In the Spring 2021, Carolyn Springer, PhD, associate professor of psychology, was named the new director of the Center for African, Black and Caribbean Studies (CABCS). Here, she tells us how her background as a social psychologist applies to her new role, her upcoming plans for the center and future events we can all look forward to attending.
Congratulations on Your New Role as Director of the Center for African, Black and Caribbean Studies! Can You Tell Us a Bit About the Center?
The Center for African, Black and Caribbean Studies serves a dual role on campus. Our interdisciplinary program offers academic courses in the humanities, social sciences and the arts about African, Black and Caribbean people. In addition, the center also hosts cultural events to increase awareness of the contributions of Black scholars and artists to the United States and the world.
Tell As a Bit About Your Background and the Perspectives You Bring to This Role.
As an applied social psychologist, I am interested in how micro- and macro-level factors interact to impact the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities. I have over 25 years of experience evaluating educational and health programs, and I conduct research on issues impacting women and low-income and minority populations. My experiences as an educator and researcher have underscored for me the role of social and political forces in shaping behavior; how our intersecting identities shape our view of the world; the critical need to include diverse voices and perspectives in addressing issues; and the importance of collaboration and coalition building in advocating for equity and bringing about social change.
How Would You Like to Partner with Other Units on Campus? What Kinds of Collaborative Experiences Do You Envision?
I would like to partner with other units on campus to develop interdisciplinary courses that provide students with the opportunities to be exposed to the knowledge and scholarship of diverse voices when they are learning the theories and practices of their respective academic disciplines. Learning also occurs outside of the classroom, so continuing to provide enriching cultural events is also a goal.
What Kinds of Insights Will a Student Expect to Obtain from Taking a Course in African, Black and Caribbean Studies and/or Participating in the African, Black and Caribbean Studies Minor?
I hope that through taking African, Black and Caribbean Studies courses or by becoming a minor that students will increase their awareness and knowledge of people of African descent; hone their skills in critical thinking, perspective taking and problem-solving; and develop a better understanding of themselves, their relationships with others and with the communities they interact with.
What Events Are Upcoming For the CABCS and Where Can We Learn More About Them?
Through its partnerships with departments, programs and organizations, both on and off campus, the center is able to present a variety of events during the academic year. These include two scholarly lectures: the James Baldwin Distinguished Lecture on Literary and Social Criticism and the John Hope Franklin Distinguished Lecture. Several events are convened during Black History Month, including an annual art exhibit and a reading of African American literature. The center supports two student-led events: Black Solidarity Day and the Kwanzaa celebration. Student achievements are honored in a scholastic awards ceremony held in the spring. For the past several years, the center has also sponsored a reading and discussion circle on the humanities, in which members explore the literary contributions of Black writers. Information about these events can be found on Adelphi’s website, on the eCampus banner system, campus bulletin boards and by contacting the center or the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion.