Students seek course diversity

By Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Minority student representatives voiced concerns to UA adminstrators about how diversity education and student input will be incorporated into the proposed core curriculum Friday.

Members of Minority Student Advocates, also called the US Committee, questioned Vice Provost of Undergraduate Affairs Michael Gottfredson about their concerns with the core curriculum proposal. Questions centered around the issues of diversity in education, support services and student input.

Gottfredson outlined three alternatives that are being considered to incorporate diversity education into the core curriculum proposal. Suggestions include teaching diversity issues extensively in the "tier one" survey courses or requiring students to take additional courses relating to non-Western history and gender, race and ethnicity during the "second tier."

The other alternative, which Maricela Trujillo, a creative writing senior, said she endorses, is to incorporate diversity education into both tiers.

"It is my understanding that the core curriculum was primarily established to try to create a more circular understanding, so that students will get a general understanding of how things are interrelated," she said. "Diversity studies would fit well into this concept. In order to be truly educated you need to understand other cultures and other countries."

However, Gottfredson said this proposal has received criticism because it would add additional units to students' requirements, when it is already difficult for students to graduate in four years.

But Trujillo said she believes the importance of diversity necessitates the additional requirements.

"It should be viewed as the importance of diversity and what is a priority at the university and why," she said. "It goes back to if diversity truly is a value at this university."

Another issue addressed by the students was that of support services offered under the proposal.

"My main concern is that many minority freshmen come in without the appropriate education in

high school," said Kelmer Tillman, a graduate student who is preparing for medical school.

Gottfredson said the core proposal includes efforts to "boot up" the university's tutorial and learning center services and to develop tutorial groups for core curriculum classes.

After talking to Gottfredson, most committee members said they supported the concept of the proposal, but expressed concerns about the amount of student input in planning the curriculum.

"My main concern is that students should have a good amount of say, since we are the ones who have to learn from the system," said Ivory Perkins, a chemistry senior.

"What can we do as students? How can we get our voices heard?," said Michelle Garcia, a biology senior. Garcia said she was supportive of everything she had heard about the proposal.

Gottfredson encouraged the students to participate in committes planning the course curriculums and to talk to other students about the proposal.

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