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CEIS-mic shifts: Ethnic and Women Studies expected to join CLASS in fall

By Shannon Hernandez, Apr. 12, 2022

Following the Academic Senate’s second reading of the referral last month, the Ethnic and Women’s Studies Department is expected to be part of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences this coming fall.

Moving from the College of Education and Integrative Studies, current EWS students and faculty are expected to have more resources available to them as CLASS’ 12th department.

Laura Massa, associate vice president for Academic Programs, participated in reviewing the referral that the EWS Department submitted for this change to advance.

“My role in this is to look at what the EWS has put together with the committee for the report that they collectively prepared, where it was consulted with the provost, and since there were no disagreements between the colleges, which ultimately was ready for the Academic Senate,” said Massa.

Massa also described that many consultations were made between CLASS and CEIS administrators. Ultimately, those in the EWS Department felt that this would be the logical move to make.

Now that the Academic Senate has approved of the department change, there are hopes the move will be finalized by next fall.

“I think that the change would be a natural fit for them as ethnic studies is a social science and within CLASS you find social sciences,” said Massa. “The EWS making the referral to switch was a good idea on their end.”

According to its website, the Ethnic and Women’s Studies Department offers five degree options in African American, Asian American, Chicano/Latino, Native American, and Women’s studies. The goal is for students to understand ethnic, class, and gender relations.

Although this is a change between CLASS and CEIS, staff and faculty discussed the move outside of the colleges to build consensus and voice different perspectives on whether the move was beneficial. Ethnic and Women’s Studies Department Chair Sandy Kewanhaptewa-Dixon could not be reached before the deadline.

CLASS Dean Sara Garver expressed her joy at the department joining the college and explained the process it takes to ensure the switch runs smoothly.

“We are delighted to have Ethic Woman Studies joining us which would be a wonderful new addition to the college because of all the similar connections between the kind of research that our faculty do and theirs as well,” said Garver. “The similarities would allow faculty to come together in doing research and expand on topics.”

Administrators also believe moving EWS to CLASS may ease the implementation of the California State University’s ethnic studies GE requirement. Not only will the same EWS professors be teaching ethnic studies courses, but faculty in other departments will also be teaching courses that can meet the requirement.

The university awarded CLASS with five ethnic studies faculty hires for different departments. These professors will teach ethnic studies courses alongside EWS faculty. With these new hires, the campus hopes to foster more knowledge and relationships.

“Let us imagine an umbrella, where ethnic studies are a broad topic and could be contributed within other perspectives such as political science, or even theater,” said Garver. “With these new and different perspectives in view, there will be new connections that can be further investigated.”

CSU campuses may have departments labeled in different colleges compared to CPP; the changes made in each school are made according to their own standards. Garver explained that although EWS would be part of CLASS, its location in Building 94 will remain.

“One on hand, it is an administrative move, but on the other hand, it will put us in closer contact with them which I know will bring wonderful opportunities that will come from that. Not only with teaching students but the research that the faculty can do together,” said Garver.

With registration for the fall semester opening, the new Ethnic and Women’s studies requirement course list will be available to new students.

Further announcements will be presented after the next Academic Senate meeting scheduled April 13.

Feature image by Darren Loo

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