Bill McCoy is energized by the commitment of the members of NIU’s Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA) to the university and its students.
“Being a major university in Illinois that is not located in Chicago, Black faculty and staff on this campus are uniquely qualified to help our students of color adjust to life at a major university that is located in a small town,” said McCoy, director of the BELIEF Program in the College of Business and the organization’s current president. “We can help our students navigate the waters of academic maturity in ways that few others can.”07
The organization is dedicated to supporting Black faculty and staff on campus and contributing to the creation of a racially understanding and empowered campus community.
“We want the campus community to view the BFSA as an instrument of academic and personal strengthening and examples of success at every level,” said McCoy, noting that the organization’s members are advocates for not only Black students but for any issue of equity, justice, excellence and career success.
“All students need meaningful exposure to Black faculty and staff,” said Joseph Flynn, associate professor of curriculum and instruction and president-elect of the BFSA. “We are an essential part of the university and our ideas, expertise and knowledge of the institution and academics is key in offering all our students — regardless of background — a quality, engaging, and empowering education for the 21st century.”
“Since 1970, there has been either a BFA, BSA, or a BFSA, on and off,” said Janice Hamlet, associate professor of rhetoric and public communication and a past president of the organization. After a long period of not having anything, it was revived as the BFA (Black Faculty Association) in 2010.”
Last year, it broadened its scope to include staff as well.
“The BFA changed into BFSA because Black staff had no organized voice on campus and joining the BFA was a logical step, said McCoy. “In addition, active participation in BFA was low and we needed to infuse new life into the organization to keep it alive and vibrant.”
This academic year, the BFSA will be rolling out a number of initiatives and programs. For those interested, the next meeting of the semester is scheduled for 5 p.m., Monday, Sept. 19, in Barsema Hall, room 309. Additional meetings are scheduled for Oct. 17, Nov. 14 and Dec. 5.