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Additional classes to be offered in cultural studies

Last year, faculty from the International Relations Department and the Cultural Area Studies Program researched methods of global and international education at other colleges and universities across the country with the goal of discovering ways to transform Woosterís curriculum. This school year, the Global and International Education Working Group, comprised of 25 faculty members from numerous disciplines, further discussed the way the curriculum could be developed to more aptly reflect current changes in the world and academic disciplines.

ìThe faculty at the College have had a long-standing commitment to global and international education.† The increasing pace of globalization in all aspects of our political, economic, environmental and social lives within the last decade has further stimulated interest in global and international education.† Moreover, the changing nature of disciplines and the emergence of new interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary fields have impacted our students, faculty and curriculum,” said Henry Kreuzman, Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement.

As a result of these discussions and the need for the curriculum to reflect our changing world, new areas of study were added to the Wooster curriculum. On Monday March 1, the faculty voted to approve changes to the Classical Studies Program and Russian Studies Program and to add new programs in East Asian Studies, Latin American Studies and South Asian Studies to the curriculum. After the endorsement of these new programs, the faculty voted to remove the Cultural Area Studies Program from the curriculum. Current and recently declared Cultural Area Studies majors will be able to complete their major or switch to one of the new majors; incoming students will be able to choose one of the new programs.

Previously, the Classical Studies Program had concentrations in Classical Languages and Classical Civilizations, focusing on Roman and Greek culture. The Classical Civilizations concentration has been changed to Ancient Mediterranean Studies in order to expand the scope of the concentration and give students a broader area of study. The new concentration will now give students the ability to take classes focusing on Southern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. This new concentration is also unique to schools within the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA).

The East Asian Studies program will include majors and minors in both Chinese Studies and East Asian Studies. This program has been created to fulfill the growing student demand for courses in this area and to supplement the already existing Chinese minor. Students in these programs will take a combination of history and language courses, and all students majoring in one of these programs will be required to study abroad for at least one semester in China or Japan.

The new Latin American Studies Program creates a minor in this area of study. The minor is a combination of courses in Latin American and Hispanic Caribbean history, Spanish language and off-campus study. The classes are concentrated on the geographic area of Latin America itself as well as diasporic Latin American communities. Study abroad in Latin America is also required.

The South Asian Studies Program is also a new minor added to the curriculum. With the addition of this new minor, Wooster is currently the only GLCA college to have any curricular focus on South Asia. This program builds on the Collegeís long-standing connections with South Asia.† Students completing this minor will take courses in two or more disciplinary areas, with current course offerings available in Philosophy, Religious Studies and Theatre and Dance. There is no language requirement for this minor, but there is an off-campus study requirement. As new courses develop in South Asian Studies, these will be part of the course offerings applicable to the minor as well.

The faculty believe that the new and revised programs are better suited to meet the needs of Wooster students and fulfill the Collegeís mission to become more globally engaged.

As President Grant Cornwell said, ìThe Cultural Area Studies program served generations of Wooster students very well, but scholarship has gone through several transitions and paradigms shifts since CAS was formed and in some sense the program had become dated theoretically.† The new academic programs now established by the faculty will provide an array of outstanding curricular opportunities for students to be academically engaged with global issues. I see the new area studies programs as further steps along the path to making sure Wooster is unsurpassed as a college where students graduate as responsible and knowledgeable global citizens.”

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