A Black arts institute – a place for intellectual study, a think tank for students of color with creative talents, a spot for senior faculty members and the Black community to mentor students, and a forum for synthesizing African American studies and the arts – was the brainchild of CSUF Associate Professor Natalie Graham.
Her vision recently became reality, as the university’s Planning, Resource and Budget Committee approved the Institute of Black Intellectual Innovation.
“Our goal is to see students and faculty fellows collaboratively conducting research, centered on assessing and dismantling persistent legacies of institutional, anti-Black racism in higher education,” says Graham, who teaches African American studies. “I see CSUF as a place for Black intellectual development. That’s what we can be known for — increasing achievement. I want people to understand that there’s something happening here. I think developing a cultural, intellectual space is a great step in that direction.”
Graham’s initiative is already attracting support, and Sheryl Fontaine, dean of the CSUF College of Humanities and Social Sciences, has reached out to donors for support. Howard Seller, professor emeritus of English, quickly donated $35,000 to support the institute’s development.
A central space for the institute will be located in the Pollak Library, where Graham envisions an open meeting area for students and faculty, which could also be used for lectures and small events.
Read more in this CSUF News article.