Written by Erin Martin, Staff Writer
Along with changes to the faculty and staff at VSU, this semester Dr. Calvin Walker was appointed as the Interim Director of African American studies.
Walker has been working at VSU for 31 years, and teaching for 38 years.
The duties involved with the directory position include supervising the AFAM program, creating the schedule of classes, and overseeing that the AFAM studies minors are taking the correct courses. The director will also manage the budget; write different reports, to attend mandated meetings and others that pertain to the program and our students.
Walker has not only taken most of the AFAM courses at Valdosta State, but he also taught them for over ten years.
“I have worked with Dr. Hardin for several years and I am familiar with the program,” Walker said. “I do realize that it’s not the same as being the director, so I have much to learn.”
Walker gives attributions to the AFAM department secretary, Derrick Carter, who he considers a great asset to their growth.
Some of the goals that Walker has planned during his time working as director include exposing more students to the African American Studies program and making it a major at the university.
“I am often surprised that I get students that are seniors taking their first AFAM class that say that they were not aware that we had this program and would certainly have minored if they had known,” Walker said.
Walker admits that he never intended to teach, but views it as a calling. Walker also enjoys the personal interaction and connection with students, despite the prevalence of online courses. He says that he likes to encourage and see the potential in each individual student.
“I try to teach my students the way I wanted to be taught,” Walker said. “This means that I respect them as human beings and not just as seat fillers. I tell students that they are going to change the world; but to do that, they must get prepared so that the world will listen to you.
“I have some students that say that they want to be like me. My response to them is to not be like me, ‘be better.’”