Diversity courses approved by faculty

Four courses have been approved for students to select in order to meet the diversity requirement for graduation, 13 face a vote in the fall and 29 more are under consideration. All undergraduates, beginning with the Class of '99, must select at least one course that treats the issues of diversity and pluralism in American society.

Students may select this class from among the requirements in the core curriculum, courses in their major or minor or as elective.

Dr. Alan Katz, professor of politics and chair of the Diversity Course Subcommittee, announced that the four courses approved by the subcommittee and by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee are: Law, Women and Work, (a Business law course in the School of Business); Working Women in the Twentieth Century (History); Introduction to Feminist Theory (Politics); and Race and Ethnic Relations (Sociology).

Also approved by the subcommittee and to be considered early in the semester by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee are: Introduction to Black Studies (Black Studies); Excellent Women, Deviant Women: The Female Experience (History); Liberation Theology (Religious Studies); American Class Structure (Sociology); U.S. Latino/Latina Literature (Spanish) and eight courses in the English Department: Introduction to Literature; Race, Culture and Realism; African-American Literature and Culture; Early African-American Literature; Africa-American Fiction; Introduction to Cultural Studies; and African-American Women's Writing.

Dr. Katz said, "The creation and approval of these diversity courses is another indication of the faculty's recognition of the need to sensitize our students to the increasingly diverse nature of American society.

"America is a multicultural society today - more than ever before - and our students need to be aware of the role that factors such as race, class and gender play in that society."

The approval of the courses culminates a three-year project that began with a presentation to the General Faculty by several African American students concerned about racism in America. Over the next year, Dr. Katz and then-Dean of the School of Nursing Dr. Nancy Fasano co-chaired a subcommittee that received a variety of suggestions from the faculty, including the proposal that every student at Fairfield complete a course dealing with diversity. The faculty approved the proposal in the spring of 1995 and over the following summer 21 faculty members attended a 10-day conference at Williams on multiculturalism and diversity.

At the end, a statement was approved declaring: "The required diversity course will explore in a systematic manner the connections among race, class and gender in looking at issues of privilege and difference in U.S. society. These courses may also consider additional issues, such as religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity. Although diversity components are encouraged in all courses, introductory courses by their general nature will not normally fulfill this requirement."

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 1, 1996

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