Multicultural requirement updated for the first time since 1994
The general education multicultural requirement is in the process of being changed to better educate students on multiculturalism in the United States and abroad.
These changes come two and a half years after the Black Student Task Force rallied for racial equality and presented a list of demands to the university that included updating the multicultural requirement.
The current requirement has students take two courses out of three possible categories: Identity and Pluralism, American Cultures and International Cultures. A student would have to take two classes total to satisfy the requirement, as long as the classes were from different categories. This requirement has not been updated since 1994.
“The current multicultural requirement allows a student to graduate without having taken a course on the US, and particularly not having studied anything in relation to the racial history of the US,” Dennis Galvan, vice provost for international affairs and interim vice president and dean of undergraduate studies said.
The forecasted changes to the requirement will discard the Identity Pluralism and Tolerance category from the general education multicultural requirements, leaving American Cultures and International Cultures as the two required categories.
With the proposed changes, students will have to take one class from the American Cultures category and one class from the International Cultures category.
This not only ensures that students will learn about America’s racial history but also will make registering for classes less confusing, according to Senate President Chris Sinclair. The Senate is working on changes to the general education requirements as well.
These updates are not finalized and the working group on intercultural and inclusive teaching encourages students to give feedback on the new requirement by emailing [email protected].
The proposed requirement, which was presented to the Senate Feb. 28 by the working group on intercultural and inclusive teaching, will be drafted into a motion in the coming weeks and voted on by the Senate.
Kassia Dellabough, professor of architecture and allied arts, said she found it really inspiring that students elicited the change in the first place.
The rally and list of demands that sparked this change in fall 2015 aimed to increase awareness and elicit change on the safety and presence of black students on campus.
Galvan said the protests were in response to national and campus trends that negatively affected the black student experience.
The rally occurred around the same time that similar protests at universities across the country were happening and the national “Black Lives Matter” campaign gained traction, according to Galvan.
Following the rally, the Black Student Task Force presented their list of demands to the university that included proposed changes to the multicultural requirement.
The university has been working to address the issues with the multicultural requirement since winter of 2016.
The working group on intercultural and inclusive teaching promoted two events to receive faculty and student input.
On March 1, faculty was invited to the EMU Miller room to discuss changes they wanted to see in the multicultural requirement.
On March 2, students were invited to attend a similar event specifically catered to students, Galvan said. The working group on intercultural and inclusive teaching reached out to various student groups via email that have expressed interest in this issue in the past, such as the Black Student Task Force, the Black Student Union and UO Black Women of Achievement.
No students attended the event, however, the working group on intercultural and inclusive teaching encourages students to send in any feedback.
“The idea that we could do more to help students to understand the US and multiculturalism within the US is a valuable goal,” Galvan said.
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