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The Blue & Gray Press | February 19, 2018

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Minor in African-American Studies Proposed

Individuals at the University of Mary Washington are in the process of proposing a new minor in African-American studies, according to Mary Beth Matthews, associate professor of religion.

“If we could get to a major at some point, that would be wonderful, but right now, it looks like what we have in place is enough course offerings to be able to offer a minor,” Matthews said.

She said that it is uncertain when the African-American studies proposal will be finished.

“The committee has been talking about how to put together the minor, what kind of courses to require, how many credit hours to require,” Matthews said. “We then need to put that together as a proposal that would go to various curriculum committees for their approval.”

“We are following in the tradition of the women and gender studies program,” she added.

The women and gender studies major has been offered for two years, according to Connie Smith, senior lecturer in English and professor in women’s studies.

According to Smith, the women and gender studies department stood firmly against the idea of a minor.

“We wanted it as a major so people would take it as a major,” Smith said. “State funding always depends on how many majors sign up.”

Kelly Ellis, a freshman with an interest in psychology, said that she would consider African-American studies as a possible minor.

“Psychology and African-American Studies together would be very interesting,” Ellis said.

There is also consideration for a minor in social justice, according to Matthews.

According to associate professor of geography Farhang Rouhani, the definition of social justice has not been set in stone yet.

“The committee will be coming up with a rationale that will include our conceptualization of what social justice is,” Rouhani said.

The deadline for the proposal will be the beginning of November, at which time it will go before the curriculum committee and will possibly be offered next year, according to Rouhani.

Junior Kimberlyn Frost, a historic preservation major, expressed interest in the possibility of taking social justice as a minor.

“Social justice would be interesting to take with Historic Preservation,” Frost said. “I feel like they would tie in well together.”