Latest News

Founder of McNair Foundation Visits Bloomfield College, Meets McNair Scholars
On October 21, Bloomfield College held its 2nd McNair Research Symposium in the Shelby Art Room.
Bloomfield College Challenges NJ High Schools to Increase Access to Higher Ed
Bloomfield College announced the launch of a contest with, a scholarship platform that awards scholarships, at Bloomfield High School.
Bloomfield College Professor, Student Co-Present at Oxford University
There are many opportunities for Bloomfield College students to engage in independent research projects, often in collaboration with faculty members.
Grammy Nominated Bloomfield College Alumnus Speaks to Freshman Class
Al Sherrod Lambert ’08 is an American singer, songwriter, and producer who resides in Los Angeles. Lambert flew to his home state of New Jersey this past summer to speak to the incoming freshman class at Orientation.
The New Jersey School of Dramatic Arts to Host One-Act Play Festival at Bloomfield College
The evening will consist of twelve comedic and dramatic one-act plays done within two hours. Tickets will be available to Bloomfield College students at a discounted rate of $4.00.
Academic Achievements of Bloomfield College Students Celebrated at Annual Ceremony
In order to be invited to the ceremony, students had to have achieved Dean’s List in both the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters.
Bloomfield College Students Attend Annual Internship Fair, Network with Hiring Organizations
Well-known organizations including the FBI, the United States Army and Navy, Pennsylvania State Police, New Jersey Peace Action, Vitas Healthcare, and Kidville of Montclair, gathered in the Multipurpose Room on campus.

Ada McKenzie: Sankofa's Songbirds

By: Andrew Mees, Director of College and Athletics Communications

Inspiration can come in all shapes and sizes.

For Assistant Professor of World Literature Dr. Ada McKenzie, the inspiration for her recent paper Sankofa’s Songbirds: African American Children as Culture Bearers in Jazz-Infused Children’s Literature came in pint-sized form; the kindergarten students she taught in the early stages of her career in education.

It was during a typical period of youthful unrest when McKenzie gathered her students together to read them the popular children’s book Jazzy Miz Mozetta, a story illustrating the powers of jazz music in an urban African-American neighborhood. McKenzie was amazed by her students’ reaction and enthrallment in the tale, from the language utilized to accentuate the sounds of music to the artwork accompanying the story.

Through this educational experience, Sankofa’s Songbirds was born, a paper published in October by Routledge African Series in an anthology entitled IdentityQuest: African Youth in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture. Examining jazz-infused children’s literature and its ability serve as an educational tool, the work utilizes the Akan word “Sankofa” in its title, meaning, “to go back and retrieve what has been lost”. The choice highlights the musical genre’s ability to connect people of all ages (including the “Songbirds” of America’s younger generations), and further the cultural impact the style continues to have for years to come.

“In African-American and Afro-Caribbean cultures, the connections between various disciplines are invaluable, because the arts have played a pivotal role in shaping the cultural narratives which resound throughout the children’s literature,” McKenzie said. “That is why I felt jazz music was such an important topic to shed light on ⎯ it serves as a vehicle to connect generations, and these connections are so important to maintaining our cultural heritage.”

Earning a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UMass-Amherst in 2007, McKenzie has presented numerous academic papers, and while an undergraduate at Columbia University served as a Co-Editor of the book Building Self-Esteem in Young Women (published in 1999). Joining the Bloomfield College faculty in Sept. 2013, McKenzie hopes her work will help inspire educators to take a closer look at the powerful impact music can have on the preservation of cultural traditions.

“My hope is that this research will inspire other scholars and K-12 educators to think deeply about the connections between African-American music and literature, and to value the synergy that results from an interdisciplinary explanation of both,” she said. “My work shows that jazz can be used as an entertaining way to educate our youth, and pass our heritage on to the next generation. It is now up to us, as educators, to utilize its powers.”


Have an accomplishment or recent work you’d like to see highlighted? Send us an email at and tell us your story.