To: Gonzaga University Community
From: Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak, Interim Academic Vice President
Re: Proposal for the Development of a Program in Race and Ethnic Studies
Date: March 26, 2018
On February 23rd and 24th, a significant number of Gonzaga students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered together, on campus, for a two-day symposium to discuss the creation of a Race and Ethnic Studies minor. The concept of developing this minor was originally proposed by our own students, out of a desire to increase the number of culturally relevant courses that focus on issues of, or relating to, race and ethnicity; to increase the inclusivity of the campus culture, and to increase the number of underrepresented faculty at Gonzaga. This symposium, which was sponsored and coordinated by a planning committee of engaged and committed faculty from the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, resulted in the formulation of a proposal for proceeding with the development of a Race and Ethnic Studies program, which was presented to Dr. Patricia Terry, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and myself on March 7th.
President McCulloh and I have had several discussions about this proposal, and I, in turn, have met with the faculty sponsors of it. Both Dr. McCulloh and I believe that the proposal has the potential to significantly increase both the quantity of courses that focus on race and ethnicity, and to enhance the cultural relevance of the education we provide to our students. Our view is that this proposal should be supported and in light of this have asked the faculty to proceed, with the commitment that the University will approve the specific requests outlined in their March 7th proposal. Further, Dean Terry and I are personally committed to working with the core group of faculty, consisting of Drs. Ciasullo, Díaz, Maucione, and Stavrianos, on the curriculum development process.
It is our view that the development of the Race and Ethnic Studies framework and curriculum would benefit substantially from the near-term involvement of a Visiting Scholar in Race and Ethnic Studies, who might also teach several courses this coming academic year while the program itself is being developed and going through the required review and approval process. In view of this, I have already begun the process of identifying potential candidates whom we might approach to serve in this capacity.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have been involved with the proposal and development of this program thus far – in particular, our students and alumni, and those faculty who have heard and are working to respond to them. I will ensure that periodic updates are provided to the University community as the development of this program proceeds.