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UMass professor named faculty advisor to Chancellor

Cade Belisle / Collegian Staff

University of Massachusetts Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy has named professor of Afro-American Studies Amilcar Shabazz as his faculty adviser for diversity and excellence.

In the position, Shabazz will serve on the Campus Leadership Council and be a representative of the chancellor to any groups, committees and councils on campus that are involved in promoting diversity, according to the release. He will work with senior administration, staff, faculty and students from a variety of groups, as well as the Faculty Senate Council on Diversity, Faculty Senate Council on the Status of Women and the Chancellor’s Diversity Advisory Committee, the release said. The groups will help “to develop and implement appropriate academic initiatives to advance the campus’s diversity goals,” Subbaswamy said in a press release.

Shabazz will also oversee the implementation of the campus’s diversity plan through the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity and gauge both the progress that the plan makes as well as its aftereffect, the release said. Other responsibilities include preparing an annual report on the state of campus diversity and inclusion and recommending any steps that he feels would improve the climate of diversity and inclusion to the Chancellor, according to the release.

“Professor Shabazz has written and consulted extensively on issues of race and diversity,” Subbaswamy said in a press release. “We will benefit greatly from his scholarship and leadership experience on this campus and in his previous appointments, and I look forward to having his invaluable perspective on our work in this critical area.”

Shabazz is already a highly involved member of his community as a member of the Amherst School Committee, vice-chair of the Amherst Regional School Committee and a member of the Northwestern District Attorney’s Citizens Advisory Board. At UMass, he is part of the Faculty Senate and is a member of its Rules Committee, as well as previously co-chairing the senate’s Ad Hoc Committee on Strategic Oversight.

He joined the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies in 2007 and served as chair of the department until 2012.

Shabazz, who holds a doctorate in history from the University of Houston, teaches historical studies with a focus on the political economy of social and cultural movements and education. He previously taught at Oklahoma State University and the University of Alabama, according to the release.

According to MassLive.com, Shabazz was born Eric Frank, but changed his name to honor Amilcar Cabral, the founder of the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde, and Malcolm X, whose religious name was El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.

The new post is a half-time position for a three-year term.

Patrick Hoff can be reached at pphoff@student.umass.edu.

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