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This Tiger is no stranger to pursuing his passion. When he came to Clemson, the Pan African Studies major did not exist. With his contributions, the program is now offered, thriving and attracting a diverse set of students interested in the roles that race, ethnicity, gender and culture play in our global society.

Meet Abel Bartley.

Title: Director of Pan African studies and professor of African American and urban history

Years at Clemson: 14

What I do at Clemson: I run the Pan African Studies program. This involves recruiting students, managing my student’s Degree Works, organizing programming, chairing advisory committee meetings and serving as liaison between the university and the program. I also teach history courses in my specialty: African American and urban history. Some of the courses I teach are African American History from 1492 to 1877 and African American History from 1877 to present. I also teach African Americans and Sports, Slavery and Film, African Americans and the Military Experience, African American Social and Intellectual History and The American City.

What I love about Clemson: Clemson is not just a job – it’s a family. People here invest in and take responsibility for each other.

My defining moment at Clemson:  My defining moment was when we got Pan African Studies approved as a new major. This provides students with an opportunity to study Africans and African Americans from an intellectual perspective. It also allows us dispel some of the popular myths about African Americans.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of: I am very proud of the many speakers we have brought here to campus. They have dramatically increased our intellectual discourse on racial issues.

I am also very proud of the part I played in pushing students to demand more from the university on diversity. It is usually after students take one of my classes that they discover the limitations of their education. It was actually a group of my students who helped start the protest at Sikes a few years ago. Another one of my students recently sent a letter to the dean and provost requesting more investment in Pan African Studies. Students who take Pan African Studies courses generally leave them much more socially aware.

Lastly, I am proud of the 12 years I spent as chair of the President’s Commission on the Status of Black Faculty and Staff. During that time, we were able to convince the president to hire a chief diversity officer.

Where I see myself in five years: In five years, I would love to be the chair of the Pan African Studies department.

Last thing I watched on TV: PBS Newshour

Guilty pleasure: Watching the Jacksonville Jaguars play.

One thing most people don’t know about me: I am a very spiritual person.


Want to nominate a colleague to be featured in Meet a Tiger? Contact Jackie Todd at jtodd3@clemson.edu.

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