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Frederick Douglass Institute

Frederick DouglassGuided by the spirit and legacy of distinguished orator and statesman Frederick Douglass, the Frederick Douglass Institute Collaborative seeks to create inclusive university communities and to exemplify the spirit of Douglass' work through:
  • Dissemination of scholarship and research in presentation and publication,
  • Encouraging the use of best practices in classroom and online teaching, and the
  • Promotion of the principles of social justice through the student and faculty participation within the university community.

Clarion University seeks to infuse diversity and equity as integral parts of educational excellence and civic engagement with a shared sense of purpose, commitment and respect for cultures, perspectives, backgrounds and experiences.

Frederick Douglass Fellowships

PennWest Clarion has established the Frederick Douglass Fellowships to offer opportunities to doctoral candidates who are pursuing a career in college teaching. The fellowships are designed to attract advanced graduate students primarily in the areas of STEM, Health Professions, Business and other fields. The Frederick Douglass Fellows are expected to make at least two presentations on their dissertation topic to the Clarion University community, and to participate in on-campus activities.

This program is part of a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Frederick Douglass Collaborative that is intended to commemorate Douglass' life-long contributions to equality and public service. The goals of the program are also consistent with the University's mission to serve historically under-represented populations.

Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens, and must have completed all doctoral work, except the dissertation. It is expected that the applicant would have completed the dissertation or would complete the dissertation by the end of the academic year in which they are hired.

Terms: The fellow will be compensated at the Instructor 1 level. The University will provide academic support including office space, computer and library privileges.

Application: Applicants must submit application to Ms. Amy Salsgiver. Review of applications will continue until available positions are filled.

Applications should include a:

  • Full curriculum vitae with the appropriate cover letter.
  • Graduate school transcript (a copy of the original transcript is acceptable).
  • Letter from the dissertation advisor regarding your qualifications for this program.
  • One-page summary of your dissertation topic.
  • Letter from at least two additional references regarding your experience and ability (if you had teaching experience, these letters should include information relative to that experience).

This fellowship offers opportunities for a meaningful career in college teaching. For additional information, please feel free to contact The Office of Social Equity at (814) 393-2109.

C Matthews

Dr. Cahndice Matthews

Dr. Cahndice Matthews was a Frederick Douglass Dissertation Scholar at Clarion University in 2005. She was a Frederick Douglass Postdoctoral Scholar at Edinboro in the summer of 2008; just prior to her tenure-track position at Clarion.

"The Frederick Douglass Summer Scholar Fellowship Program at Clarion provided me with an entrance into academe. I came with 22 years of public school teaching experience; but none in higher education. Clarion's FD Summer Scholars Fellowship gave me footing; with a summer scholar appointment within the Department of Education. That opportunity granted me experience in the academy, with mentorship. Once my degree was completed in 2007, I was offered a tenure-track assistant professorship the very next year! Since then, I have earned tenure and been promoted to Associate Professor."

Uraina Pack

Dr. Uraina Pack

In 2002, Dr. Uraina N. Pack became the First Frederick Douglass Scholar at Clarion University, while ABD at the University of Kentucky.  She is a native of Brooklyn, NY, and a graduate of Clark Atlanta University, a historically black/college university in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 2003, she was one of two First Frederick Scholars at Lock Haven University.  She joined the English department at Clarion University and completed her Ph.D. in 2004.

Her dissertation titled: "'I knew what I did and I did it with deliberate calculation': Anxiety and Tricksterism in African American Autobiography" focuses on folklore as cultural retention and resistance for enslaved and oppressed African American communities. 

She is the former editor of Making Connections: A Journal for Teachers of Cultural Diversity published by the PASSHE Frederick Douglass Collaborative.  In 2015, she published “From the Darkness Cometh the Light: Lucy Delaney's 1892 Slave Narrative, Manifest Destiny, and Democracy.”  Using her fall 2020 sabbatical she completed her publication on John Greenleaf Whittier, the Massachusetts abolitionist poet.

Dr. Pack teaches African American, American, and Native American Literature and Women's Studies courses at Clarion University.  She serves as co-chair of the Black Studies Minor. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Carlson Library space

Clarion University's Carlson Library has designated space for resources dedicated to the furthering of the values of Frederick Douglass. The collection contains 481 items for the enlightenment of the masses.

The Frederick Douglass Collection of Carlson Library has a dual emphasis: (1.) Increasing the number of titles acquired for ethnic minority studies for children and young adults; and (2.) Continued development of the library's African-American history collection, especially in the areas of slavery related to his life and times.

The titles acquired for ethnic minority studies for children and young adults have been integrated into the Juvenile Collection of Carlson Library (see map below).

The titles acquired for African-American history collection, especially in the area of slavery related to his life and times, are located in the library's Frederick Douglass Collection (see map below).

Carlson Library also acquired the American Slavery: A Composite Autobiography database for its Frederick Douglass Collection. This database contains nearly 4,000 narratives told by ex-slaves collected under the auspices of the Works Projects Administration between 1936 and 1938. 

 Carlson Library map


Frederick Douglas Institute collaborative

The Frederick Douglass Institute Collaborative exists across the 14 universities of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education. See what other schools are doing to encourage the ideals of Frederick Douglass.

underrepresented populations

Sankofa BirdFrederick Douglass fought for underrepresented populations during his lifetime. Clarion University seeks to offer avenues of education that are true to his example.

Two of these programs include the Black Studies and the Women and Gender Studies minors.

The Sankofa bird is a symbol originating in West Africa, representing the need for one to reflect on the past to build on the future. Clarion University students, in your academic studies, you are reflecting on the past and building on your careers as future leaders.

Students gain insight from analytical courses in the study of African and African-American culture. The Black Studies Minor offers courses that study in depth African and African-American art, communication, education, geography, history, literature, music and sociology.

Please contact Dr. Brian Roberts for additional information regarding the Black Studies Minor.

With a B.S. in Integrative Studies: Women and Gender Studies or a Minor in Women and Gender Studies, you develop problem-solving and cross-cultural communication skills that employers believe help you to value diversity in the workplace and function effectively in team-based settings.

Please contact Dr. Melissa Downes for additional information regarding the B.S. in Integrative Studies: Women and Gender Studies or the WGS Minor.

Local history and resources

Heath signOther individuals from the area upheld Douglass’ ideals. One such contributor to the cause of equality was outspoken abolitionist, Judge Elijah Heath, from Brookville.

In 1835, Heath and others rescued two fugitive slaves, Charles Brown and William Parker. A Virginia slaveholder sued Heath for his actions and he was fined. Undeterred, Heath continued his Underground Railroad activities. His Brookville residence (below) is marked with an historical plaque (at left).Heath house

meet the scholars

The following are the Frederick Douglass Scholars selected beginning spring 2021:

CuffieAayana Cuffie is a junior majoring in sociology and psychology. Cuffie is from Philadelphia and considers herself goal oriented and determined when it comes to accomplishing her goals. Upon graduation, she would like to further her skills and studies into the field of human resources.

MockCorey Mock is a junior majoring in secondary education major with a social studies concentration. Mock is from Hanover, Pennsylvania, which is located 20 minutes away from Gettysburg. His interests include fitness, nutrition, and going to the gym. He's also involved in the men's swim team.

MoyerKyle Moyer is a majoring in finance. Moyer has played baseball his entire life until college because he decided to focus on schoolwork more than sports. Moyer describes himself as a very focused person and is very determined to reach his goals in life. Fitness is his lifestyle, and it has been since he was 14 years old.

PotterCheyanne Potter is a junior majoring in integrated studies with a triple minor in psychology, social work and Black studies. Outside of school, some of her interests include singing, watching scary movies and being with her friends. She's also a member of the Black Student Union, CU Cares, Divine Dolls, P.U.S.H and a Golden Eagle Cheerleader. "I am more than honored to be chosen as a Fredrick Douglas Scholar and excited to mentor!"

SquairAyanna Squair is a sophomore majoring in criminal justice with a minor in sociology. She plans to be a paralegal for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania immediately after graduating from Clarion University. "I am beyond blessed and grateful for the Fredrick Douglass Scholar Program. Without this program, my directions in life would be altered. This program provided me opportunities and chances I would have never imagine as a young black woman from Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania."

WhiteNyshae White is a junior majoring in rehabilitative science with a concentration in pre-occupational therapy. White is from Philadelphia and believes that being a Fredrick Douglas scholar is important because it allows insight into our historical past, brings awareness to others and companionship amongst ourselves. "We can be a movement of change that others will see and can participate in; and that is what being a role model is all about."


In the news

Students and faculty selected for Frederick Douglass Institute Collaborative Project - Clarion University students and faculty have been selected to serve and research on “I Fear for My Life: They That Mourn” project for the Frederick Douglass Institute Collaborative for the State System of Higher Education. Read more.

For more information contact:

Amy Salsgiver,
Frederick Douglass Director

It is the policy of PennWest Clarion that there shall be equal opportunity in all of its educational programs, services, and benefits, and there shall be no discrimination with regard to a student's or prospective student's gender, gender identity, race or color, ethnicity, national origin or ancestry, age, mental or physical disability, religion or creed, genetic information, affectional or sexual orientation, veteran status, or other classifications that are protected under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other pertinent state and federal laws and regulations. Direct inquiries to the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Social Equity, 423 Becht Hall 16214-1232; Email or phone 814-393-2109. Inquiries may also be directed to the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, Department of Education, 330 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20201.

Last Updated 8/19/22