Diversity Class Proposed to Curriculum

Currently, a proposal for adding a university wide diversity requirement for all undergraduates at UVM is going through the Faculty Senate. Recently, the Student Government Association passed a resolution in support of integrating the diversity requirement into the curriculum.

After going through the Faculty Senate, the proposal will go through the Provost’s Office and the President’s Office. The original proposal for the diversity requirement was created by the Diversity Curriculum Committee.

For many years, UVM has been trying to work on the issue of diversity. According to national trends regarding diversity, UVM is behind compared to peer institutions. The university began to work on this issue in 1986 and 1987 when the Non-European Cultures requirement was introduced into the College of Arts and Sciences. Later in 1992 and 1993, the university introduced the Race Relations and Ethnic Diversity in the United States requirement, also for the College of Arts and Sciences. Soon after, other colleges created their own diversity requirement. However, the university has yet to include a diversity requirement for the entire university.

The recognition of this issue caused the President’s Commission on Racial Diversity to form the Diversity Curriculum Committee to create a diversity requirement for the entire university.

The Diversity Curriculum Committee, or DCC, was formed by Provost Bramley in January of 2005. Bramley had the committee create a six-credit diversity requirement for the university in February of 2005.

The Chair of the DCC is Vice Provost William Coleman. Other members of the DCC also include Jim Burgmeier, the Chair of Curricular Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate, and chairs of individual school and college curriculum committees at the university.

The goals of the DCC were to address different issues regarding diversity and implementing them into the curriculum without increasing the total number of credits needed for graduation.

The diversity requirement that the DCC developed is a six-credit requirement which undergraduates must complete before graduation. For the diversity requirement, there are two categories. Undergraduates will have to complete a three-credit course from Category 1 which will include courses in race and racism in the U.S and either a second three credit course from Category 1 or a three credit course from Category 2 which will include courses in human and societal diversity.

According to this proposal, it is recommended that undergraduates complete the new requirement before the end of sophomore year.

Before this requirement goes into full effect, there has been a proposal for a transitional diversity requirement. During this transitional period which, according to the proposal, will not begin until the Fall 2006 semester, undergraduates will be required to take a three credit diversity course from either Category 1 or Category 2. After the transitional period, the six-credit requirement will be implemented in either the Fall 2007 or Fall 2008 semester.

Through creating the university wide diversity requirement, the President’s Commission on Racial Diversity has many goals in mind for the undergraduate students. Such goals include an appreciation of diverse cultures and global issues concerning diversity, an understanding of democracy in the U.S. and how it is linked to issues concerning diversity. An additional goal of the requirement is to create a better understanding of prejudice and the discrimination of people of different races and backgrounds.

With the proposal for the university wide diversity requirement, UVM hopes to stimulate students intellectually and to make students more aware of important issues in the world.