Though some research has suggested that the number of African-American studies programs at universities is declining, a new study says these programs are growing — and UNC-system schools are looking to continue that trend.
A national survey published last month by the University of Illinois found that 76 percent of the nearly 1,800 universities surveyed had some form of black studies programs or departments.
In North Carolina, only two UNC-system schools — UNC-CH and UNC-Charlotte — have an independent African-American studies department, said Akin Ogundiran, department chairman of UNC-C’s Africana studies program.
But most of the 16 system universities have some type of black studies program, and many are looking to expand.
“Understanding race is essential to understanding North Carolina in all parts of history in the state,” said Kenneth Janken, director of undergraduate studies and department honors at UNC-CH’s Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies.