Diversity course possible requirement for freshmen

The Diversity Enhancement Committee hopes to improve MU’s cultural “competency and inclusivity” over a multi-year plan.

MU freshmen may eventually be required to take a three-credit hour diversity course.

The Diversity Enhancement Committee, lead by Astronomy Professor Angela Speck, published a proposal Sep. 15 on Mizzou Transparency, regarding their long-term plans to improve MU’s cultural “competency and inclusivity.”

Mizzou Transparency was created at the request of the campus community for MU administration to “share information about progress on initiatives to improve our campus climate,” according to the website.

The committee plans to conduct a pilot study to see whether a course requirement would be an effective way to enhance campus inclusivity. If the survey results support the proposal, the committee intends to expand class sections of ESPC 2000: Experiencing Cultural Diversity in the United States, a decade-old course offered with two sections each semester.

“The purpose of this course is to examine cultural diversity in U.S. society, to increase self-awareness related to worldviews and beliefs about diversity issues, and to increase understanding of the intersections of multiple group identities,” the course’s description states.

The committee plans to keep the current class limit of 30 people and therefore would need about 200 sections. This would warrant hiring 40-50 teaching assistants to teach the courses and at least one NTT teaching specialist and coordinator, according to the proposal. The expansion would take several years.

Long-term benefits mentioned in the proposal include incorporating diversity education through higher-level courses and enhanced recruitment of students seeking diversity related majors.

The committee will consider other options to enhance MU diversity if survey shows ineffective results.

Students, staff and faculty are encouraged to contact Speck at speckan@missouri.edu with any feedback or comments.

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