A new Asian American studies minor, proposed by the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity, has gained the support of student organizations and will soon be submitted for approval.
Asma Barlas, professor and program director of CSCRE, drafted and gave the proposal to Leslie Lewis, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, hoping to encourage her to hire faculty with experience in this area.
Barlas said the department chairs in the school will meet May 18 to discuss the possibility of hiring an additional faculty member to support the minor. The proposal will not be submitted to Ithaca College’s Academic Policies Committee for approval until the department can hire faculty to solidify the program.
The minor would be available no sooner than Fall 2012.
Senior Sherry Shen, president of the Asian American Alliance, said the organization has been a strong supporter of the initiative throughout its development and has made an effort to sponsor events and programs that would facilitate the creation of Asian American Studies programming on campus.
Sophomore Kristy Zhen, AAA co-vice president of public relations, said she conducted research on what an Asian American studies program at the college might look like with senior Kaitlin Hibbs and sophomore Kristiana Reyes through a film about how the college might implement the minor.
The documentary titled “Missing in History,” will be screened at Cinemapolis on May 7 and at the college on May 9. In addition to the film, Zhen said the club plans to circulate a petition to gather student support for the program.
On April 19, AAA sponsored the “Future of the Asian-American Studies Program,” where Barlas explained her proposal for the minor.
Derek Chang, associate professor in the department of history and director of the Asian American studies program at Cornell University, also spoke at the event.
“These are fields that grew out of students of color around college campuses demanding that their education speak to them in a particular kind of way,” he said.
Zhen said the minor would empower students at the college.
“It makes you feel more connected to who you are, and it makes you realize your place in society and makes you want to bring change to what you see in your marginalized community,” she said.
Barlas said incorporating the minor into the college’s programming has been a constant struggle.
“We know that any curriculum that is going to be comprehensive needs to include the experiences of large segments of its own population,” she said. “I don’t know about the college in general, but the center is very much committed to it.”