The Community of Scholars Initiative is the overarching functioning mechanism that guides the mission and goals of the UWBSC and houses specific operations programs. The following programs represent the Community of Scholars Initiative:


The Dr. Nathan Hare Leadership Institute was named after the academic, activist, psychologist, and sociologist, Dr. Nathan Hare who coordinated and led the nation’s first official Black Studies program at San Francisco State University in 1969. The Institute will launch during the academic year 2020-2021 (Spring 2021) and invites students to examine rural and urban issues through the lens of social change. The institute is built upon a framework dedicated to social change where students become acquainted with diverse sociopolitical concepts and leadership models. Students will build and enhance individual and collective leadership consciousness, congruence with others, with a commitment to actively participate in social justice discourse and community engagement.


The Silas Purnell Black Studies Recruitment Initiative was named after educator and original Tuskegee Airman Silas Purnell who encouraged first generation and disadvantaged students to attend college. During his 34-year career, his dedication to identifying and securing funding sources for marginalized student populations to complete college led to approximately 60,000 black students attending college. The initiative will launch during the academic year 2022-2023 and actively recruit high-quality high school and community college students from rural and urban institutions that seek to complete a major or minor in African American and Diaspora Studies at the University of Wyoming. The initiative will help build relationships with institutions to proactively recruit first-generation and low-income students to UW and the UWBSC. 


The Dr. Carter G. Woodson Graduate Bridge Program was named after the historian, author, journalist and founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and the second black man to graduate Harvard University with a Ph.D., Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson.

The bridge program will launch during the academic year 2022-2023 and assist UW students in identifying and enrolling in Masters and Ph.D. programs from a network of affiliate graduate programs familiar with the University of Wyoming's Black Studies Center. The program will encourage UW upper-class students to select at least three graduate programs, help complete the application process, and facilitate campus visits. Students will attend multiple workshops that specifically address how to complete the individual steps of the graduate admission process.     


The Ida B. Wells Annual Capstone Essay Research Contest was named after the educator, investigative journalist, and anti-lynching crusader, Ida B. Wells, will launch during the academic 2020-2021 year. This contest utilizes AADS courses to establish a practical nexus between classroom instruction, culturally-responsive pedagogy, and evidence-based research. As their primary assignment, students will spend a considerable amount of time completing a capstone essay that practically and theoretically resembles a graduate dissertation. Students will select a capstone essay topic that uses the Feminist Standpoint Theory as a research context to complete their capstone essay (that argues that knowledge stems from social situations and highlights the voices of the most marginalized populations). Students will complete the capstone essay as a part of their final grade, and those interested will submit their capstone essay for the opportunity to present their research at a national conference. Five students will be selected to attend and present their research at a national conference.


The Community Engagement Outreach Program will include student community engagement, a speaker series, and quarterly workshops to encourage students to become active participants in social justice discourse and engagement.  


The Community Engagement Project will connect students enrolled in designated AADS introductory and specialty courses to volunteer opportunities in the Laramie community to mesh formal instruction with practical employment experience. While enrolled in these courses, students will have the opportunity to learn necessary social service skills, including intake, case management, and documentation. Also, students will have the opportunity to learn conference organization skills by volunteering to work with a national conference organizing committee.


The endowed Liz Byrd Speaker Series was named after former Wyoming senator, representative and educator Harriet Elizabeth “Liz” Byrd (1926-2015). The UWBSC will participate with the African American and Diaspora Studies program to provide intellectual and thought-provoking theories and views from leading educators, innovators, researchers, and writers from diverse industries. The speaker series will inspire and create increased awareness and knowledge of social justice issues among UW students, faculty, administrators, members of the Laramie community, and others. The speaker series will augment the current intellectual environment at UW and facilitate important discussions of critical social issues.


The UWBSC will present quarterly Black Studies Center Workshops that will encompass a wide variety of practical and theoretical subjects aimed at introducing and enhancing students' "utility knapsack" for efficient and successful matriculation toward graduation.


The UWBSC will expand the Black History Month Celebration by furthering our commitment to continue to inject esoteric information into the dominant historical and cultural discourse. The Black History Month committee will continue to collaborate with UW departments, external institutions, educators, researchers, and writers to deliver programming to encourage dialogue that captures public consciousness regarding the impact of blacks' history on US society and beyond. For example, this year’s Black History Month celebration will incorporate the recognition of the centennial of the Death of Black Wall Street: The Tulsa Massacre of 1921, as a means to introduce to some and re-introduce to others the historical importance of this event, its vestiges, and what’s at stake today regarding this event.

Contact Us

Arts and Sciences/African American & Diaspora Studies

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-2733

Fax: 307-766-2555


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