All You Need To Know About The Black Studies Minor


Toron James, Staff Writer


Kerrie DeVries, who is an Assistant Professor of Psychology, and Ralph Godbolt, who is the director of Diversity and Outreach Initiatives within the DEI division, had the same vision. DeVries and Godbolt first met while working on a committee here at Bloomsburg University where they were assigned to work on a diversity unit. They were randomly assigned to the same committee. The two then realized that they had the same goals to introduce more race-based courses to the curriculum at the university. 

DeVries and Godbolt then went on to put together a committee. The committee was made up of a group of alumni, administrators, and faculty. The very diverse committee got right to work. In the committee, they started working on the Black Studies minor as well as the  Antiracism course that is now offered at Bloomsburg University. 

In Fall of 2021, the hard work started paying off when Bloomsburg University introduced an anti-racism course. DeVries and Godbolt started to work on the minor as the anti-racism course got approved. 

Controversy erupted last spring when the minor made it through the curriculum approval process, but did not get the final signature to be approved. Because of that students protest. The curriculum won’t be approved until Fall 2023 but students are able to take classes right now that counts toward the minor. 

The Black Studies Minor uses an interdisciplinary approach to analyze historical and current issues of people of African descent in the United States. The minor affords students the opportunity to explore multiple academic disciplines through the lens of the Black experience and consider personal views about race and racism using anti Black racism as framework for understanding. 

DeVries thinks this minor is very important.

“It’s a very valuable area curriculum that the university doesn’t have enough of,” said DeVries. “It’s important for students of color to have a curriculum that’s relevant to their experience that they can personally grow from,” stated DeVries.

It’s valuable for all students, and DeVries added that it is also  “valuable for black students to get a greater understanding and be empowered but also important for white students so they can understand the black experience more as well.”. 

DeVries knows this minor could help all students as well for future employment because it’s a great resume builder. 

There are six required classes for the Black Studies Minor. They include antiracism, black studies, a topic course and three other electives related to black experience. 

The minor is going through the integrated curriculum approval process right now, so it cannot be declared until next year. 

 Seventeen students are in the pipeline and taking the required courses to declare Black Studies as their minor at the University.