UW News

January 7, 2010

Community and mutual support: The Black Faculty and Staff Association

Editor’s note: There are many organizations open to the UW faculty and staff. Some have been around for years and some are new. Some are structured groups with officers and committees; some are much more informal. University Week provides a space for campus groups to publish their information. UWeek began running profiles of these groups last school year, and is now resuming that occasional series.

This week, Namura Nkeze, coordinator of transfer and student programs for the First Year Programs Office, introduces the Black Faculty and Staff Association.

Who can join?

All on campus are free to participate in such groups if they like, Nkeze said, but the association is particularly for African American faculty, staff and administrators on the UW campuses.

What does the organization do?

“We create community on campus,” said Nkeze. “It’s so huge, it’s easy to get lost and to feel maybe you are the only one on campus. It’s a place for people to come and talk and to share and run ideas by each other.”

The association was formed in fall of 2005. Its official mission, according to its UWeek organizations page, is “to foster a greater sense of community and mutual support among the Black faculty and staff of the University through mentoring and networking in an effort to provide an organized support system that will enhance the cultural diversity within the University, as well as enhance and support the academic mission of the University.”

The page lists four main purposes for the association. They are:

  • Create an enlightened environment where issues of inequity and injustice can be effectively identified, directly challenged, and intelligently discussed.
  • Support the recruitment, retention, academic excellence, and graduation of Black graduate and undergraduate students.
  • Promote the recruitment and retention, promotion and tenure, and professional development and career advancement of Black faculty and staff at the University.
  • Expand and strengthen the relationship and involvement of Black faculty and staff with the wider University community.

Recent or typical activities:

Nkeze said the group focused last year on bringing the African American student population closer together. “The focus this year is more on the social aspect of the group — we’ll have several events off campus each quarter and one on campus that’s informational.”

How can people get involved?

Nkeze said anyone interested in the group can e-mail her at nnkeze@uw.org or the association’s e-mail address, bfsuw@uw.edu.

The association has scheduled four meetings during the remainder of the 2009-2010 school year. They are as follows.

  • Thursday, Jan. 14: A Happy New Year Happy Hour from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Eastlake Bar and Grill.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 10: A general meeting from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in 191A Mary Gates. Topic to be announced.
  • Wednesday, April 7: A Here Comes the Sun Happy Hour from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Location to be announced.
  • Wednesday, May 12: A general meeting from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in 191A Mary Gates. Topic to be announced.