Prince Wells named new director of black studies

As the new director of black studies, music professor Prince Wells believes, along with the deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, that he can develop a strategic plan to help “growth and direction for the whole program.”

Photo courtesy of Prince Wells

“This will not just be me coming up with a plan but other faculty,” Wells said. “We’ll all sit down together – and students – and come up with a vision for what we want the black studies program to be, and then we will come up with a plan to execute that.”

One component of that plan is to develop an introduction to black studies course.

“A lot of people don’t really know what black studies is…,” Wells said. “If you had an interest in black studies, but you weren’t quite sure what it is… [this would be the course] where you learn what the career is about, what the academic endeavor is about.”

As director of black studies, Wells said he hopes to continue the “good rapport” former director and current English professor Howard Rambsy had with students.

“I think [Dr. Rambsy] was very hands on with [students], not just as an academic but as a mentor,” Wells said, “and I’d like to continue to have that good relationship with the students involved in the program.”

Despite their different academic upbringings – Wells has a degree in African-American music, while Rambsy’s background is in English and literature – Wells said he thinks he can continue the “good relationship” with students and introduce them to a different aspect of black studies with his “music point of view.”

Wells said his predecessors have “done a good job” from the creation and development of the black studies program to its current state, and he brings a “good, administrative skill set to the position” to “create a shared vision” of what the program can be for faculty, staff and students.

“My predecessors have done good work…,” Wells said. “[They] have these courses in place, these projects, a lot of work has been done. It’s just a matter of moving it forward now.”

Wells has a master’s degree in African-American music. He was named director of black studies in May and joined the SIUE faculty in 1989.

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