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Grand Valley State University    
2013-2014 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog 
  Jul 19, 2018
2013-2014 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

African/African American Studies - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Interdisciplinary Studies  section in this catalog.

Coordinator: Johnson; Professors: Cole, Tripp; Associate Professors: Alvarez, Buckridge, Corr, Green-Smith, McLeod, Stewart, Tucker, Yidana; Assistant Professors: Eaton, Flemming, Johnson, Moore, Tunstall.


In keeping with Grand Valley State University’s liberal education commitment, the African and African American Studies program administers an interdisciplinary minor whose goal is to academically prepare students for a better understanding of the variety and complexity of Africa, a deep appreciation of the African American experience and, more generally, an enriching knowledge of the various historical trajectories and contributions of the global African diaspora.

A minor in African and African American Studies is an ideal complement to many disciplinary majors. Two tracks or areas of emphasis are possible, allowing students to tailor the minor to their own interests and needs. Students can choose to minor either in track I (Africa) or in track II (African American).

Students minoring in African and African American Studies are encouraged to take full advantage of excellent study abroad opportunities available through GVSU partner institutions or COUNCIL programs. For more information, please consult the Padnos International Center or the program director. As a socially engaged discipline, African and African American studies, is committed to fostering social and civic engagement, particularly in Grand Rapids communities.

Career Opportunities

By providing a multidisciplinary and rigorous intellectual grounding both in an important world region (Africa) and a major U.S. ethnic group (African Americans), the minor represents an excellent academic and personal investment for students who intend to pursue career opportunities in a broad range of fields (e.g. sociology, anthropology, geography, political science, international relations, history, psychology, modern languages, business, social work, public and nonprofit administration, nursing, hospitality and tourism, education, health sciences, communications and criminal justice among others) as well as those who intend to go on to graduate school.

Student Organizations

Students are encouraged to participate in African, African American and international student organizations on campus and to engage the larger community. West Michigan is home to a sizeable African American community, as well as a growing number of new African immigrants. For information on community organizations, please consult the program director or visit

The following program is available:

African/African American Studies Minor