Georgetown’s foodies will no longer have to head off campus to get their culinary fix. The university plans to address students’ gastronomic interests through an initiative for a food studies cluster passed Friday to be implemented next semester.
The grouping, which is being spearheaded by associate professor of French and Francophone studies Sylvie Durmelat, will include courses from the French, biology, chemistry, history and anthropology deparments in the College, as well as the science, technology and international affairs major in the School of Foreign Service. Professors who add the food studies tag to their course on theMyAccess registration system will be responsible for ensuring that a portion of the course is devoted to the topic.
“It’s a way to make classes more visible to students and help them navigate the course catalog,” saidDurmelat, whose class “Food and the French Empire” will be included in the cluster. “It’s also a way for faculty to meet colleagues with similar interests and participate in an interdisciplinary dialogue.”
The food studies cluster is the second to be implemented by the registrar, after the race and ethnic studies cluster. Many students view the development of these groupings as a means of finding courses in areas about which they are passionate without having to rifle through all of the class listings.
“Clusters allow students to obtain a unique perspective on numerous subject areas they are interested in without being confined to … classes that they may not appreciate,” Adrian Mansylla (MSB’13) said.
The first curriculum cluster, race and ethnic studies, was implemented this semester due to concerns about diversity education on campus among faculty members.
“The administration isn’t taking the lead,” University Registrar and Assistant Provost John Pierce said. “This is an opportunity for creativity coming out of individual faculty members. It’s more flexible andfluid.”
The race and ethnic studies cluster offerings next semester include several classes from the history department, but many are cross-listed with the American studies or women’s and gender studies programs.
According to Pierce, introducing a cluster instead of a new minor or major has its own benefits. When an undergraduate college introduces a new minor, it must provide the necessary courses every semester, as opposed to a cluster, whose course offerings are variable depending on the semester.
Environmental studies and ethics have been informally proposed as two additional academic clusters. The development of further groupings depends on student interest.
“Clusters make experimentation more possible,” Pierce said. “That’s the beauty of it.”