African and African Disapora Studies Department
African and African Disapora Studies Department

AADS Graduate Program

I. Overview

The graduate program in African and African Diaspora Studies (AADS) at UT is designed to provide students with the skills and perspectives necessary to engage in an interdisciplinary scholarly approach to examining the lives of people of African descent throughout Africa and the African Diaspora, publish scholarly work, engage in public and scholarly discourse on race and issues pertinent to the African Diaspora, and gain academic employment. Students will explore the political, cultural, social, economic, artistic, and intellectual processes of people of African descent, and the personal and public forces that impinge on their experiences. The curriculum offered is methodologically pluralistic, with a thematic and comparative approach that allows for a multi-layered understanding of Black experiences. The program’s objective is to provide students with the specialized knowledge in African and African Diaspora Studies (also commonly known as Africana, Black, African and African American, African and/or Black Diaspora Studies) necessary to pursue an academic career, conduct and publish scholarly research in this area or related fields outside of the academy, or gain employment in higher education administration and other related professional careers.

II. Graduate Program Teaching Rotation

AADS faculty is responsible for the development and delivery of instructional content. The teaching assignment of Core Courses (Theory I, Theory II, AADS Methods) is given first priority to the faculty who developed the courses. Next priority is given to 100% faculty members. Faculty teaching these courses will be allowed to teach them for two consecutive semesters. Once any faculty member has taught a Core Course, she or he will not be permitted to teach that course again until all eligible and interested faculty have had an opportunity to teach that course. For Supporting Required Courses (Humanities, Social Sciences, Fine Arts, African Diaspora), first priority is given to 100% faculty in each area so that one course in each area is offered each semester. Both 100% and 50% faculty members must submit course proposals according to the timeline determined by the AADS Course Scheduler, typically a year in advance of the course offering. Such proposals are reviewed by the Graduate Program Committee (GPC), which will select the graduate courses to be offered during the following academic year. All cross-listings proposed by 50% faculty members will be automatically approved. All other cross-listing proposals are considered on a case-by-case basis, and will be selected by the GPC according to supporting course needs and AADS course enrollment projections.

III. Faculty service appointments, committees, and chair role

a. Graduate Program Committee

The AADS Graduate Program Committee (GPC) composed of three faculty members and a committee chair and is responsible for making specific recommendations regarding the implementation and administration of the AADS graduate program, including degree requirements and departmental policies/procedures. This committee represents the Graduate Studies Committee and is formerly known as the Graduate Steering Committee.

i. Graduate Program Committee Chair Duties and Responsibilities

As of Fall 2017, the duties of the Graduate Program Committee Chair and the Graduate Advisor will be appointed to one person. The AADS Graduate Program Committee Chair provides leadership to the GPC and serves as the principal point of contact to the Office of Graduate Studies. The GPC Chair is appointed by Department Chair and serves a term of 3 years. The GPC Chair relays the following recommendations to the Department Chair, the Graduate Studies Committee and subsequently the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies:

  • 1. Creation of new graduate courses and changes to graduate course inventory
  • 2. Annual admissions and enrollment goals
  • 3. Degree plan (program of work) requirements
  • 4. Recommendation of students for admission to candidacy
  • 5. Design of departmental comprehensive examination and graduation requirements
ii. Graduate Advisor duties and responsibilities

The Graduate Advisor is Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee, designated to administer the graduate program. The Graduate Advisor advises students in matters pertaining to graduate study including:

  • 1. Course registration, including adds and drops
  • 2. Admissions and degree requirements
  • 3. Fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships
  • 4. Degree progress

The Graduate Advisor is also responsible for maintaining graduate student records, certifying degree requirements for graduation and serves as a liaison to the Graduate School.

b. Graduate Admissions Committee duties and responsibilities

The Graduate Admissions Committee (GAC), a subcommittee of the Graduate Program Committee, is responsible for the admission of new students to the AADS graduate program. The GAC consists of a chair appointed by the Department chair.

i. Graduate Admissions Committee Chair duties and responsibilities

The Graduate Admissions Committee Chair is appointed by the AADS department chair and provides leadership to the GAC. The Chair supervises the GAC as they meet to review applications and make admissions selections. Recruitment fellowship allocations are also within the GAC Chair’s purview. The Chair works with the Graduate Coordinator to plan and host Recruitment Weekend, held in the early spring.