In an effort to revive their undergraduate program, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures voted Thursday afternoon to introduce an area studies submajor into the department's curriculum.
"Although we are primarily a graduate department, when I became chairman last Fall I was a little concerned with the erosion of our undergraduate program and the humanities in general," Danta Della Terza, professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and chairman of the department, said Thursday. "I called a committee to find out why there is no interest in the Romance Languages."
Della Terza said the total number of Romance Language concentrators has dropped from 100 in 1960 to 33 this year.
Two Tract Program
The student-Faculty committee, chaired by Philip R. Stewart, assistant professor of French, devised a "two tract" undergraduate program. The first tract, similar to the present program with a focus on literature and criticism, requires seven courses, two of which may be related fields.
The new second tract will allow undergraduate majors to take courses in any department which relate to the area being studied. Area studies will be offered in French, Hispanic, Italian, and Portuguese-Brazilian.
The new program will do away with related courses. Seven courses, three of which must be in the language and literature of the area studied, will be required for both concentration and honors in the second tract.
'Our Own Aegis'
Stewart said Thursday that the possibility of creating a special department for area studies has been under consideration for some time. "We felt that we could move into this area under our own aegis with a program rooted in language and literature. This is a way of effecting such a program through a department initiative that would avoid a University Faculty approval."
Last December the English Department made a similar reform by providing opportunities for specialization in a specific field of literature in addition to the basic program which provides an overview of literature.
The change "represents a new interest of the department's Faculty in undergraduates," Stewart said.
According to Della Terza, "Although efforts are basically with graduate students," there has been a reduction in the department's budget of money for graduate student scholarships in recent years, leading to the new emphasis on undergraduates.
Stewart said the changes are designed to draw students' attention to the "breadth of possibility rather than the constraints" in the department's program.