Africana studies major added to curriculum

By Nicole Santa Cruz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 8, 2005

The Faculty Senate approved adding Africana studies as a new major to the UA curriculum by a 36-1 vote yesterday.

The program has been in the process of becoming a major since 1991, said Julian Kunnie, director of the Africana studies program.

Senators were concerned about the student need for the major and whether it would be able to withstand funding on its own without relying on other departments for assistance.

Kunnie said student need for the major has been "very significant" with students giving him "almost harassing" telephone calls about it.

Instead of majoring in English or political science, Kunnie said the Africana studies major will give students more options and increase their "diversity of cultural, geographical and political terrain."

Resources for the major come from the Africana studies program itself, but courses are cross-listed in the Colleges of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts, said Chuck Tatum, College of Humanities dean.

Cross-listing courses is economical because the university doesn't have to hire two professors to teach a course that may cross college lines, Tatum said.

The major also satisfies the university's desire to pursue the Focused Excellence initiative by the global, interdisciplinary and diverse characteristics of the major and could help the university retain students as well, said Provost George Davis.

"Our competitiveness will be measured by being competitive to the world," Davis said.

In other business, the senate voted to send the Management of Personal Conflicts of Interest Policy back to the Academic Personnel Policy Committee for further revision.

The policy establishes the procedure for UA students and employees when a personal relationship arises that would create a conflict of interest, such as a student and professor relationship, and directs the persons involved to contact their direct supervisor for guidance.

"We have a responsibility to everyone in the workforce to make sure conflicts of interest don't happen," said Vice Chairman Robert Mitchell.

The approval of the exclusionary order policy, which establishes the regulations for "disruptive persons" on campus who are not students or employees, was also pushed to next month's senate meeting.