By Kelly Canright
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Two UA programs are hoping to make the jump from one college to another.
Pending approval of the University of Arizona Faculty Senate, the African-American studies program and the Russian and Soviet studies program will transfer from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences to the College of Humanities. The transition was originally requested by the African-American Studies department, said humanities Dean Charles Tatum.
The movement is designed to provide stronger administrative direction and a broader and more complete perspective among the disciplines in the College of Humanities, said Galina DeRoeck, Russian and Slavic languages professor.
"It is a positive step," said Alexander Dunkel, Russian and Slavic languages professor. "The administration is affirming the fact that an area program is necessary for these cultures, these civilizations."
Prior to this change, the Russian and Soviet studies program functioned fairly well, considering there was no director, only a faculty committee and student coordinators, DeRoeck said. "We needed a director to pursue grants and oversee the department. This will be accomplished under the purview of Dr. (George) Gutsche, who is going to take on the additional responsibility without pay and plans to incorporate programs that have an interest in the Eurasian continent."
Tatum said the Russian and Soviet studies program began in the College of Humanities and was later transferred into the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. It began to languish because of underfunding and the absence of a department director, he said.
New Russian and Soviet Studies department head George Gutsche said, "Any changes made will be made with the consent of the current RASS committee."
RASS is an interdisciplinary program made up of faculty members from history, political science, anthropology and geography and regional development.
Gutsche said he thinks the transition will benefit students and provide a stronger foundation for career opportunities and progression into advanced study programs.
Tatum said he feels the transition will "enrich the College of Humanities in many ways. We have an excellent group of faculty members coming from African American studies. There is a linkage they can make with faculty in the departments within the College of Humanities."
Brackette Williams, head of the African American Studies program, had no comment.
The Faculty Senate will vote on the matter in October.
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