Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
May 2, 1997

Finalists named to lead African American studies program

by Steve Sullivan
Three finalists have been named for the director's position in the African American studies program. They are J. Herman Blake, vice chancellor for undergraduate education and professor of sociology, anthropology and education at Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis; Christopher A. Brooks, associate professor of music, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond; and Carlyle D. Johnson, chairperson of the department of art at Middle Tennessee University, Murfreesboro.

African American studies is a cross-disciplinary program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The program includes courses in history, English, sociology, anthropology, religious studies, theater and women's studies. Valerie Grim has been serving as interim director of the program since last fall.

The finalists are visiting campus before the end of the semester to interview and meet with various groups. Each shares his vision for the program during an open forum. Johnson's public forum was April 28 and Brooks' is at 10:30 a.m., Friday, May 2, in 511 Ross. Blake will visit campus May 3-5. A forum time on May 5 will be announced online in "Today's News."

Blake has been vice chancellor for undergraduate education at Indiana University Purdue University since 1989. Previously, he was the Eugene M. Lang Visiting Professor of Social Change at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, from 1987 to 1989; an instructor at the Lilly Endowment Workshop on the Liberal Arts, Indianapolis, from 1986 to 1994; and a professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, from 1966 to 1984. Blake has written extensively on social change and liberal education and diversity, as well as a book titled Revolutionary Suicide, which he wrote with black activist Huey Newton.

He received a B.A. in sociology from New York University, New York City, in 1960; and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1965 and 1974, respectively. Blake was a George Washington Carver Scholar at Iowa State in January.

Brooks joined the Virginia Commonwealth faculty as an assistant professor of music in 1990. He was promoted to associate professor last fall. He presently is on leave, serving as a visiting professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Before joining the faculty at Virginia Commonwealth, Brooks was assistant instructor and lecturer at the University of Texas, Austin, from 1986 to 1990, and a guest lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in fall 1985. Brooks has written extensively on African American music, jazz and blues. He recently completed a manuscript titled, I Wanna Be: Sixty Years of Reflection of Jazz Musician and Record Company Executive Joe Evans.

He received a B.M. in music and economics from the University of Maryland in 1978; an M.A. in music from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1980; an M.M. in ethnomusicology and Ph.D. in anthropology/ethnomusicology from the University of Texas in 1984 and 1989, respectively.

Johnson has been chairperson of the department of art at Middle Tennessee State since 1989. Previously, he served as chairperson of the department of art at North Carolina Central University, Durham, from 1986 to 1989, and area coordinator/graduate faculty in the department of art at Ohio State University, Columbus, from 1980 to 1986. Johnson has an extensive background in fine art and fine arts education, and his work has been displayed in museums, exhibitions and permanent collections across the country. Johnson received a B.F.A. in painting/drawing and M.F.A. in printmaking in 1975 and 1977, respectively, from Ohio State University.

Iowa State homepage

Inside Iowa State,, University Relations
Copyright © 1997, Iowa State University, all rights reserved
Revised 5/1/97