.

      In addition to the University Job description for Chairperson, Academic Department, the duties and responsibilities of the Chair include:

      1. Teaches three semester credit hours per academic year.  The Chair may supervise the African American Affairs Practicum and/or coordinates all Individual Investigation faculty assignments;
      2. Works closely with the Directors of the Institute for African American Affairs, the Center of Pan-African Culture, Communication Skills and Arts to assure a full scope of holistic academic and cultural programming. 
      3. Enforces University regulations;
      4. Encourages and supports faculty in pursuing their pedagogical goals;
      5. With appropriate consultation, develops and carries out administrative and educational policies in the Department;
      6. Recommends new staff appointments to the Dean and recommends the promotion and/or tenure of members of the Department who are eligible and qualified;
      7. Recommends, with documentation, the severance of individuals deemed not worthy of permanent appointment;
      8. Hires and directs the non-academic staff of the Department;
      9. Recommends leaves of absence;
      10. Supplies prompt notification to the offices of the Dean of faculty absenteeism or faculty and staff resignations;
      11. Recommends course changes proposed by DPAS/FAC’s curriculum committee or through the appropriate Dean;
      12. Distributes teaching assignments, schedules class hours and rooms, and prepares and submits reports to appropriate University officials;
      13. Maintains custody of University property charged to the Department;
      14. Maintains effective work relationships with PAS faculty assigned to any of the Regional Campuses;


    2. Assistant Chairperson

      On an annual basis, during spring semester, the FAC will recommend to the Department Chairperson a full-time tenured faculty member who will serve as Assistant Chairperson for 9.  This person teaches no fewer than 18 credit hours per academic year unless under dire and/or extenuating circumstances.  His or her duties include, but may not be limited to, the coordination, development and maintenance of records of majors; advising scheduling; and course modifications and substitutions recommended by the Curriculum Committee.  This individual assists the Chair in implementing and monitoring the minor programs, coordination of the undergraduate program overall, and the DPAS presence at all campuses of Kent State.  This person assists in reviewing requests from faculty, and monitoring output and productivity of the various centers and institutes in the Department.  The Assistant Chair will support the Chairperson in the collection of data for required reports and proposals for grants.  With the Dean's approval, in the Chairperson’s absence, the Assistant Chairperson becomes the Acting Chairperson.

    3. Director, Institute for African American Affairs (IAAA)

      The IAAA Director is a 9-month faculty position that includes teaching responsibilities. This position can be held by either a TT or NTT Faculty member. The IAAA Director works with the Chair, faculty and students to maintain the necessary research infrastructure to advance the research mission of the Department. The Director serves as a liaison with other educational bodies both at Kent State and beyond, and may oversee publication of The African American Monograph Series and KITABU, the IAAA newsletter.  The Director oversees management of the Henry Dumas Memorial Library, which houses materials related to the Pan-African experience and coordinates the Biennial Africa and the Global Atlantic World Conference.  S/he is expected to manage the IAAA budget, report at regular unit meetings, and submit annual reports. The Director receives up to 9 credit hours teaching release per academic year unless there are dire and/or extenuating circumstances or  with permission from the Dean. 

    4. Director, Center of Pan-African Culture (CPAC)

      The CPAC Director is a 9-month faculty position that includes teaching responsibilities and management of the Center’s facilities. This position can be held by either a TT or NTT Faculty member. The Director is responsible for planning, coordinating and directing activities, which provide students and the Pan-African community at large with opportunities to develop projects, performances and exhibits promoting cultural and arts awareness.  The Director identifies artists and other public figures to be invited to Departmental events , guest lectures, the annual Pan-African Festival.   He or she also negotiates fees for such artists and public figures, handles all arrangements for their appearance on campus, provides promotional materials and publishes a calendar of events.  The Director works in cooperation with the Curator of the Gallery for exhibitions and with the IAAA Director for the scheduling of speakers on scholarly topics. The Director acts as a resource to address student success; interfaces and partners with various units including the University College, the Center for Student Involvement and Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives that are focused on student success and retention. The Director serves as advisor to the CPAC Student Advisory Council, collaborates with Black United Students (BUS) and other student organizations to support the intellectual, cultural and social efforts of students

      The Department may provide the Director with a graduate assistant. S/he is expected to manage the CPAC budget, report at regular Unit meetings, and to submit annual reports. The Director receives up to 12 credit hours teaching release per academic year unless there are dire and/or extenuating circumstances or with permission from the Dean. 

    5. Curator, Uumbaji Gallery

      This position can be held by either a TT or NTT Faculty member. In conjunction with the CPAC Director, the Curator is responsible for the management of the Gallery, its exhibits and its permanent collections. He or she is responsible for a minimum of four exhibits per academic year or the equivalent. The Curator selects the artists and assists with internal and/or external funding opportunities for exhibition costs and coordinates with other units with regards to publicity and a calendar for exhibits. S/he is expected to manage the gallery budget, report at regular unit meetings, and submit annual reports. The curator receives up to 6 credit hours teaching release per academic year unless there are dire and/or extenuating circumstances or with permission from the Dean.

    6. Director, Communications Skills and Arts Division (CSA)

      This is a 9-month faculty position within the Department of Pan-African Studies which may be held by either a TT or an NTT faculty member. The Director should have a thorough understanding of linguistic and grammatical principles, as he/she oversees programs related to communication skills and arts. A permanent member of the English Department Writing Program Committee, the Director will have a joint appointment in Pan-African Studies and English. S/he is responsible for the selection and supervision of all faculty members who teach in the Department’s College Writing Program and those who work in the Department’s Help Center/Computer lab.  Working in consultation with the faculty, the Director advises DPAS/Writing Program faculty on the direction and content of the DPAS/College Writing classes. He/she may also oversee student publications, assist with the editing of Department materials as needed and oversees the DPAS scholarships for majors and minors as well as the Kim Todd-White Scholarship. The Director reports at regular Unit meetings and submits an annual report. The Director receives up to 12 credit hours teaching release per academic year unless there are dire and/or extenuating circumstances or with permission from the Dean.

    7. Theatre Director, African Community Theatre (ACT)

      This is a 9-month faculty position within the Department of Pan-African Studies which can be held by either a TT or an NTT Faculty member. The Director for the African Community is responsible for creating and developing the ACT theatre programming, including the training of students in theatre productions. S/he is also responsible for creating and/or the development of theatre workshops, community outreach, and events to develop new audiences, and for providing opportunities for creative outlets for the local and Kent State University communities. S/he will oversee the general management of the theatre, including schedules, and rehearsals. The Director is also expected to manage production budgets, report at regular Unit meetings, and to submit annual reports. The Director receives up to 12 credit hours teaching release per academic year unless there are dire and/or extenuating circumstances or with permission from the Dean.

      In all instances, the needs of the Department and the decision of the Chair in consultation with the Dean will take precedence in the above course releases and are contingent on the ability of the department to meet teaching/staffing needs. 

  2. Departmental Committees

    1. Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC)

      The Department’s Faculty Advisory Committee is comprised of all full-time tenured or tenure-track (TT) faculty and one representative of the full-time non-tenure-track (NTT) faculty members to be selected by the FAC, plus the Department Chairperson.  The Chair of FAC normally shall determine those agenda items or, in certain instances, meetings which may be inappropriate for attendance by committee members who are not full-time TT faculty.  In all cases, NTT faculty shall neither be present for discussions of nor vote on personnel issues concerning TT faculty.  A representative (or representatives in such number as established by the College Handbook) to the College Advisory Committee (CAC) shall be elected bi-annually from the full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty.  In order for this position to rotate among eligible FAC members, this person should serve for two consecutive years, subject to possible reappointment.  The Chairperson of the Faculty Advisory Committee shall be a tenured full-time faculty member.  All FAC Committee meetings should be held separately from the general departmental meetings.

      The entire regular full-time faculty of the Department, acting on its own behalf and/or through the Faculty Advisory Committee, is the primary advisory and recommendatory body to the Departmental Chairperson on those matters central to the Department’s mission, which include but are not necessarily limited to the following:

      college-level issues including reappointment, tenure, promotion and dismissal; allocation or re-allocation of faculty positions and academic staff positions within the Department; the proposed addition, elimination or restructuring of academic units within the Department; general guidelines regarding allocation of faculty salary increases from the Dean's salary increase pool, as well as other salary adjustments when and if applicable; planning and budget priorities, including allocation of discretionary resources; selection of faculty members for college committees; professional improvement and other leaves, if and as appropriate; procedures for the establishment, review and appropriate revision of the Department Handbook; college-level issues related to the advising and retention of students; insuring that students are properly advised; insuring that instructional standards are followed; and insuring that class and other duties of faculty members are met.  It is expected that the Departmental faculty will also participate in the activities of a variety of other standing and/or ad hoc committees.  Enforcements and sanctions of this policy are spelled out in the CBA document.  This Committee also serves as the Student Grievance Committee.

    2. Ad Hoc Reappointment, Tenure and Promotion Sub-Committee

      The Department Chairperson presides over this Sub-Committee of the Faculty Advisory Committee which is composed exclusively of members of the tenured faculty.  Owing to the small size of the Department, this committee has been constituted as the Committee of the Whole, i.e., all tenured full-time members of the Department.

      All recommendations concerning reappointment, tenure and promotion are initiated in the Sub-Committee.  No member of this Sub-Committee shall be present when the Sub-Committee deliberates or votes on his or her own tenure or promotion, nor shall a member of the Sub-Committee of a lower rank deliberate or vote on the tenure or promotion of a faculty member in a higher rank or of a spouse or relative.

      This Sub-Committee requires the participation of at least four tenured faculty other than the Chair.  Whenever PAS cannot meet these requirements with PAS faculty, the PAS Chair, in consultation with the Dean, shall invite the necessary number of faculty from other departments, whose teaching specialties and prior involvements are in accordance with the teaching/research area of the faculty member being reviewed, to sit on this Sub-Committee.

    3. Curriculum Committee

      The Curriculum Committee shall be composed of all full-time TT and full-time NTT faculty. The Chair of the Curriculum Committee will be appointed by the FAC yearly and will serve as the Department’s representative to the College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee. Upon vote of the faculty, a number of graduate assistants and Department’s majors and minors may be selected to become members of this Committee.  The Curriculum Committee is the primary advisory and recommendatory body to the Departmental Chairperson on those academic matters which are central to the Department’s mission. These matters include but are not necessarily limited to the following: 

      • long-range academic planning for the Department; overall curricular planning and policies;
      • minimizing proliferation and duplication of courses;
      • sequencing of course offerings; maximizing course variety through Special Topics and workshop offerings;
      • coordination of curricular changes;
      • reviewing for approval proposed new courses or altered academic programs within the Department;
      • recommending to the Chairperson action on all matters involving the Department’s curriculum and educational objectives as reflected by the curriculum.


    4. Program Continuity Committee (also referred to as Unit Meetings)

      In order to assure the holistic coordination and continuity of Department programs, the Program Continuity Committee meets regularly and is composed of the Chair or the Assistant to the Chairperson, the Directors of the Center of Pan-African Culture, Institute for African American Affairs, the African Community Theatre and Communication Skills and Arts. Membership may also include the Curator of the Uumbaji Gallery. This committee coordinates all DPAS programming and each unit member provides regular updates outlining each division’s planned activities for the month/semester/year and highlights where each or selected DPAS divisions can collaborate in the holistic planning and delivery of activities

    5. Honors and Awards Sub-Committee

      The PAS Honors and Awards Sub-Committee, selected annually from the faculty, staff and students by the Chairperson of the Curriculum Committee, shall consist of a Chair and two or three other members.  It shall be the responsibility of this Committee to compile during Spring Semester a list of eligible candidates to receive any of the four department awards based on established criteria: GPA, class standing, performance in PAS courses and significance of contribution in the respective award categories.  Induction into Alpha Kappa Mu, a National Scholastic Honor Society, is based on criteria established by the National Office and the selection process is determined by the advisor and the chapter president.  Awards include

      1. Alpha Kappa Mu National Scholastic Honor Society
      2. The Mary McLeod Bethune Award for Scholarship
      3. The Fela Sowande Award for Creativity
      4. The W. E. B. DuBois Award for Service
      5. The Hulda Smith-Graham Freshman Award

      The Sub-Committee supervises the preparation of the appropriate documents as well as the award certificates to be presented.

      The DPAS Honors and Awards Sub-Committee completes the arrangements necessary for presenting awards to recipients of the Hulda Smith-Graham Freshman Award and the initiates in Alpha Kappa Mu. Each year a special Alpha Kappa Mu initiation ceremony and Hulda Smith-Graham Award presentation is held in cooperation with Black United Students’ Ebony Achievement Awards Ceremony.  (See also Section VII, L, 1.)

    6. Black Experience Committee

      The Black Experience Committee is the primary advisory and recommendatory body to the Departmental Chairperson on matters dealing with the Black Experience courses. This Committee works very closely with the Curriculum Committee in making long- range academic decisions for the Black Experience courses, including selection of texts and other matters related to these courses.  Members of this committee will be chosen from both tenured (tenure-track) and non-tenure track faculty who teach the Black Experience courses.  The chair will be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member and will be appointed by FAC annually.

    7. Handbook Oversight Committee

      The Handbook Oversight Committee is the primary advisory and recommendatory body to the Departmental Chairperson on matters dealing with the interpretation and implementation of the content of the Handbook.  Members of this committee will make sure that the content and intent are adhered to.  Members of this committee will be chosen by the FAC from tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty. A tenured or tenure-track faculty, will serve as chair and will be appointed by FAC annually.

  3. Divisions and Programs

    1. Institute for African American Affairs (IAAA)

      The IAAA was established in 1969 as a result of protests by Black United Students (BUS). This committee assumes responsibility for assisting collaborative research and program development and implementation, as well as establishing programmatic relationships with various bodies in and surrounding Kent State University.  The IAAA also publishes Kitabu and The African American Affairs Monograph Series, which reports the results of IAAA and related research. 

    2. The Center of Pan-African Culture (CPAC)

      Recognizing that the cultural contributions of blacks have been too long ignored in our society, CPAC, created in 1970, promotes the cultural traditions of Pan-African peoples.  It provides opportunities and facilities for the exposition of art forms—painting, sculpture, oral and written literature, poetry, music, dance, theatre—as well as other cultural modes of expression that define people of African descent.  Its mission is to complement the academic activities of the Department and to provide a living manifestation of the past and present cultural lives of people in the Pan-African world.

    3. The Communications Skill and Arts Division (CSA)

      CSA came into existence in 1971 as a joint effort of the Department of Pan-African Studies and the Department of English.  Its purpose is to maintain the PAS College Writing program in order to effectively fulfill specific instructional needs of a predominantly African American constituency.  The content of the CSA courses is intended to teach critical thinking and impart the writing skills necessary for academic success, while addressing specific issues in the Pan-African experience.  Since the traditional College Writing classes can not be expected to tailor their content to this experience, CSA seeks to help eliminate those linguistic as well as cultural barriers which black students may encounter at a predominantly white institution.

    4. The African Community Theatre (ACT)

      ACT promotes exposure to and knowledge of the theatrical heritage of peoples of African descent and encourages the participation of students and area residents in the production of Pan-African theatre events.  Black theatre came into existence with the advent of the IAAA (now the Department of Pan-African Studies) in 169-70 and the development of the Black Drama Workshop (1973) .  In 1981, the workshop took a new direction and evolved into a major theatrical component of DPAS which is now referred to as the African Community Theatre.

    5. Special Curricular Programs and Facilities

      1. The Pan-African Festival

        The purpose of the Pan-African Festival, usually held in late April/early May, is to provide a week-long or weekend experience that can be shared by all on the Kent State University campus and in the surrounding communities.  The Festival affirms our common heritage and determination to continue to educate ourselves.  The Festival is planned and executed by the Center of Pan-African Culture in collaboration with the Black United Students, campus organizations and community residents.

      2. The Henry Dumas Resource Center

        This is a departmental research library and reading room for faculty, staff, students and community.  It was named after Henry Dumas, an African American poet and short-story writer.  Henry Dumas (July 20, 1934-May 23, 1968) was a brilliant African American writer and poet.  Dumas was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas in 1934 and he lived there until the age of ten, when he moved to New York City; however, he always kept with him the religious and folk traditions of his hometown.  In Harlem, he attended public school and graduated from Commerce High School in 1953.  After graduating, he enrolled in the Air Force and was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas where he met future wife, Loretta Ponton.  The couple married in 1955 and had two sons, David in 1958 and Michael in 1962.  Dumas was in the military until 1957, at which time he enrolled at Rutgers University but never attained a degree.  In 1967, Dumas began work at Southern Illinois University’s Experiment in Higher Education in East St. Louis.   At EHE, Dumas was a teacher and counselor.  It was  here that he  met fellow teacher and poet, Eugene Redmond, forming a close collaborative relationship that would prove so integral to Dumas’ posthumous career.

      3. Departmental Publications

        The Department, through the IAAA, publishes its monthly newsletter KITABU which circulated nationally.  The African American Affairs Monograph Series projected to become a referred scholarly journal, published each spring semester.  Even though KITABU has an internal-use value, IAAA seeks to print articles and announcements of value to a general audience as well.  The Department encourages faculty, staff and graduate and undergraduate students to submit articles, creative writings, reviews, etc. to either of these publications.