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Academic Profile

Today, as in the past, merging theory and praxis, classroom and community, academic excellence and social activism remains the hallmark of an MSU education. MSU is among the country's largest producers of Peace Corps volunteers and is a national leader in study abroad participation. This year approximately 3000 students will participate in over 275 MSU study abroad programs in 60 countries. Of those opportunities, 24 are in Africa. MSU has the leading and largest faculty of African Studies in the nation, offers more courses, and conducts more development work in Africa than any other university. MSU ranks 2nd in PhD dissertations on Sub-Saharan Africa and 4th for dissertations on Africa 1988-2014. Ours is a highly cooperative venture that produces a seamless web of opportunities for faculty and students to engage Africa in the classroom, via extra-curricular cultural events, in social activities with local African community groups, in internships with social service agencies, in study abroad programming and, especially, in conducting research in Africa. Michigan State is a comprehensive university, with arguably the strongest as well as the largest African studies program in the nation, because of broad offerings in the African arts and humanities (art, literature, languages, film, music, dance, philosophy, religion), strong programs in the social sciences and a broad range of prof es-si on al schools, and it remains ever mindful of its mandate to discover practical uses for theoretical knowledge and to speed the diffusion of information from laboratories to classrooms and to communities of need. The African Studies Center (ASC) has played a key role in lowering the barriers between academic units, between students and faculty, and in bringing talent from across campus into productive cooperation.

African Studies courses attract well over 3,500 enrollees per year. With 9 student organizations focused exclusively on Africa the campus is daily animated with talks, films, performances and lively debates about African issues. ASC itself sponsors upward of 50 lectures and symposia each year attracting over 2,000 attendees. With ASC support the MSU Museum and art galleries produce major Africa exhibits that attract thousands of mid-Michigan residents to campus. Nearly 1/3 of all graduate students in history focus on Africa, having selected MSU in large part because of ASC's reputation. The same dynamics bring to campus top students in anthropology, economics, education, agriculture and natural resources, crop and soil sciences, literature and philosophy. Our undergraduate and graduate programs rank among the top in the nation in competitiveness in national grants (Fulbright IIE, Fulbright DDRA, SSRC, Wenner Gren, Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie), in admission into top-tier programs elsewhere, in selection into prestigious internships and summer programs, and in professional marketability. MSU is one of the leaders nationally in the production of PhD dissertations on Africa. Our graduates are well represented on the faculties of all the major African studies programs in this country, and in business, NGOS and government in the U.S. and in Africa.