The University of Windsor is creating a Black Studies Institute (BSI) in 2023, with the goal of supporting Black studies across a variety of subjects.
The BSI will offer Black focused programs in literature, history, health, education, business and culture.
Natalie Delia Deckard, professor at UWindsor and creator of Black Studies Institute, said the institute was created through conversations with Black faculty, students and administrators.
"We've been doing this collaboratively," she said.
LISTEN: Black Studies Institute founder Natalie Delia Deckard joins Windsor Morning
Deckard said the new programming is partially in response to a list of 40 recommendations the UWindsor's Anti-Black Racism Task Force shared with the school in December 2021.
One of the recommendations was to implement a Black studies program.
Deckard said following the recommendations, the university had two options.
"They could have continued to confront it as an external crisis that needed to be squashed, or they could have been like 'Oh wow, what a good idea, why don't we do this together?' And they went with the latter," Deckard said.
Deckard said she was happy the university decided to go forward with the program, because usually recommendations are not met by universities.
"This is different, and the idea that we fundamentally changed the institution to include Black people, Black ways of knowing as part of the institution, I'm really proud," she said.
Deckard said the BSI will introduce 12 new Black faculty members to the university.
Having Black more faculty members is an important step in dispelling biases and stereotypes about Black people and their position in academics, she said.
"Part of this initiative is about representation in and of itself," she said.
"By doubling the number of Black faces in front of classrooms, we challenge our students and ourselves to conceive of Black people as the part of a solution as opposed to part of a problem," she said, referring to anti-Black stereotypes.
Deckard said that when she thinks of how she will measure the success of BSI, she thinks of the first women's and gender studies programs, and how it seems obvious that having more knowledge and viewpoints is important to learning.
"This is normal, and obvious, and I can't wait," Deckard said.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.