Professor Rojo Robles
One of the BLS major’s newly inaugurated, full-time faculty members, Professor Rojo Robles, PhD, was recently selected as a 2022 Summer Faculty Fellow for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute for Higher Education.

Baruch Launches Black and Latino Studies Major

For decades, Baruch College students who have wanted to concentrate in Black and Latino studies (BLS) have resorted to building an ad hoc major, often relying on faculty scattered across a range of academic departments. Now, in response to increasing demand for an expanded ethnic studies curriculum, the College announced that starting in the 2022–23 academic year, students can formally major in Black and Latino studies as it becomes an official degree program within Baruch’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences.

The innovative degree track, led by Professor Shelly Eversley, PhD, adds five full-time faculty members and breaks new ground by answering the call for a 21st-century approach to race and ethnic studies—combining an explicitly antiracist, transdisciplinary pedagogy with an emphasis on skills that will serve students no matter where life takes them.

“All careers need problem solvers and critical thinkers,” says Dr. Eversley. “BLS students will be able to think through challenges using multiple lenses for analysis. They’ll get experience working with the discourses of poetry, politics, history, and communication, just to name a few.”

Baruch Professor Shelly Eversley
During Latinx Heritage Month in September, Professor Shelly Eversley, PhD, celebrated the launch of Baruch’s Black and Latino studies program with students and faculty and spoke about the impact the major will have on the College.

The BLS program has existed at Baruch since 1970, born out of student activism calling for open education and more diverse representation in the student body. At that time, Baruch had one of the only combined Black and Latino studies departments in the country, as other institutions established programs that treated these as separate fields.

Building on this tradition of inclusion, the department centers the study of race, racism, and power while continuing to question categories of gender, sexuality, and class. The introduction of BLS as a proper major at last promises to offer new life to Baruch’s course offerings and make the discipline’s commitment to the liberatory potential of critical race studies more central to CUNY’s mission.

“With the new Black and Latino studies major, Baruch offers a program that provides our students a comprehensive understanding of race, ethnicity, identity, and the bearing they have on society,” said Baruch College President S. David Wu. “This is a great opportunity to cultivate the next generation of leaders and policymakers.”

Daniel Jacobson

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