Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1995-1996 index

Distributed April 5, 1996
Contact: Mark Nickel

Fayneese Miller named coordinator of new ethnic studies concentration

Fayneese Miller, associate professor of education and director of Brown's Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, has been named coordinator of a new ethnic studies concentration. She will work with a faculty committee to design and implement the concentration, which must be approved by the College Curriculum Council next fall.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Fayneese Miller, associate professor of education and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, has been appointed the first coordinator of Brown's new concentration (academic major) in ethnic studies, according to an announcement today by Kenneth Sacks, dean of the College.

Pending approval by the College Curriculum Council next fall, the new multidisciplinary concentration will enable students to study not only the African-American and Native American experience, but also that of Latinos, Asian-Americans and other U.S. ethnic groups. Miller will work with an existing ad hoc faculty committee on ethnic studies, to complete the design of the concentration, present it for formal review and approval, and oversee its implementation.

Work on the ethnic studies concentration began in 1994 when President Vartan Gregorian asked Sheila Blumstein, former dean of the College, to chair a committee of faculty charged with exploring the feasibility of such a concentration. The committee felt ethnic studies would benefit from Brown's particular expertise in interdisciplinary studies, so it suggested modeling the concentration on existing interdisciplinary programs, including women's studies. In its deliberations, the committee consulted various academic departments and centers as well as representatives of various student minority groups. The committee presented its feasibility report to Gregorian at the end of the 1994-95 academic year, and Gregorian accepted the proposal.

In anticipation of the formal establishment of the concentration, Brown has been developing new faculty expertise and new course offerings. Gregorian has authorized the early hiring of new assistant professors in anthropology and sociology, who will have disciplinary expertise in race and ethnicity and related areas. The Department of Hispanic Studies has hired a new assistant professor to teach Puerto Rican literature. These appointments complement two new faculty positions in American civilization, which provide instruction in Asian American and Latino studies.

In addition, as part of a continuing effort to internationalize its curriculum and strengthen various academic disciplines, Brown has begun offering instruction in Arabic language and literature. Endowed chairs have been established in modern Middle Eastern history, modern Indian and South Asian history, and Portuguese and Brazilian studies. A chair in Japanese history and culture is being funded.

The new concentration will have a close association with the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, which Miller directs. Some fifty Brown faculty are involved in the center's research on race and ethnicity in the United States and internationally.

Fayneese Miller

Miller joined the Brown faculty in 1985 after completing two years of post-doctoral work in applied social psychology at Yale University. She holds a doctorate from Texas Christian University and a bachelor's degree from Hampton University. She specializes in social psychology and education, with a research focus on the attitudes and values of adolescents toward schooling, politics and identity development. She has written or co-written more than 65 books, monographs and articles.

Miller has received research grants from the Lilly Endowment, the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Mental Health. She serves as a manuscript reviewer for the Journal of Research on Adolescents, the Journal of Black Psychology, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Miller is on the board of the Langston Hughes Center for the Arts and the Community Preparatory School, both in Providence. Her consulting credits include the Rhode Island Children's Crusade, the Montgomery County Schools, the New York City Standards Project, the New York Board of Education, and the Fort Worth Independent School District.