Meet a Roadrunner: Karla Broadus is strengthening UTSA's African American Studies Program
(Jan. 25, 2017) -- Meet Karla D. Broadus M.A. '95. She's got big plans for the future of the UTSA African American Studies program.
Broadus is the newest director of the program, which is based in the College of Education and Human Development's Consortium for Social Transformation.
Since assuming her post last July, Broadus has been working with a multidisciplinary team of faculty, staff and students to create a roadmap and vision for the program's future. They are working to find new ways to expand the program by adding new classes, faculty and research interests.
"The African American Studies Program is a rapidly growing academic program here at UTSA that I'm very excited to be leading," Broadus said. "For the first time in its history, we had upwards of 177 students enrolled in our classes in a single semester. We even have an undergraduate student doing research this year. Now more than ever, it's time to build up a top-tier program that will challenge and excite our student body."
A believer in the benefit of ethnic and cultural studies, Broadus says that a strong understanding of humanity, history and culture is important to becoming a well-rounded individual.
"African American Studies, and other programs here at UTSA like Mexican American Studies and Women's Studies, are vital," Broadus said. "If we can help students understand their cultures, others' cultures and backgrounds, we can help them become better citizens. If you understand the different facets of our shared history, you can appreciate how far we have come and how far we still have to go. These and other stories need to be shared."
Ultimately, Broadus hopes to offer more degree options for UTSA students who are interested in African American Studies, and build stronger ties to the local community by creating new civic and academic engagement opportunities. The program currently offers a minor.
More importantly, though, she dreams of finding the unique strength that will make UTSA's program stand out among others.
"I'm a firm believer in the importance of literacy, particularly among children and young adults. It's through reading that I feel we're able to make sense of our world, our shared histories and ourselves," Broadus said. "That's why we've been trying to dedicate a focus to the study of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, named after the civil rights leader and wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. These books have a profound impact on African American children, and we feel they deserve a closer academic look."
Broadus has been an educator for many years. She graduated with a bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University in 1972 and later achieved two M.A. degrees, one from Pepperdine University and the other from UTSA.
She's been a big supporter of diversity in education from her very first full-time job, when she worked as an academic advisor helping bring black and African American students to the field of engineering.
In her time, Broadus has also been CEO of a successful computer company that supports K-12 schools and colleges, taught special needs students with the non-profit organization The Help Group and served as an assistant principal in San Antonio's Southwest Independent School District.
Since she joined UTSA in 1996, Broadus has seen the university change and evolve. She's met with thousands of students from a full range of backgrounds, and she's mentored them about life and the importance of education.
"My goal in my professional life has always been to support the education of our diverse students in some way," Broadus said. "I've been at UTSA nearly every day since 1996, and I've never stopped trying to do that. It's important."
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