MU Faculty Council votes in favor of diversity course requirement

Thursday, March 17, 2011 | 7:10 p.m. CDT; updated 11:31 a.m. CDT, Friday, March 18, 2011

COLUMBIA — MU is one step closer to requiring students to take a diversity course.

The Faculty Council voted 19-1 to add a diversity intensive course to the list of general education requirements, but the proposal still has a long way to go.

“I don’t know if it can happen as soon as next year,” said council chairwoman and biomedical sciences professor Leona Rubin.

The next step for the proposal is for the general faculty to discuss it at a meeting in mid-April. The faculty will vote later that month.

If the faculty approves the proposal, Vice Provost of Undergraduate Studies Jim Spain, would work with the Committee on Undergraduate Education to implement the requirement.

The committee would have to create criteria for the courses, which would have to be sent back to the Faculty Council for approval. A smaller committee would be created to evaluate the submitted courses, Rubin said.

“I seriously doubt that there would be courses ready by the fall,” Rubin said.

The most recent draft of the proposal is shorter and more concise than previous drafts. Studying abroad will fulfill the course requirement, council member and sociology professor Victoria Johnson said.

Small changes were also made to the wording of the proposal. Age was added to the list of social inequalities. The term “global economic” in the list of social inequalities was changed to “economic” because some members felt “global” excluded national economic issues.

Council members decided against including the list of courses when they present the proposal to the general faculty.  

"It's confusing to have sample courses because some of them might not be approved," journalism professor and council member Clyde Bentley said.

Another topic of discussion at the council meeting was the grievance policy. The council members will vote to include an administrator on the grievance resolution panel at the next meeting on April 7.

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Ellis Smith March 18, 2011 | 6:18 a.m.

Sounds great - as long as it stays at MU. There's no reason why UMKC, UMSL or MS&T students should be saddled with this additional requirement. (It could be easily posited that there's no reason why 99+% of MU students should be saddled with it either.)

[Why is there a concern that the program won't be ready by next fall? Expecting another spate of cotton balls?]

(Report Comment)
Kirt Brinkley March 18, 2011 | 6:23 a.m.

Mizzou is not a private liberal arts college. Offer this course for sure, but make it a requirement? I think not!

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 18, 2011 | 7:22 a.m.

Brinkley's suggestion is excellent, and that reasoning might be applied at all UM System campuses.

My oldest granddaughter is a sophomore at a private, church-affiliated "arts & science" college. They don't have a similar requirement to what's proposed at MU (but then they also don't have a "cotton ball" problem). Martin Luther would probably frown on the strewing of cotton balls.

(Report Comment)

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