Administrative Staff

Office Administration and Staff

Administrative Associate, Office Manager
Bailey Hall, 9

Shelly joined African & African-American Studies in the Spring of 2019.  She acts as office manager, scheduling officer, and point of contact for faculty, staff, and students.  She attended Baker University as a student and graduated with a business degree.

Melissa Foree
Undergraduate Academic Advisor
Wescoe Hall, 2650D

Melissa assists in advising undergraduate students, majors and minors, for the African & African-American Studies program.

B.F.A. History of Art, University of Kansas

M.S.W. Social Welfare, University of Kansas

Bethany Harris
Graduate Academic Advisor
Lippincott Hall, 6A

Bethany assists with graduate student policies and processes for the African & African-American Studies program.

Faculty Administration

Professor and Chairperson of African and African-American Studies, and Director of the Langston Hughes Center
Bailey Hall, 15 & 9

Shawn Leigh Alexander, who received his PhD from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2004, is a Professor and Chair of African and African American Studies, and the director of the Langston Hughes Center at the University of Kansas. His area of research concentration is African American social and intellectual history of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Anthony Bolden
Associate Professor of African and African-American Studies, and Director of Undergraduate Studies
Bailey Hall, 12G

Dr. Tony Bolden is Associate Professor of African and African-American Studies. His teaching and research interests include a broad spectrum of topics related to artistic expression in the African Diaspora, especially black music and literature. His book, Afro-Blue: Improvisations in African American Poetry and Culture (2004), is among the studies that prefigured the outpouring of scholarship devoted to black poetry today. Bolden has also figured prominently in funk studies. His new book, Groove Theory: The Blues Foundation of Funk, will be published in November. You can learn more about Bolden’s work on funk by visiting his website:

Amal El Haimeur
Assistant Teaching Professor of Arabic and African and African-American Studies, and Coordinator of the Arabic language program
Bailey Hall, 12A

Dr. Amal El Haimeur is a an Assistant Teaching Professor of Arabic, and the coordinator of the Arabic language. She also serves as the director of the Arabic Summer Institute at Al-Akhawayn University in Morocco. She has extensive experience in foreign and second language instruction. She holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and specializes in Arabic as a heritage language, second language acquisition,  and teaching Arabic as a foreign language. She is also interested in language contact in North Africa.

Associate Professor of African and African-American Studies, and Director of Graduate Studies
Bailey Hall, 12C

Jessica Gerschultz is an Associate Professor and Graduate Studies Director in the Department of African and African-American Studies at the University of Kansas and a 2018 Hans-Robert Roemer Fellow at the Orient-Institut Beirut. She received her PhD in Art History from Emory University in 2012. Professor Gerschultz's research and teaching interests span modern and contemporary art in Africa and the Arab world, gender and materiality, and feminist art history and methodologies. Her current work centers on transregional articulations of modernism with an emphasis on tapestry and fiber art. 

Assistant Teaching Professor of KiSwahili and African and African-American Studies, and Coordinator of the African languages program
Bailey Hall, 10

Dr. Wawire is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Kiswahili and African & African American Studies, and is the coordinator of the African languages for the Department of African & African-American Studies. Dr. Wawire has over a decade of experience in foreign and second language education. At KU, she is involved in efforts to strengthen African, diasporic languages through coordinating instruction, facilitating reverse-engineered curriculum (i.e. designed to teach outcomes) and task-based language learning.



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