Search for director narrowed

Tracy Deutmeyer

Three finalists for Iowa State’s director of African-American Studies have been chosen.

“We have a terrific set of finalists for the position,” said Elizabeth Hoffman, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The finalists are: J. Herman Blake, vice chancellor for undergraduate education and professor of sociology, anthropology and education at Indiana University in Indianapolis; Christopher A. Brooks, associate professor of music at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond; and Carlyle D. Johnson, head of the department of art at Middle Tennessee University in Murfreesboro.

Zora Zimmerman, associate dean of the College of LAS, said ISU officials hope to have the director selected by the end of the academic year.

Hoffman said that, ideally, the new director will begin work in the fall, but she said she would be “willing to be flexible to get the very best person.”

Hoffman said officials hope to hire more faculty members for the program after a director is selected.

She said she will also encourage the director and his or her staff to build “a curriculum that might lead to an African-American studies major in four to five years.”

She said she hopes the director will invite speakers to campus so the program can “integrate academics with student life aspects.”

Hoffman said advertisements were placed in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Blacks in Higher Education and other disciplinary and African-American journals.

Valerie Grim, interim director of the program, attended a number of conferences to invite applicants for the position.

She said university officials also sent letters to chairs of every African-American studies program in the country.

Hoffman said each finalist will visit campus and meet with the public during a one-hour forum. She encouraged students to “find a few minutes” to attend the forums.

Johnson’s open forum will be today at 4 p.m. in Room 511 of Ross Hall. The dates and times of the other forums have not been set.