PETITION: Diversify the Curriculum at Colorado College

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By Amairani Alamillo (‘16) & Han Sayles (‘15)

Dear President Tiefenthaler, Dean Wong & Faculty,

In recent years, Colorado College has made strides in becoming a more inclusive and diverse institution. There has been an increase in diverse course offerings; an increase in tenure-track lines for the Feminist and Gender Studies, Race and Ethnic Studies, and Southwest Studies programs; a restructuring of academic programs, such as the Bridge Scholars program; the establishment of The Butler Center; and, finally, a substantial increase in the percentage of students of color admitted to CC each year. The aforementioned accomplishments are all evidence of the current administration’s and faculty’s commitment to having an inclusive campus. We want to propel these efforts forward, as we believe there is still much work that needs to be done to transform CC into a truly diverse educational environment.

We, the students of Colorado College, believe that every student who graduates from CC should have a basic grasp of issues concerning responsible citizenship in a globalized world. In an increasingly hostile racist, sexist, classist, and homophobic national and global environment, we want the skills to peacefully confront the hurdles that we are facing today, which we will undoubtedly grapple with throughout our lives. That means our curriculum should facilitate a critical historical engagement with the pertinent issues affecting ourselves and our local, national, and international communities. This petition is a formal statement of our dedication to engaging with subjects of (but not limited to) class, race, gender, and sexuality everyday—subjects we want to see reflected in our classrooms and in syllabi across campus. We want to embrace Colorado College’s core values: “value all persons and seek to learn from their diverse experiences and perspectives,” “seek excellence, constantly assessing our policies and programs,” and, “honor the life of the mind as the central focus of our common endeavor.”

Many members of the staff and faculty at Colorado College have been advocating for this initiative, privately and publicly, for decades, and students have been by their side, but there has not yet been a collective effort on behalf of the students at the College to communicate clearly to faculty and administration exactly what we want from our education. Here and now is the time and place for Colorado College to become a national leader. The following are the points that we believe the faculty and administration at Colorado College need to enact in order for our education to be utilitarian, relevant, and ethical.

  1. The College needs a diverse curriculum; a commitment marginalized and/or outsider perspectives needs to be reflected in the syllabi of every single department or program on campus.
  2. The College needs to reassess the current all-college course requirements in place to ensure that students are taking courses that are rigorous for an introduction to issues of global and social inequality.
  3. Faculty development is the core of a diverse curriculum and pedagogy, which means the College needs to focus on committing to the development of the current faculty so that they are well-equipped to handle these issues in their classes, as relevant to specific disciplines.
  4. The forthcoming proposal to make Race, Ethnic Studies, and Migrations a major should be fully-funded and supported by Colorado College. As the proposal made on behalf of the Core Faculty of Race and Ethnic Studies points out: “RES continues to consciously bridge the spaces between theory and practice, the classroom and the communities outside it, the individual and the individual as citizen.” Besides being a well-established, productive field of academia, having a Race, Ethnic Studies, and Migration major would enable students to develop important practical professional skills in cross-cultural competency and a basic social understanding of the world we live in.”

In closing, as Stephen Quaye and Shuan Harper report about the effects of diversity on 15,600 undergraduate students after four years, all students, not just students of color, report that they are most satisfied with “faculty who employed methodologies that respected and were inclusive of cultural differences; constructed welcoming environments for sharing cultural perspectives; and required writing assignments that challenged students to think critically about diversity and equity issues.” We believe a diverse curriculum for the students of Colorado College is not only valuable but essential to our success as educated people in the 21st century. Thank you for your time and commitment to our continued success.

CC STUDENTS, please click here to access and sign the petition.

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