Middle East studies in the News
International and Area Studies Program Announces New Global Studies Major
by Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks
Several International and Area Studies, or IAS, majors are set to coalesce into a new global studies major by next year, with some courses planned to start by spring 2017.
Two IAS majors — peace and conflict studies and development studies — will become two of three tracks within the major, while Latin American studies, Middle Eastern studies and Asian studies will become three of five areas of study, according to Associate Dean of the Division of Social Sciences Maximilian Auffhammer.
"I'm hopeful that this will be an exciting transformation of IAS — six smaller programs that now enter the main stage of social sciences," Auffhammer said.
The three concentration tracks proposed are global peace and conflict studies, global development and global humanities and culture studies, with five areas of study focusing on various regions of the world, including the two newly created African studies and European and Russian studies.
According to Auffhammer, discussions between IAS chairs and faculty about creating a new global studies major began about seven months ago.
Intended and declared IAS majors, as well as incoming transfer students, will still be able to graduate with a degree in the majors joining the new program. Interested students, however, might be able to declare in global studies as early as summer 2017, Auffhammer said.
The proposed plan for the major includes critical thinking courses, global studies courses, discipline courses outside of the major, world history courses, electives and an optional capstone, among others.
Auffhammer said IAS faculty have overwhelmingly expressed their excitement for the new program.
"They're all working very hard on the curriculum for global studies so this is very much a bottom-up way of creating a program," Auffhammer said.
The consolidating of majors into a new major is not a cost-cutting measure in response to the campus's growing deficit, according to Auffhammer. In fact, Auffhammer said, he foresees more resources possibly going toward the new program in the future. In addition to the major, a global studies minor is also planned.
Drawing from rigorous global studies programs across the country, the faculty plans to put a "Berkeley twist" to the new major, Auffhammer said, including a focus on the humanities and necessitating the major language requirement to the fourth level be associated with students' area of study.
"When we speak to employers ... they know they're going to get smart people," Auffhammer said. "What they're really looking for language ability."
There are approximately 800 declared IAS major students, Auffhammer said, with about 400 students declared in the majors coalescing into the new global studies major. Political economy will remain a major outside of the new program.
The new program still has to be reviewed by various campus administrators, Auffhammer said, but he's optimistic that the program will be approved.
"We're excited about this, I think this will be, in the long run, really great for the school," Auffhammer said. "It'll be a really, really great place for undergraduates to come and learn."
The IAS department will be hosting a town hall next Thursday for students with questions and concerns about the new major.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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