Interdisciplinary Programs

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Across Curriculum Thinking Program

Xavier University's Across Curriculum Thinking (ACT) Program, first began in 1986 under the auspices of a Ford Foundation grant, seeks to promote critical thinking about vital issues from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Six to eight faculty mentors from different disciplines select a new topic each year and examine that topic with their students through class discussions, brown bag luncheons, films, guest speakers and essays. ACT was initially formed to incorporate the disciplines central to Xavier's liberal arts core curriculum: Communications, English, History, Philosophy and Theology. Periodically other disciplines have been represented such as Business, Biology, Chemistry, Education, Mathematics, Political Science and Sociology.

Previous ACT Themes:

2012-2013 Violence
2011-2012 Gender Justice
2010-2011 Inequality
2009-2010 Social Justice
2008-2009 Social Justice
2007-2008 Globalization: Benefits or Burdens?
2006-2007 Globalization
2005-2006 Propaganda
2004-2005 Peace
2003-2004 Violence
2002-2003 Migration
2001-2002 Social Construction of Reality
2000-2001 Globalization
1999-2000 Why 2 K?
1998-1999 Commodification
1997-1998 Generations and Traditions
1996-1997 Environmental Sustainability: City and Country
1995-1996 Environment: Global Perspective
1994-1995 Society and Self
1993-1994 Gender Issues
1992-1993 Nationalism and Ethnicity
1991-1992 Technology and Hegemony
1990-1991 Image and Reality
1989-1990 Gender and Class
1988-1989 The Global Village
1987-1988 War and Peace
1986-1987 Apartheid

Welcome to African American and Diaspora Studies

All cultures in the Atlantic world and beyond have been deeply affected by the consequences of the African Diaspora. Because of this, the study of African American and Diaspora Studies has been an important field in examining modernity and post-modernity on a global scale. Xavier University of Louisiana’s African American & Diaspora Studies Program (AADS) offers an interdisciplinary, transcultural, and comparative study of the lived experiences of people of African descent from a global perspective. The program's objective is to provide students with the foundational knowledge necessary to pursue a career or to conduct scholarly research in a field that emphasizes African and African Diaspora Studies. Our faculty is drawn from disciplines as diverse as literature, art, foreign languages, political science, psychology, music, history, sociology, performance, and education. Collaboratively, our faculty and students work together and with other area colleges and universities as well as the Louisiana community to study the historical and contemporary connections among Africans and their descendants.

At Xavier, faculty and students in AADS examine the histories, politics, economies, cultures, literatures, music, and iconography of people of African descent in the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa. Through the exploration of these fascinating topics, the minor in AADS encourages critical and analytical thinking as well as writing and public speaking skills. Our diverse core and affiliated faculty demonstrate the benefit of interdisciplinary study and multiple perspectives. Our minor in AADS enhances majors in Political Science, Pre-Law, History, Sociology and Public Health and combines coursework, service-learning, study abroad, and internships at major sites for AADS learning. Xavier’s Center for Undergraduate Research (CUR) as well as Xavier University and Tulane University's Latin American Studies Coalition (XUTULAC) have both funded numerous faculty-student research projects and programming that have resulted in conference papers, publications and lecture series that focus on AADS subject matter.


The College of Arts and Sciences has established an initiative to research and educate about the history, traditions and contributions of people of African descent to the United States, the Americas, and throughout the globe. As a historically black university, the study of the African Diaspora is one that supports the university’s mission of social justice and creating students who can become leaders in the African American community across all disciplines. With courses taught by faculty across the College of Arts and Sciences, Xavier faculty and students examine the black experience from multiple perspectives. Faculty and students have worked in the field on community, national, and international projects with the mission to examine, document, preserve and to empower. As an HBCU in New Orleans, Xavier is an ideal institution for such a center to support this vital historical and contemporary work. 


AADS Fine Art, Music & Culture: Xavier faculty and students engage in the study and exhibition of artistic, musical and other cultural traditions of African Americans and of the African Diaspora.

AADS Language Preservation: Xavier faculty and students study the languages of people of African descent throughout the Americas from Spanish, French to Haitian Creole. This study also looks at preservation, particularly through capturing the oral histories of groups like the Garifunas, a black, Hispanic group with a significant pre-Katrina population in New Orleans.

AADS History: Xavier faculty and students study the histories of the people of African descent across the diaspora. This includes the study of African civilizations, African American history and Latin American and Caribbean history.

AADS & the Americas: Xavier faculty and students study regional studies in Latin America and the Caribbean through examining the development of the Americas, U.S.-Latin American relations and migration and contributions of peoples across the region to the U.S. Xavier students have engaged in study abroad, research and professional experiences in the region in countries like Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Brazil, and Costa Rica, among other places.


February 11, 2017. Gert Town History Harvest. Organized by Xavier University Community Outreach Center, Art, History and Counseling departments. Additional Gert Town events scheduled in March 2017.

February 15 – April 15, 2017. ROOTS: An Exhibition. By Ron Bechet, Rontherin Ratliff, Patrick Waldema. Chapel Gallery, Xavier Administration Building. Organized by The Art Department. Open to the public.

February 18, 2017 9 – 4 p.m. Whitney Plantation Black History Month genealogy workshop field trip. Organized by Dr. Shearon Roberts and XUTULAC.

February 21, 2017 4 – 6 p.m. XU Administrative Auditorium. “Afro-Louisiana Slavery and Real Djangos” with Dr. Ibrahima Seck and Dr. Joy Banner. Sponsored by THE LAMP. Free and open to public.

February 22, 2017 7 p.m. The 38th Annual African American Music Festival. Sponsored by The Department of Music as part of the Elise Performing Arts Series. Admission is free and open to public.

March 25, 2017 4 p.m. “The Babydolls: Preserving Culture in New Orleans.” Documentary screening at the 31st Annual Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival. Produced by Dr. Tia Smith and Vashni Balleste ’15. Based on the book and work of Dr. Kim Vaz-Deville. The “Baby Dolls”: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition.

March 2017 Whitney Plantation visit. Organized by Dr. Susan Spillman. contact Open to students in AADS/FREN/SPAN 4025.

April 25-27, 2017. XU Jazz Festival. All concerts begin at 7 p.m. Sponsored by The Department of Music.

[Details: April 25th: Dr. Michael White and the Original Liberty Jazz Band | April 26th: The Kidd Jordan Ensemble | April 27th: X.U. Jazz Ensemble with soloist Donald Brown on piano performing African American composer Frank Foster’s work]

April 26 – 30, 2017. Festival International de Louisiane, Lafayette, La. field trip. Organized by Dr. Susan Spillman. contact Open to students in AADS/FREN/SPAN 4025.

Summer 2017. AADS, Art and Mass Communication in Cuba. Dr. Sarah Clunis will direct a faculty-led summer program in Cuba with an emphasis on Cuban Art and Culture. Dr. Shearon Roberts will direct a faculty-student project in Cuba on Cuban millennials and new media. Contact Dr. Sarah Clunis at and Dr. Shearon Roberts at Spanish Culture and Language in Costa Rica. Contact Ms. Giti Farudi:

Dual Degree Engineering Program

The Dual Degree Program in Engineering at Xavier University of Louisiana

  • B.A. or B.S. degree with a major at Xavier University of Louisiana
  • B.S. degree with an engineering major at a Partner Engineering School

Overview of the Program

The Xavier University Dual Degree Engineering Program is designed to give a solid academic background in the sciences and mathematics that are essential to persons who are interested in becoming engineers.

The main objective of the Dual Degree Engineering Program is to provide all students admitted to the program with the counseling, academic and other support services that will maximize their opportunity for completion of the first three years of the program.

At Xavier, students take three years of basic science, mathematics, engineering, and liberal arts courses. When the three-year program is completed successfully, students transfer to an Engineering School of their choice to complete training in a specialized area of engineering. It is expected that students will, with normal course loads, be able to complete their undergraduate training in two years at the Engineering School.

Participating Schools

Xavier currently has agreements with the following Engineering Schools: Georgia Institute of TechnologyLouisiana State UniversityNorth Carolina A&T State UniversityNotre-Dame UniversitySouthern University at Baton RougeTulane UniversityUniversity of Detroit MercyUniversity of New Orleans, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. Many more agreements are in working.

These agreements do not, however, preclude students from choosing and attending other Engineering Schools. Students in the Dual Degree Program should submit the application for a degree from Xavier at least one semester prior to their graduation from the Engineering school.

Advising, Support, and Cooperation

The Dual Degree Engineering Program director works closely with the departmental advisor for respective majors to create integrated academic schedules that best serve the students. The Dual Degree Engineering curriculum consists of a number of curriculum options. For more information about these options, students should consult with the Director of the Engineering Program.

Benefits of the program

The dual degree engineering program's greatest benefit is that it offers students the best of both worlds:

  • At Xavier University of Louisiana, students enjoy small classes and personal attention from faculty, helping them to thrive in demanding science, mathematics, and general education courses. Their humanities foundation gives them strong critical thinking, problem-solving, writing, and communications skills.
  • The program is flexible, allowing students to explore a variety of disciplines through coursework and to choose majors that reflect their interests.
  • extra time to pursue other academic, athletic, or extracurricular interests.
  • Opportunity to complete degrees in two diverse areas.

For more information, contact:
Dr. Anderson Sunda-Meya
Director, Dual Degree Engineering Program
Xavier University of Louisiana
231 Norman C. Francis Building
(504) 520-5107


The Performance Studies Lab creates student and faculty work that treats performance as an experiment. Our work draws from literature, cultural ritual, rites of passage, political action, civic engagement, and visual culture. The Lab was launched in 2013 by an interdisciplinary group of scholar-artists to produce performances, host festivals, and collaborate with local, national, and international artists.

All of our projects view performance from two perspectives: as an object to be analyzed (as if in a scientific laboratory) and as a way to share our creative research with audiences. Our annual season runs from September through April and includes a series of performances staged at Xavier, participation in national festivals, and student workshops.

Women's Studies

The Women's Studies Minor is offered under the coordination of the Women's Studies Advisor. The interdisciplinary approach of the Women's Studies Minor is designed to assist the student to develop a comprehensive body of knowledge that critically analyzes the gendering process from a multidisciplinary perspective, illuminated via themes drawn from the humanities, languages, and the social sciences. The Minor consists of eighteen (18) credits, six (6) of which are required credits in the courses listed in Group A and twelve (12) are elective credits to be taken from the list shown in Group B.

Group A: For a minor in Women's Studies, a student is required to complete the following two courses:

WMST 1030 Introduction to Women's Studies
WMST 3990 Feminist Theory

Group B: For a minor in Women's Studies, four elective courses are to be selected from among the following cross-listed courses. Two courses must be at the 3000 or 4000 level. At least two courses must be outside of the student's major discipline. For any other course to substitute for one of the courses listed below, prior written approval of the Women's Studies Advisor is required.