Programs and Services

To honor Frederick Douglass' commitment to education and diversity, The Kutztown University Frederick Douglass Institute sponsors the following programs and services.

  • U.K. Study Abroad
    U.K. Study Abroad

    The Kutztown FDI UK Study Abroad program was a three-week program that was to be offered in Summer 2020. Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.

    In the future, we look forward to offering other study abroad programs facilitated by the FDI. Students can expect transformative, engaging, and fun learning experience that will drive their curiosity and passion. 

  • Scholar-in-Residence

    For the past twelve years, the KU FDI has hosted a "scholar-in-residence" by offering a Frederick Douglass Scholar Fellowship program. This initiative gives teaching opportunities to culturally diverse post-graduate students who are entering the final year of a terminal degrees and/or doctoral program. The chosen participants teach as a yearlong temporary professor. The Frederick Douglass Scholar Fellowship is designed specifically for growth and mentorship, as well as demonstrating KU's strong commitment to diversity. 

    For the 2019-2020 academic year, we were fortunate to have two scholars-in-residence. Our first scholar, Professor Diamond Howell-Shields served as an instructor in the Secondary Education Department. Professor Howell-Shields assisted students in the research preparation for the Undergraduate Research Conference that will take place on Friday, April 17th, 2020 at Kutztown University. In addition, Professor David Stephens, an instructor in the English Department, coached KU students for the Douglass Debate Society event in 2020 at Kutztown University. 

  • Celebration of Black Composers
    Celebration of Black Composers competition and online concert 

    In honor of Black History month and National Women's History Month, the legacy of Frederick Douglass, and the contributions of Black composers throughout history, the KU FDI hosted a musical composition competition. We invited local and regional performers to compete in three categories-KU, high school, and community. In total, $4500 in prizes will be granted to first, second and third place winners in each category. The winning acts will be recorded and posted on a dedicated YouTube Channel.

  • Undergraduate Research Conference
    Undergraduate Research Conference 

    For the past decade, the KU FDI has consistently sent students to the statewide FDI undergraduate conference to present their research on diversity-related topics. The FDI undergraduate conference has been attended by all schools in the FDI Collaborative. This year, the Frederick Douglass Institute at Kutztown University has had to cancel the undergraduate conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we look forward to hosting the conference again in the coming year.

  • KU FDI Debate Team
    KU FDI Debate Team 

    In the spirit of Frederick Douglass' legacy as a gifted orator, most schools in the FDI Collaborative develop a FDI debate team. Teams compete against each other at a debate tournament over a predetermined topic. 

    The debate coach and FDI Scholar, Professor Stephens will lead students in the FDI debate team that will compete against other debate teams. FDI graduate assistant will help facilitate discussions. In addition, students will be assisted in research by Stefani Gomez, Information Literacy Librarian and Sylvia Pham, Reference Librarian who are both members of the FDI Advisory Committee. 

  • Discussion Series
     Discussion Series 

    Every semester, the KU FDI facilitates three presentations by various scholars on topics related to cultural diversity. Together, the six presentations constitute each academic year's discussion series.

    The 2021 Spring Discussion series included talks by Dr. John Ronan, English Department on "Douglass' Political Artistry in the 1845 Narrative," and by Dr. Amber Pabon, Secondary Education Department, on "Sistering, Daughtering, and Mothering through a Racial Pandemic: How African American Virtual Literature Circles Get Us Through."

    All of the discussion series were diverse topics that engaged students, staff and faculty members of Kutztown University. 

  • Undergraduate Internship and Scholarships
    Undergraduate Internship and Scholarships

    Undergraduate and graduate internships and scholarships are available for the summer 2020 Study Abroad to England and Scotland. Recipients are selected based on financial need, ability, and cultural diversity. For more information, contact FDI Director, Dr. Maria Sanelli. 

    Maria Sanelli, Ed.D.
    History Department

  • Graduate Assistantships
    Graduate Assistantships

    The Frederick Douglass assistantship was awarded to many graduate students in the fields of student affairs, psychology, social work, and public administration over the last decade. In fall 2018, Fatima Freeman, M.S. candidate in Social Work, helped facilitate the fall discussion series, distribute posters and created posts for the Institute. In the Spring of 2019, Corrine Smith, M.Ed. candidate in Student Affairs, was hired to specifically help improve the FDI's social media presence. Corrine created a social media strategy for the Institute, as well as coached our debate team, assisted our Scholar in the planning and implementation of the Celebration of Black Composers Concert and assisted the Director with the Spring Discussion Series. This semester, Yessica Gutierrez, M.Ed. candidate in Student Affairs, was hired to help facilitate Discussion Series, showcase FDI events, create and distribute flyers and show student participation on our social media pages. Graduate students are selected based on a desire and ability to promote cultural diversity and social equity on the Kutztown University campus.

  • Social Justice Teach-Ins
    Social Justice Teach-Ins

     The Frederick Douglass Institute at Kutztown University is currently completing a five-year cooperative agreement with the National Park Service. Currently, Dr. Sanelli is training JROTC officers on behalf of the National Park Service, to replicate the KU FDI Social Justice Teach-In. 

    The Social Justice Teach-Ins give Kutztown University students the opportunity to travel and engage with both high school and university students from different regions of the country, as well as learn from JROTC instructors (veterans), park rangers, and university professors.