On Wednesday afternoon, Georgetown University faculty members and students met at the second town hall about the curriculum and faculty hiring changes recommended by the Academic Working Group last week. While there were only a handful of faculty members who were not associated with the Academic Working Group present at the town hall, students filled the rest of the seats in White Gravenor 208, and some stood at the back and sides of the room.
Chaired by Professors Eusebio Mujal-León of the Government Department and Veronica Salles Reese, the Director of the Spanish and Portuguese, the Academic Working Group is one of three working groups that President John DeGioia established last spring in response to the Student Commission for Unity to increase diversity at Georgetown University. The group is made up of seven students and eleven faculty members.
“We proposed three major avenues,” said Mujal-León, who began the meeting by summarizing the recommendations proposed in the Academic Working Group’s report. “[The first leg] is increasing or extending the hires [of faculty] who are of underrepresented persons in society. The second leg is placing these hires in departments in order to enhance African American studies, Latino Hispanic studies, and Asian American Studies. The third leg is a diversity requirement for students.”
In his introduction, Mujal-León acknowledged that there were still disagreements between students and faculty on some recommendations within the Academic Working Group. He also addressed the proposed diversity requirement for the curriculum, which is contested by many students and faculty members.
The Academic Working Group currently suggests that the core curriculum should be amended to include two courses that have a “diversity stamp.”
Salles Reese explained the requirement, by contrasting it with other required courses at Georgetown, like theology. While “theology is part of a department,” she said, “diversity has different definitions to different groups. A historian may see ‘diversity’ differently than someone who is a sociology professor.”