By FATIMA FAKHREDDINE, Staff Writer
The Michigan Council for the Social Studies named Ahmad Rahman, University of Michigan-Dearborn associate professor of history, the 2013 College Professor of the Year.
“It was both a surprise and a great honor to be named College Professor of the Year,” continued Rahman, “I did not know others were paying any attention to what I was doing, and it was gratifying to know that so many hours of labor were appreciated.”
History has always been a hobby for Rahman, whose passion for history has sparked many of his accomplishments.
“I spent four years working with Detroit history and social studies teachers preparing digital modules to insert African and African American history into the curriculums of middle and high schools. I suggested this after we saw that Detroit had no money for new history books,” said Rahman.
Director of the Detroit Public Schools Office of Social Studies, Sheryl Jones shared the vision with Rahman. They wanted to use 21st century technology and computers to help educate middle and high school students about African and African American history.
“She also found the resources to make the work I did possible with a team of experienced and very knowledgeable Detroit history and social studies teachers,” Rahman continued, “The books being used did not adequately address African and African American history in a city that is over 86% African American.”
Rahman is not only helping educate Detroit students about African and African American history, he is also starting programs that will help the youth.
“I am now working on a program, for which I got a community-based research grant, called Cyberdad©. In this program we distribute the phone numbers of volunteer Cyberdads to at-risk fatherless youths in Detroit,” Rahman continued, “We encourage them to text or call one of the Cyberdads in our brochure when they need advice. We especially encourage them to contact us before making decisions that could impact their own and the lives of others.”
So, what is the motivation behind Rahman’s accomplishments? His passion to find solutions for those in need of it.
“Much of the energy of us academics goes toward achieving status within academia. Many of the best minds that could challenge and solve problems in the inner city are exclusively occupied writing academic books and articles that have no impact on the most important issues facing America,” Rahman continued, “Under the mentorship of Dr. Gloria House (current Director of African and African American Studies at UM-Dearborn) who was my professor as an undergrad, I have always sought to balance academic achievement with what I regard as the more important goals of achieving real solutions to problems for people outside academia. At one time during my youth I called myself a revolutionary. Now I see myself as more of a solutionary.”
Rahman is currently finishing up a book about the history of the Michigan Chapter of the Black Panther Party.