An Interdisciplinary Coordinating Committee on Ethnic Studies could be established as early as next spring, Dean of Undergraduate Education Lawrence Buell said yesterday.
The Faculty Council reviewed a proposal to upgrade the study of ethnic studies to a standing interdisciplinary committee yesterday, but voted to resubmit the proposal to the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) for further examination.
"Having the committee presence would help to stimulate a greater number of ethnic studies offerings in departments," Buell said. "It's more than a baptismal change."
Buell said Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles, the chair of the Educational Policy committee, appointed a six-person EPC subcommittee to work on the proposal last year.
"The impetus [for the proposal] comes both from the student side and the faculty side," Buell said, "From the student side it is clear that there is an increasing number of students interested in this form of inquiry. And on the faculty side, there are a greater number of faculty interested in the area than several years ago."
The council raised several questions about the authority of an interdisciplinary committee to establish courses and invite professors.
Presently, Ethnic Studies is organized as an advisory committee which can only recommend that Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles establish course and invite professors through other departments.
As an interdisciplinary committee, Ethnic Studies will still neither have the authority to create courses nor to appoint professors under its own heading, Buell said.
But the standing committee will be able to work more actively with differentdepartments to encourage an ethnic studiescurriculum and advocate faculty recruitment, Buellsaid.
The interdisciplinary committee would also havemore authority in spending its allocated budget tomake joint appointments with other departments,Buell said.
"The standing committee could take up thequestion of whether some of the money should beallocated for permanent appointments in thedepartments," Buell said