Dr. Sydney Freeman Junior made history becoming the first Black man to be promoted to full professor at University of Idaho

Dr. Sydney Freeman Junior has made history becoming the first African-American man, descended from slaves, to be promoted full professor at the University of Idaho according to Idaho 2 News.

Dr. Freeman says he was able to become a full Professor in five years and seven months on tenure track. When it usually takes most faculty 10 – 12 years to earn this rank and the average age is 55-years-old, while Freeman is only 36-years-old. Dr. Freeman graduated in 2011 from Auburn University with a degree in Higher Education Administration. After he graduated he was hired at Tuskegee University as a Director in the Teaching and Learning Center for three and a half years. Then he began working as an Associate Professor at the University of Idaho, before becoming a Full Professor. Dr. Freeman says he believes there should be more emphasis on hiring and retaining faculty of color.

“If we want to see Idaho grow and be more inclusive, we have to bring that inclusion in and so it’s important for us to not only have conversations about it but actually invest in diversifying faculty and staff but also retaining them,” Dr. Freeman said.

Dr. Freeman says he was teaching from home when he got  the news he was a Full Professor. He said he was excited to share the experience with his students.

Dr. Wudneh Admassu was the first person of African descent, born and raised in Ethiopia, to earn the rank of Full Professor at the University of Idaho. Additionally in 2019, Professor Shaakirrah Sanders became and remains the only black woman to earn the rank of Full Professor at the University of Idaho the news outlet reported.

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