Columbia College Chicago’s Music Department to Spearhead Center for Black Music Research

CHICAGO (April 14, 2016)—Columbia College Chicago’s Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) has merged with the college’s Music Department, launching a new curricular and operational effort to further the preservation and promotion of scholarly research and knowledge of black music. The CBMR serves as a global nexus for scholars, researchers and musicians to engage with the materials and information that document the black music experience across Africa and the diaspora. 

The initiative to further enhance the scholarly exchange between the CBMR and the college’s curriculum comes off the heels of Columbia’s Strategic Plan implementation, which began this academic year. Embedding the research and teaching initiatives of the CBMR within the college’s Music Department will both enhance the college’s curriculum and enhance the exposure and influence of CBMR’s scholarly work and role in black music preservation.

The renowned black music archive will have a permanent home in Columbia’s Library, which will actively provide stewardship for the collections and facilitate broad access to the materials for the public, for students, faculty and staff at Columbia, and for scholars and enthusiasts from around the world. The CBMR will also support the continued publication of CBMR’s Black Music Research Journal.

Interim Chair of Music, Rosita M. Sands, Ed.D., and Associate Chair of Music, Nathan Bakkum, Ph.D., will serve as Interim Director and Interim Associate Director, respectively, of the CBMR in the transitional year. Sands and Bakkum will lead a search in 2016-17 for a new permanent faculty member in the Music Department who will also serve as Director of the CBMR. The newly added position is slated to be filled in the fall of 2017.

Columbia College Chicago is a private, non-profit urban institution offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative arts, media, liberal arts and business for 9,000 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens. For more information, visit


Media Contact: Cara Birch, 312.369.8695,