Main campus exec faculty green lights diversity requirement
On Friday, April 24, the Main Campus Executive Faculty voted to approve the “Engaging Diversity/Differences” proposal which would incorporate diversity into the undergraduate core curriculum. Over 35 students gathered outside the meeting in Dahlgren Quad for a final show of support for the proposal. The vote is one of the final steps in the process of implementing a new core requirement.
Professor Ian Gale, chair of the MCEF, explained that other bodies must still approve the proposal even after Friday’s vote. “Once the MCEF has approved the proposal, it must still go to Provost [Robert] Groves, President [John] DeGioia, and the Board of Directors for final approval,” he wrote in an April 13 email to the Voice. The Board of Directors is expected to vote in June.
The “Engaging Diversity/Differences” proposal, if the board approves it, will require undergraduate students take at least two courses related to issues of diversity during their time at Georgetown. The Last Campaign for Academic Reform, the student group involved in drafting the proposal, has stressed that the requirement would not place further academic burden on students. Because the proposal involves an overlay, courses that fulfill the diversity requirement would also fulfill any other requirements. For this reason, students would not necessarily need to add more courses to their schedule. The proposal would first apply to the class of 2020.
According to the LCAR, the effort to establish a diversity requirement at Georgetown dates back 25 years. “[Past activists] laid down the foundation for current students to continue this important work,” said Esther Owolabi (COL ’15), a student leader of the LCAR. “I am grateful to have been part of this movement.” The Provost’s Committee on Diversity was also involved in drafting the proposal.
While this incarnation of the requirement has been in the works since December, it first gained widespread student support in February, after a cartoon appearing in the Voice began a campus-wide conversation about unconscious bias. The LCAR circulated a petition to harness the community energy.
Before “Engaging Diversity/Differences” could go to the MCEF, it was first reviewed and revised by the Core Curriculum Committee. The CCC overlooks all changes to the core curriculum, considering both purpose and implementation. Vice Provost for Education and co-chair of the CCC, Randall Bass said that the committee met more frequently this spring due to the urgency of the requirement.
Though the CCC revised the language of the proposal, Owolabi insists the principle of the requirement is the same.
“Students will be able to reflect on their experiences,” she said. “[They will] become more aware of the conditions that shape our understanding of the world in which we live.”