Program History | African American and African Diaspora Studies

Program History

The African American and African Diaspora Studies Program at UNCG (AADS) has grown from two classes in 1982 into a comprehensive interdisciplinary curriculum which now offers a major, minor, and graduate certificate.

Since 1982, the AADS Program has been central to UNCG’s goal to provide its increasingly diverse student population with an opportunity to study the cultures, histories, and experiences of the African World–from Africa, to the Americas, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean. Currently, we offer a Bachelor’s degree. 

Our Program’s professors are from various disciplinary backgrounds, including art history, sociology, English, Performance Studies, history and anthropology. Joined by faculty housed in UNCG departments, their multidisciplinary profiles allow our students to have an authentic interdisciplinary academic experience, which provides them with a foundation for graduate and professional studies in any field they choose to pursue. Our graduates receive entry into medical, law, and graduate schools and pursue careers in education, politics, management, healthcare, writing, performance, and law, among others.

We also strongly encourage our students to pursue disciplinary honors, study abroad, and internships. Many of our students engage in various leadership positions, including as AADS Ambassadors, ADS Club members, and community volunteers. The unique experience of an AADS major is to work one-on-one with ADS faculty as they develop their academic and professional profiles.

We provide multiple opportunities for UNCG students, faculty, staff, and interested community members to learn about people of Africa and of African descent throughout the world. Attend our annual conference (CACE), one of our Conversations with the Community, or one of our lectures.

Chronology of Program Development:

1982-83 Black studies offered as a “student-designed” minor.
1986 First offering of Black Studies Specific courses: BKS 100 Blacks in America; and BKS 110 Blacks in American Society: Social, Economic and Political Perspectives.
1990-91 Black studies introduced three experiemntal courses. BKS 200 Afro-American Art History; BKS 210 Afro-American Literature and Liberation; and BKS 220 The Portrayal of Afro-Americans in Art and Film.
1991-92 Additions to African American Studies Core Curriculum. BKS 200 was approved as a core program course and BKS 493 as an Honors course.
1992-93 The Black Studies Program changed its name to the African American Studies Program
Fall 2002 Began to offer bachelor’s degree in African American Studies
Fall 2009 Began to offer Post-Baccalaureate Graduate Certificate


Past directors: Dr. Lee Bernick, Dr. Ed Bell, Dr. Willie Baber, Dr. Angela Rhone, Dr. Frank Woods, Dr. Tara Green, Dr. Cerise L. Glenn
Current Director: Dr. Noelle Morrissette

See more AADS program history on Wikipedia