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Recruitment, Retention (1975-1979)

Seeking Momentum for Recruitment and Retention (1975-1979)

The Afro-American Studies Program faced uncertainty in the late 1970s, experiencing turnover of several directors. Some expressed lack of support as a reason for leaving. In 1976, only two full-time African American faculty members taught in the College of Arts & Sciences. The Association of Black Faculty and Administrators and the Afro-American Association petitioned university administration to increase these numbers. 

Versus - Black on Vanderblanc

Clint Winstead. “A Fine Old Southern Institution (Blacks Need Not Apply?).” Versus, April 1978. Vanderbilt University Special Collections. 

Versus, a student-run campus magazine, reports Afro-American Studies Program director and Department of Sociology professor Clement Cottingham left his position after one year. This was one incident of recruitment and retention issues with African American faculty and students Vanderbilt faced.

[Robert C. Williams Letter to Alexander Heard]. December 21, 1978. Vanderbilt University Archives.

Professor Robert C. Williams, President of the Association of Black Faculty and Administrators and AASP director, writes Chancellor Alexander Heard expressing concern about the declining numbers of African American faculty, administrators, and students on campus.

Faculty Status

Peter Pratt, et al. [Full-Time, Full-Status Faculty Personnel at Vanderbilt University, 1976-1977]. Vanderbilt University Archives.

This chart shows Vanderbilt employed ten African American faculty members at the beginning of the 1976-1977 academic year. One faculty member resigned on December 31, 1976. Black faculty members created this document to demonstrate hiring and retention issues to campus administrators.