Ad Hoc Committee on the Multicultural Requirement

Campus Forums for Multicultural Requirement, Social Justice, Inclusion, Educational Quality, Collegiality, Caring, Inequity, Diversity, Student-Centered Community, Open Exchange of Ideas, Respectful Learning Focused Environment

To comply with expectations set forth in EO 1100 Revised, in Spring 2018 the Academic Senate approved changes to the General Education program and to the Baccalaureate Degree Requirements. Among these changes, the “multicultural requirement” was moved from a requirement housed within the General Education program to a Baccalaureate Degree Requirement that may be completed within or outside of General Education.

Throughout discussions of ways to comply with EO 1100 Revised, there was widespread and unquestioned support for maintaining some form of multicultural coursework as a required component of the Baccalaureate Degree Requirements. As the University Educational Policies Committee (UEPC) affirmed this support, in many settings including open forums, UEPC meetings and Academic Senate, questions arose regarding whether “multicultural” is the appropriate nomenclature for the requirement. Questions also arose as to whether the current description of this requirement reflects what the California State University, Stanislaus (the University) hopes students will gain through the requirement, and if the means for reviewing courses ensures focus on intended outcomes. Further, some suggested expanding the requirement beyond 3 units.

It was impossible to respond to all of these issues in a thoughtful, inclusive manner in Spring 2018 as UEPC worked to comply with EO 1100, but the committee was committed to ensuring that these questions and concerns are addressed. Given the number of items on the UEPC agenda, and a desire to have a working group with expertise and experience with this topic, UEPC charged an ad hoc committee to address issues related to the Multicultural Requirement.

The Ad Hoc Committee on the Multicultural Requirement was charged in October 2018 to engage the campus community in a review of the aims of the “multicultural requirement,” and submit to UEPC a proposal to affirm the current requirement or a recommendation for a revised title, description, and/or unit requirement, including a rationale for this recommendation.

Charge of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Multicultural Requirement

Ad Hoc Committee Members

Co-Chairs

Members

Staff Support

Campus Forums on the Multicultural Requirement

Join the Ad Hoc Committee on the Multicultural Requirement for TWO campus forum to discuss the aims of the “multicultural requirement.” In early April 2019 the committee will share recommendations for a revised title, description, and/or unit requirement, including a rationale for this recommendation.

RSVP and/or Provide Feedback!

Persons with disabilities who anticipate needing special accommodations or who have questions about physical access may email sschraeder@csustan.edu in advance of the forum.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. 
@ the Diversity Center Library 201

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
@ the Diversity Center Library 201 

DRAFT Proposal from the Ad Hoc Committee

The University has made implicit and explicit statements of support of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice efforts within the University’s mission, vision, and values statements. The proposed changes to the “Multicultural Requirement,” previously part of the general education curriculum, are in keeping with the spirit of the University’s stated commitments and their maintained incorporation in the curricular learning of our students. In particular, this revised requirement better adheres to the University’s commitment to “diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice as vital components of educational quality” and being “a student-centered community committed to a diverse, caring, inclusive, respectful learning-focused environment that fosters collegial, reflective and open exchange of ideas” (University Values Statement).

Name Change

We propose a change to the name of this requirement to the “Equity and Social Justice Requirement.”

Requirements to Fulfill the Equity and Social Justice Requirement

In order to meet Baccalaureate Degree Requirements at the University, students must complete two courses (6 units) designated within the Equity and Social Justice Requirement. One course must have a U.S. domestic context designation (US-ESJ) and the other course a broader global context designation (G-ESJ). A course cannot have both a US-ESJ and G-ESJ designation. At least one course must be fulfilled at the upper division level. Courses may be double counted within general education, other university baccalaureate degree requirements, and/or major requirements.

Students are encouraged to first explore these topics as lower division students, but then build upon their knowledge of power and privilege as they mature in their educational development. Drawing from the University’s Statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice, this requirement should consider, but not be limited to, historically disenfranchised, non-dominant social, economic, and/or cultural groups with regard to “race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, creed, religion, age, social class, socio-economic status, physical and cognitive differences, political views, veteran status” and their intersections.

Learning Objectives for Equity and Social Justice Requirement Courses

In order for a course to be designated as fulfilling the US-ESJ or G-ESJ requirement, it must satisfy the following learning objectives:

  1. US-ESJ designated courses must focus a majority of content rooted in US experiences. G-ESJ courses must focus a majority of content rooted in global experiences.
  2. Courses will provide students with a critical understanding of the historical, contemporary, and/or intersectional experiences and perspectives of historically disenfranchised populations, including non-dominant social, economic, and/or cultural groups.    
  3. Courses will enable students to develop competency in discerning the ways in which factors such as power, privilege, and/or oppression shape the histories, lives, places, and cultures of historically disenfranchised populations.
  4. Courses will leverage pedagogical strategies that engage students in gaining critical self-awareness and understanding of how they are situated within systems and structures of power,  privilege and/or oppression in relationship to other people within a diverse society.
  5. Courses should encourage critical discussions of how greater equity, inclusion, and social justice can be achieved.

Rationale for Proposed Changes to Requirement

Name Change - The committee feels the term “multicultural” does not accurately describe the purpose of the revised requirement and mission, vision, and values statements of the University. We believe the new name more closely reflects the purpose and criteria of the revised requirement as stated above.

The ideology that stems from multiculturalism is problematic and limited, and academic and mainstream sources provide several critiques. One is that the term is an empty buzzword that, at best, serves as a symbolic commitments to the issue of diversity while doing very little to alter the structural components to improve the experience of those who embody the description. In other words, the commitments to multiculturalism are often "non-performative" checklists and do not bring substantial change to what they name. While affirmative action emerged in the 1960s and 70s as a form of making institutional amends for structural discrimination by transferring opportunities from those in power with a marginalized minority, the ideology of multiculturalism suggests that difference should be celebrated with no required trade-offs. Multiculturalism has been used as a solution and/or "proof" that institutions do not have a problem with racism and an imbalance of power. As such, the continued institutionalization of multiculturalism works to obscure racism and other forms of structural discrimination, and the term is used in educational policies and practices to further protect white supremacy and reinforce the status quo rather than work toward equity and social justice. Equity and social justice point toward working to dismantle structural disparities that are associated with social advantages and oppression.

Two Courses - The justification for two courses, one with a U.S. domestic focus and one with a global focus, rests upon the recognition that both provide essential knowledge necessary for students to be productive agents as well as facilitate the goals of equity and social justice that provide the foundation for the requirement itself. Currently, at least six other CSU campuses require completion of at least two courses that meet a diversity or multicultural requirement. Additionally, the Association of American Colleges and Universities identifies both US and global diversity courses as among the high impact learning practices that improve student learning. This is particularly true of courses focusing on “difficult differences,” such as those rooted in race, gender, sexuality, and other power inequities (https://www.aacu.org/leap/hips).

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