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ADW History


Faculty Drs. Michael Gomez (history), Jean Billingslea (English) and Jontyle Robinson (art) initiated a new two-semester course to replace World Literature and World Civilization courses.

ADW Committee of 18 faculty from diverse disciplines and including Dr. Johnetta Cole, the then president of Spelman College, actively met and presented the proposed curriculum to the larger Spelman community.

ADW pilot launched in spring 1993.

ADW 111 and 112 offered in fall 1993 and spring 1994.

ADW courses offered in different structural iterations.

Revolutionary Origins

ADW courses evoked both fervor and fear…some saw it as “male-bashing,” “white-bashing” and “Christianity-bashing.” These fears were allayed by faculty’s inquiry-based pedagogical practices.

Pedagogical Goals

  • Center African diaspora knowledge
  • Engage Black women
  • Decolonize Eurocentric systems
  • Inculcate knowledge and pride in Black history and identity
  • Interrogate structural oppressions
  • Understand, analyze and critique concepts, intellectual debates and texts

Founding Members

Johnnetta Cole

Johnnetta B. Cole, Ph.D.
Spelman College President, 1987-1997

Michael Gomez

Michael Gomez, Ph.D.
History, 1988-1997

Alma Jean Billingslea

Alma Jean Billingslea, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita, English, 1989 - present

Jontyle Robinson

Jontyle Robinson, Ph.D.

ADW - FITW Collaboration (2016-2020)

Out of more than 300 applicants across the U.S., Spelman is one of just two colleges in Georgia – and among only three historically black colleges nationwide – named a 2015 First in the World (FITW) grant recipient by the U.S. Department of Education. Spelman received $2.7 million to incorporate new teaching and learning strategies into its curriculum focused on metacognitive learning, a system defined as “thinking about thinking.”

The ADW Program was selected for the First in the World (FITW) grant-funded study to:

  • advance metacognitive pedagogy
  • improve performance in ADW courses, progress towards degree and student GPA

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African Diaspora & The World
Giles Hall

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