Teaching Africa Teacher Certification Program
Since its inception in 1953, the African Studies Center (ASC) at Boston University has been a leader in developing the field of African Studies in the United States. As a Title VI National Resource Center, the ASC has fostered a longstanding and robust Outreach Program whose staff has a simple, yet challenging, overarching priority—Outreach aims to promote the teaching of Africa in U.S. schools.
Throughout much of the U.S., the curricula in practice largely mirrors an antiquated emphasis on a narrow understanding of what constitutes an American literature, an American history, and the American arts. Even in world history and global literature classrooms, Africa—the second largest continent and the birthplace of mankind—often constitutes little more than a quick unit, if mentioned at all.
This de-emphasis is born out of a lack of teacher training and knowledge on Africa in all range of subjects, which unintentionally marginalizes students who do not or cannot relate to lack of diversity and voice in their education. The focus on African and African-related studies in the classroom forms a crucial component of identity-building and deconstructing stereotypes in history and the world beyond.
The Outreach Program at BU’s African Studies Center seeks to recognize and help train those individuals committed to African studies. The Teaching Africa Teacher Certification Program exists to increase the number of teachers competent in African area studies. The Program incorporates into the curriculum both university-level coursework related to the continent and teacher workshops sponsored by the ASC. In doing so, students enrolled in the Program will be equipped with not only content knowledge, but also the methods by which they can translate their coursework into integrative classroom lessons.
Certification Program Requirements (16 credits)
Students accepted into the program will be required to complete a minimum of sixteen credits in order to receive the certificate. All courses taken for credit in the program must have a primary focus on Africa and at least one course must have a predominantly historical perspective on a topic in African studies. All courses must be submitted to the Program Administrator for approval of certificate credit. Any course that has not been approved by the Program Administrator may be petitioned to the Program Board for approval.
1. Content Knowledge – 12 credits must be graduate-level course work. Particpants in the program are encouraged to explore the myriad of topics offered concerning African Studies in order to improve their own content awareness. These courses may be taken at any accredited institution. Participants are required to submit official syllabi, transcripts, and assignments for the course in order to have the course approved for certificate credit.
2. Teacher Workshops – 4 credits must be from teacher workshops sponsored by the BU African Studies Center. These teacher workshops take place at least once during each semester or during the summer and vary in length and topic. For more information on workshop offerings, please visit here.
Certification Program Application Guidelines
Only students who have successfully completed a B.A. or are in the process of completing a B.A. will be considered as applicants. For those who are still working on their undergraduate studies, the Teaching Africa Certificate will be awarded after the successful completion of all B.A. graduation requirements.
1. Application Components – All applicants must submit a complete set of application documents in order to be considered: application form (downloadable here), official transcripts from the highest degree conferred; a personal statement (1ooo word limit); resume; English proficiency exam results if necessary.
- All application materials (excluding official transcripts) should be submitted to the Program Administrator.
- Transcripts should be sent directly to the following address:
Boston University African Studies Center
232 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
2. Admissions – The Certificate Program has rolling admissions throughout the year. Once enrolled, participants in the program will be assigned a program mentor, provided assistance with course offerings and coursework, and given preference in workshop/institute enrollment.
Please note, courses and workshops taken in the past three years are eligible for credit in the Teaching Africa Teacher Certification Program. Please contact the Program Administrator for more information.