Texas Tech University professors have planned new courses that focus on African American culture to enhance their studies within the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

“It says that we are committed to diversity,” Nathaniel Wright said. He’s the first African-American male professor in the Department of Political Science at TTU. 

“I think with the movement of what the provost is doing, what the president is doing, what our Interim Vice President for Diversity, it’s sending a strong message to future incoming students that Texas Tech,” Wright said. “It’s the place to be, a place that values diversity, a place that wants diversity, and it’s a place that’s committed to achieving that diversity for the better of the university.”

Wright is the only African-American professor in his department. He currently teaches master’s students on public administration, nonprofit management, organization theory, and government. He said he felt a responsibility for his students coming into his position. 

“I have a lot of students who rely on me,” Wright said. “Students of color but primarily students of color here on campus. Definitely trying to be a role model to them. Many students will never have a professor of color, will never have an African-American professor teach them, especially at the undergraduate level. So I feel it is my responsibility to help advance that.”

Less than 7 percent of the student population at TTU is African American. Wright said he’s hoping to increase that with new courses that are being introduced by TTU’s Elizabeth Sharp with the DDEI. 

“Even though it’s not in my job description, I feel like it’s my responsibility to assist them,” Wright said. “It’s important to them and as our numbers continue to grow, we’re going to need faculty who can connect with those students.”