Grim chosen to direct AASP

Tara Deering

After a year-long search and a recruitment process, the African American Studies Program has a new temporary director: Valerie Grim.

The Black Student Alliance introduced the new director to the students at its Monday night meeting. There were about 70 people in attendance to listen to and meet Grim.

Elizabeth Hoffman, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Derrick Rollins, diversity adviser to President Martin Jischke’s cabinet, were present at the meeting.

Iowa State, Hoffman said, has not hired as many faculty members as it would have liked for the African American Studies Program. As for looking for a director for the program, Hoffman said, “we went for the very best.”

“We ended up with four candidates,” Hoffman said.

Grim was assistant professor of the African American Studies Program at Indiana State University since earning her Ph.D. from Iowa State.

“My vision involves making our program a strong academic program,” Grim said. “I really think African American Studies is a kind of discipline.”

Student involvement was stressed by Grim to help make the program the best it can be. “Our initial vision is to do some programming,” she said. “We will be inviting you to a number of activities so that we can hear your voice.”

One program that has already been established is the Cross-Cultural Lecture Series. The series will cover various areas of specialization including culture, music, dance, communication, media, sports, politics, science, language, crime, literature and religion.

Each semester the African American Studies Program will have a speaker come to campus and speak about one of the areas of specialization. The purpose of the series is for students to be introduced to distinguished scholars of the African American experience.

“The way to move forward is to have a strong academic background,” Grim said.

Grim said she also plans to work with residents in the residence halls.

Even though Grim is only filling the position as African American Studies Program director temporarily, Associate Professor Derrick Rollins said he doesn’t see Iowa State experiencing any loss by not hiring a more permanent director.

“She’s [Grim] been working hard,” Rollins said. “She not a permanent director, but she treating it as she is.”

“We’re very fortunate to have her here,” Rollins said.