Work continues to update U.S. diversity requirement

With Faculty Senate supporting the decision to require students to achieve at least three of the four new learning outcomes to fulfil the undergraduate U.S. diversity requirement, plenty of work remains for the updates to roll out beginning in fall 2023.

Work will shift quickly to a permanent committee overseen by the academic affairs council. Last April, the senate approved the creation of the U.S. diversity course requirement committee, responsible for approving courses proposed to satisfy the requirement.

The committee is not yet formed but is expected to begin work during the spring semester, said Faculty Senate president Andrea Wheeler. Voting members will include a chair and a faculty member from each college. Requirements for the chair include having demonstrated expertise in fields associated with diversity in education. It's also recommended that all members of the committee have some expertise in diversity. Members are appointed for three-year terms renewable once.

Nonvoting committee members include the senior vice president for student affairs, associate vice president for student affairs and representatives from Student Government, Multicultural Student Leadership Council and Graduate and Professional Student Senate.

"The committee will lead the development of the processes for change and will establish a timeline for the update," Wheeler said. "The committee, by design, should have diversity in its makeup, so it includes more than just the instructor perspective."

Course capacity

An ad hoc committee chaired by Meghan Gillette, human development and family studies associate teaching professor, emailed a survey to instructors Oct. 1 to determine if there will be enough courses and seats available for students to satisfy the new requirements. Some 6,000 to 7,000 seats are needed each year.

"The instructors who completed the survey indicated they were quite close to meeting the objectives -- as well as the fact that very few faculty indicated they needed resources to update their courses or more than six months to do it -- so I don't think it is going to be particularly difficult to ensure there will be enough seats," Gillette said. "Units also have the ability to create new classes."

The ad hoc committee will conclude its work at the end of fall semester and submit its recommendations to Wheeler.


The permanent committee's work will help instructors prepare for the rollout. For example, discussion items could include how much of a course's content must focus on the objectives to fulfill the requirement, how to update current diversity courses and submit new courses for consideration, and what the new course review will entail.