by Jasmine Smith, April 6, 2021
In response to last year’s adoption of an ethnic study general education requirement, Cal Poly Pomona’s Academic Senate has established a new committee called the Ethnic Studies Faculty Implementation Committee to decide which classes meet the ethnic studies requirements.
The implementation committee will act as a gatekeeper for determining which faculty can teach an ethnic studies course, ensuring that the faculty chosen possesses the knowledge and expertise necessary to educate students through a multidisciplinary lens.
“We have amazing lecturers who also teach in our department, but we will also need more lecturers or part-time faculty,” said Sandy Dixon, chair of the Department of Ethnic & Women’s Studies and the Ethnic Studies Faculty Implementation Committee. Dixon said that the faculty and the committee are working together to implement strong ethnic studies courses for CPP students.
As of Mar. 30 the 14 courses submitted from Don. B Huntley College of Agriculture, College of Education & Intergrative Studies, College of Environmental Design, and College of Letters, Arts, & Social Sciences for area F have been approved for fall 2021. Each department will determine if they want to offer an ethnic studies course via cross listing, where a single course is offered for registration under two or more departments. In most cases, the course is identical for everyone participating. They then must make a referral and request to the committee.
While it is the department’s decision, the department chair will facilitate who is qualified to teach an ethnic studies course and then nominate the faculty to the EWS chair.
Despite this success in diversifying learning at CPP, according to Alvaro Huerta, an assistant professor for the Urban & Regional Planning Department, it came at a cost. Area D3 in the GE requirements was removed and replaced with Area F, resulting in job loss for some part-faculty members.
Huerta said that he disagrees with how the implementation process was handled and that advocates for ethnic studies wanted ethnic studies to be a requirement but not at the cost of other jobs.
“By bittersweet it’s like you’re happy, but you can’t celebrate at the same time too much because you see department chairs that you know who will have to tell people that they can’t teach a class anymore,” said Huerta.
The implementation committee may sound unfamiliar to many students and clubs; however, that doesn’t decrease the excitement that some have for what the future holds for the committee, according to Piper Bridgman, a second-year art history and anthropology student.
As of Mar. 23, there is no website for the Ethnic Studies Faculty Implementation Committee due to its recent establishment during the winter intersession. Though there is limited information, the graduating class of 2024-2025 will be required to take an Area F class in order to graduate. “Well, it sounds like the committee will be vital to the implementation process and will make sure it is done properly,” said Bridgman. “I’d love to read more about it.”
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