Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Ethnic Studies Minor Proposed

A proposed minor in diversity, culture and ethnic studies went before the College Academic Council at the end of October.

Although students have previously discussed the option informally, the minor is now supported by the Cura Personalis Initiative, the student-run effort to address diversity issues that presented the preliminary proposal Oct. 22, and Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson.

The minor would give students the opportunity to learn about their own cultures and compare that to others.

“Learning about your history and learning about your culture while also learning about other peoples’ cultures, is invaluable in American society,” CPI Co-Director Esther Owolabi (COL ’15) said.

Planning is still at an early stage, and the details of the potential minor are not completely clear.

“We just met with the College Academic Council last week, so we haven’t really sat down and really figured out the curriculum for the minor, but most minors are six courses long,” Owolabi said.

Because there is so much to figure out, the minor will not be implemented for at least two to three years, according to CAC President Kamil Lupicki (COL ’14).

“[The administration is] supportive, but to be realistic, it takes a very long time for these to get through,” Lupicki said.

The College Academic Council met with College Dean Chester Gillis Oct. 25 to discuss what would be involved in creating this new minor.

“The students’ idea for a new minor was provocative and interesting. At the moment, it is an idea that needs further development,” Gillis wrote in an email.

The six required courses for the minor have yet to be decided, as well as the faculty chair and professors. Although the minor could be composed of pre-existing courses slightly modified to fit the new angle, it would also most likely require an introductory course and a capstone, which would need funding.

“Anything that’s change to the curriculum at Georgetown, it’s very difficult to do, because there are so many requirements already. There are so many students that are going to have backlash,” Owolabi said.

However, the team intends to persist.

“Of course we’re going to face barriers, but right now we’re optimistic that we even have the chance to have these discussions or the possibility to implement this minor,” she said.

The members of the CPI have so far identified 50 alumni who were willing to donate to the creation of the minor.

To gauge general interest in this minor, the group also distributed an exit survey at a college majors fair two weeks ago.

CPI hopes that the development of an ethnic studies minor could lead to the development of a cultural and ethnic studies center, which could serve as a space for the program.

“It could be a really good way of getting our foot in the academic door,” CPI Co-Director Megan Griffin (COL ’14) said.

Owolabi added that she hopes the minor could influence diversity not only in academic life, but also in social life at Georgetown.

“I’d like to come back to Georgetown in 10 years for my reunion and see a more integrated Georgetown,” she said.

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