ASTUTE Program

Africana Studies and Urban Teacher Education Degree Program

IU Indianapolis' Africana Studies & Urban Teacher Education (ASTUTE) program blends a liberal arts education and professional teacher training to provide aspiring educators with the skills that will enhance their ability to encourage the students they serve to value culture and understanding in the learning process.

ASTUTE students will be enrolled in a demanding, accelerated interdisciplinary course of study resulting in the completion of two Bachelor’s degrees within a four-year period. These future educators will be prepared to thrive in urban teaching and learning environments that align with the IU School of Education’s mission and vision while also learning how ethnic studies can be a tool for building transformative teaching practices.

How does this program work?

ASTUTE is offered through the Dual Degree Advantage program administered by the IU School of Liberal Arts in Indianapolis (SLA) which offers all undergraduate IU Indianapolis students an opportunity to add one of twenty majors to complement a first major/degree. By recognizing course credits as fulfilling both the School of Liberal Arts and Education’s graduation requirements, this program delivers content more efficiently in fewer courses than those outlined in each program’s singular degree pathway.

Although open to all undergraduate learners, ASTUTE responds to calls for increased ethnic and racial diversity throughout the educator workforce, and the Hoosier school system’s commitments to inclusive spaces for learning.

An example of how this works can be found in the Elementary Education degree, which requires successful completion of supplemental (non-Elementary Education) courses as demonstrated by the completion of:

1: An area of concentration

2: An academic minor; or

3: A license addition

As such, the proposed dual degree pathway of Africana Studies and Elementary Education will result in the successful completion of the Social Studies area of
concentration requirements. Similarly, Africana Studies courses can be used to meet requirements for a Secondary Social Studies degree requirement - resulting in a
prospective Social Studies teacher with a four-year degree in Africana Studies.

What is Africana Studies?

Africana Studies is part of the larger framework of Ethnic Studies, which evolved from student-led activism in the 1960s which brought about the establishment of academic programs in higher education that study the nuances of race, ethnicity, and power. With the Black experience as a focal point, Africana Studies became the first iteration of these programs which aim at broaden student knowledge about the human experience.

The Africana Studies Program at IU Indianapolis' core focus is the scholarly examination of the histories, life, and culture of African descended people while providing an academically rigorous, socially engaging, and relevant learning environment. For example, our students could find themselves studying the Black American social movements, Caribbean literature, or the political economies of a Western African nation. It is here that the ASTUTE dual degree can help fortify future educators with the type of culturally relevant teaching skills and methods that address disparities often found in educational spaces.

Urban Teacher Education at IU Indianapolis

The School of Education exists to develop leaders, teachers, and counselors equipped to critique and disrupt longstanding inequities and address the changing dynamics in urban educational contexts. In order to deconstruct extant barriers to equitable learning experiences for people in urban communities, educators must acquire knowledge that describes events, concepts, and situations from the perspective of racially marginalized groups.

A plan of study involving scholarship in teacher education and the study of ongoing struggles for freedom, equality, equity, and justice found in ethnic studies programs such as Africana Studies can result in expanded competencies for future educators. The ASTUTE dual degree pathway will result in educators who possess a heightened awareness of issues surrounding community, service, and social justice.