After three failed attempts in past years, the faculty from the UCLA College of Letters and Sciences have voted in favor of undergraduate students taking a required diversity course.
Out of 659 ballots, 332 faculty members voted in favor, 303 in opposition and 24 blank, as 46 percent of eligible staff members participated in the vote. Now with a favorable election, the proposal will move to the Academic Senate’s Undergraduate Council and then the Academic Senate’s Legislative Assembly for final approval.
Put in place to ensure that all students feel welcomed on campus and are embraced by peers who are open-minded about cultural and racial differences, the new requirements will not only prepare students for a diverse population on campus, but also a diverse pool of talent in the workforce.
“A diversity-related course requirement for UCLA College undergraduates is an important component of our commitment to expose students to beliefs and backgrounds other than their own,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “It would help prepare our students for work in a multicultural world, in part by engaging them in difficult but crucial conversations for our campus and society as a whole.”
The authors of the proposal relied on several studies to determine how effective diversity classes really are on college students. One of the studies discovered that after giving students a questionnaire to fill out before and after a black studies course, the students developed a more understanding attitude towards African Americans after the course was completed.
Some of the courses on the extensive list of eligible classes to be offered include Asian American Studies, Chicano/a Studies, Disability Studies, French, Religious Studies and many more.
If approved, the new requirements will go into effect for incoming freshman in fall 2015 and incoming transfer students in 2017.