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In the News: WBFO Spotlights Africana Studies Program, PRODI-G Hires

In the News: WBFO Spotlights Africana Studies Program, PRODI-G Hires

Posted: October 4, 2019

Three new members of the Buffalo State faculty—Cameron Herman, assistant professor of sociology, John Torrey assistant professor of philosophy, and Marcus Watson, assistant professor of individualized studies and Africana studies—were featured in a Morning Edition segment on National Public Radio affiliate WBFO on October 3.

The story focused on the revival of Buffalo State’s Africana studies program and the new hires under SUNY’s initiative Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Growth (PRODI-G), which aims to roughly double the percentage of faculty within “underrepresented groups”—up to 1,000 faculty members or 8.5 percent—within the next decade.

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson announced the PRODI-G program in January. Buffalo State is the first SUNY campus to receive PRODI-G salary support, and still has funding for two more hires.

WBFO Reporter Kyle Mackie interviewed Herman, Torrey, and Watson, along with Kenneth Orosz, Africana Studies program coordinator and professor of history. Orosz discussed how he got involved with the Africana studies minor when he joined Buffalo State in 2008. Since then, there’s been growing demand from students for greater diversity in terms of both faculty and program offerings. The New York State Education Department approved the new multidisciplinary bachelor of arts degree in August.

Mackie also visited Watson’s Introduction to Africana Studies class and spoke with some of the students. Watson said, “When I look out at the students, I see myself. And I don’t mean in the literal sense of black students. I mean all the students, the diversity of students. This is where I grew up [in Buffalo] in a very diverse albeit segregated community.”

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