LA&S to redefine requirements

By Dana Netzel

A cultural pluralism class might be required if proposals presented by NIU’s Liberal Arts and Sciences College or an ad-hoc committee are approved.

Revising the general education curriculum and specifically redefining the requirements within the humanities and social science section is the route the LA&S is following.

A proposal that asked NIU’s college curriculum committee to delete the requirements of a constitution test was made by James Norris, LA&S college dean. He then proposed an American culture requirement that would deal with American government, as well as literature and history.

Other proposals included a cultural awareness or pluralism requirement and an awareness-of-gender-in-society requirement. The proposed requirements would fulfill general education requirements and apply to LA&S majors.

“We don’t want to increase the number of hours or required courses at all, we’re out to simply define them a little better,” Norris said.

Earlier this semester, NIU’s sociology department failed to receive approval for a cultural pluralism requirement because of funding reasons. “I’m really rather pleased with the college initiative, it would certainly accomplish what we were hoping for,” said William Minor, NIU sociology department chairman.

The ad-hoc committee is visiting different classes to find courses that would fit a cultural pluralism requirement. These courses already exist, but need to be narrowed down, said Student Association Academic Affairs Adviser Willie Fowler.

The proposal must be amended and approved by the senate executive board within the SA to receive student support, said Fowler.

“A lot of recommendations from different departments,” have been received by the committee, Fowler said. However, only a certain number of courses will be selected and courses will not be forced to fit the requirement.

After a two-year process, the University of California, Berkeley, recently added a cultural pluralism graduation requirement. A student must take one course in the cultural pluralism series, but this course also satisfies the student’s major.

This requirement “represents the American culture as unified and shaped by diverse cultural traditions,” said William Simmons, UC-Berkeley special committee on education and ethnicity chairman.

“The proposal to improve the awareness of race awareness and ethnic relations in some fashion is progressing,” Minor said.