An update on Ethnic Studies programs in Letters & Science

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In recent weeks, there have been discussions on campus surrounding the future of the four Ethnic Studies units in the College of Letters & Science. These four units include the Department of Afro-American Studies (AAS), the American Indian Studies Program (AIS), the Asian American Studies Program (AAS), and the Chican@ and Latin@ Studies Program (CLS).

The four Ethnic Studies chairs and directors began preliminary discussions to explore the advantages and disadvantages of increased collaboration among their units. This may include maintaining their current structure, pooling selected resources, or bringing some or all of the programs together into a shared academic department devoted to the study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity in the United States.

A series of Frequently Asked Questions about the Ethnic Studies programs are posted online.

During the discussions in the Ethnic Studies units, the college has offered support and consultation. The decision about whether and how to increase collaboration among the units rests with the Ethnic Studies chairs, directors and the faculty tenured or associated with the units involved. This shared governance process is codified in the University Faculty Policies and Procedures 5.01 and the L&S Policy on Departmental Restructuring.

“The College of Letters & Science fundamentally believes that chairs, directors and faculty – in full participation with staff, alumni, and campus and community members -should lead the discussions about increasing collaboration among their units,” says L&S Associate Dean Maria Cancian. “The college follows the shared governance process of the university and is working in collaboration with the Ethnic Studies chairs and directors to ensure the needs of students, faculty and staff affected by any change would be addressed.”

To date, the college has not received a formal request from any Ethnic Studies unit to restructure into a consolidated department or program.

The Ethnic Studies chairs, directors and affiliated faculty are planning for a variety of public meetings on the topic. The first upcoming meeting is:

“Ethnic Studies at UW-Madison: Past, Present and Future”
Free and open to the public on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 7-9 p.m.
Doors open at 6:30 pm: Meet and greet, refreshments
The Pyle Center, AT&T Lounge, 702 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706, 608-262-1122

Registration Recommended

For more information about the Ethnic Studies programs, please contact: