Report on Diversity Requirements at Model Institutions
Curriculum Research Team
Merritt Moseley, Chair
This report is based on information collected from institutions leading the way in the development of diversity curricula, both within and outside of general education programming.
Curriculum Transformation and Diversity Requirement
"Colleges and universities across the country are transforming their curricula to correct past exclusions; to better prepare students for increasingly complex and diverse communities and workplaces; and to provide students with the most current and intellectually comprehensive understanding of history, culture, and society." Debra Humphreys and Carol Geary Schneider, eds., Diversity Digest.
Critical Issues and Questions for Diversity Requirement at UNCA
In designing the diversity requirement component of general education, following issues should be considered, questions asked, and the strategic decisions should be made on each issue.
1. The Content Issue--What should be the content of the diversity requirement?
a. Global Diversity or US Diversity, or both (Both: Iowa State University, Illinois Wesleyan University)
b. Focus on race and ethnicity or including gender, class, sexual orientation, others (Race/Ethnicity: University of Michigan, UNC-Chapel Hill Multidimensional: Kent State University, St. Edward’s University, etc)
c. Cultural dimension and/or power, inequality and discrimination(St. Edward’s University, San Jose State University)
2. The Structuring Issue--What should be the ideal structure for the diversity requirement?
a. One course selected out of many courses designated as a diversity course (University of Michigan, UNC-Chapel Hill)
b. One required course (Iowa State University)
c. Two required sequential courses (Colloquium and Seminar, Occidental College)
d. Four required courses (Fairleigh Dickinson University)
e. Six core required courses (Cultural Foundations Program, St. Edward’s University)
3. The Transformation Issue--How can we transform the G.E. curriculum and the courses for diversity requirement?
a. Identify, designate the existing courses meeting the diversity criteria.
b. Create and add new one or two required diversity courses
c. Transform the Humanities Program.
4. The Pedagogical Issue--What can be the most effective way of achieving the goal?
a. Interdisciplinary and team teaching
b. Discipline-based but Diversity-focused
Some Diversity Requirement Models
U.S. Diversity/International Perspectives Requirements: Iowa State University
To achieve the goal of preparing students "to meet the challenges of responsible citizenship and effective professional roles in a culturally diverse global community," Iowa State University implemented the U.S. Diversity and International Perspectives requirements.
Difference, Power, and Discrimination Program: Oregon State University
The DPD Program works to create a more inclusive curriculum that addresses issues of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other institutionalized systems of inequality. The program provides faculty and staff with the training and resources needed to develop or modify comparative diversity courses.
American Pluralism and the Search for Equality: SUNY-Buffalo
SUNY-Buffalo has instituted a one-semester core course requirement in American Pluralism for every student at this large public research university. Courses meeting the requirement come from many departments, but all sections must address common goals and criteria.
Race or Ethnicity (ROE) Requirement: University of Michigan
Approved by the Literature, Science, and the Arts (LS&A) faculty and effective for students entering the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LS&A) in Fall 1991, each student must take, as part of graduation requirements, one course that addresses issues arising from racial or ethnic intolerance. This requirement is part of the Michigan Mandate, first set forth in 1988, designed to make the University of Michigan a national and world academic leader in the racial and ethnic diversity of its faculty, students, and staff and to link academic excellence and social diversity.
Cultural Studies Colloquia and Seminar: Occidental College
The first-year Cultural Studies Colloquia and Seminars comprise the centerpiece of Occidental's Core Program. The fall colloquia are team-taught courses in which faculty from several different departments join with students in the exploration of human culture from a variety of disciplinary as well as cultural perspectives. Each colloquium is followed in the spring by research seminars in which increased emphasis is placed on writing research-based essays, and on mastering the skills necessary to the location of relevant materials (in both print and electronic media), the construction of evidence-based arguments, and the conventions of academic discourse.
American Pluralism and Comparative World Cultures: Fairleigh Dickinson University
Fairleigh Dickinson University has for ten years addressed American pluralism and comparative world cultures in a four-semester required core curriculum taken by all students. The four courses include 'Perspectives on the Individual,' 'The American Experience: Quest for Freedom,' 'Cross-Cultural Perspectives,' and 'Global Issues.'
Cultural Foundations Curriculum: Saint Edward's University
Saint Edward's multidisciplinary six course requirement is designed to help students develop a balanced understanding and appreciation for their own and other cultures. This site describes the general education requirement and includes a number of syllabi.
Cultural Encounters Program: St. Lawrence University
All courses within the Cultural Encounters Program follow curricular guidelines which specify that the courses include content from cultures commonly understood as "Western" and "non-Western. "Students in this program are asked to study other cultures while simultaneously reflecting on their own. The Program develops "writing-intensive" pedagogies, which includes exploring ways in which journals connect students' personal experiences with the academic content of the program, particularly in relation to study abroad.