College of Arts & Sciences Dean Mark Peceny announces the appointment of Robert Jefferson as director of Africana Studies. He assumes the role July 1. Jefferson comes to UNM from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where he was director of the African American Studies Program and an associate professor in the history department. Prior to that, he was an associate professor in the history department at Xavier University and an assistant professor in the African American World Studies Program at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

"An accomplished scholar, Dr. Jefferson brings a wealth of experience, tremendous energy and innovative ideas for transforming the Africana Studies Program. He has already established contacts on campus and in the Albuquerque community," Peceny said.

Jefferson earned his doctorate in African American history from the University of Michigan in 1995. He earned a master’s degree in history at Old Dominion University in 1990 and a bachelor’s degree in political science at Elon University in 1986.

Besides African American history, his research and teaching interests include military, disability studies, 20th century United States history, and international relations. He is the author of Fighting for Hope:  African American Troops of the 93d Infantry Division in World War II and Postwar America, which was nominated for the 2009 William Colby Award. He is currently at work on a new book, The Color of Disability:  Vasco Hale and Twentieth Century America. He also is the author of numerous journal articles and essays.

While at UAB and Xavier, Jefferson served as a member of Faculty Senate, and at Xavier he served as chairman of the Africana Studies Program from 2005 to 2006, and co-founder of the W. E. B. Du Bois Philosophical Society in 2007.

He has been a member of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History, the National Council for Black Studies, the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, Social Science History Association, the Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association and the Society of Military History.

"Let me also take this moment to thank Alfred Mathewson, who will step down as director of the program this summer after five years of extraordinary service.  Under Professor Mathewson’s leadership, the program dramatically increased the size and strength of its faculty, significantly increased the number of students it served, and deepened ties with the local community.  I have appreciated his dedication to the program; a dedication exemplified by his service as Director as an overload to his full time responsibilities as a faculty member in the School of Law," Peceny said.