Sixth College offers a new minor to students this fall

    As indicated by the U.S. Census of 2000, of the 33 million people that live in California, 32.4 percent of them are of Hispanic or Latino heritage. This number is expected to reach 50 percent within 30 years. As one of the largest ethnic groups in California, the history and culture of Chicanos and Latinos in this country has become part of our national culture.

    Starting this fall, UCSD students have a new opportunity to expand their horizons with the new Chicano and Latino arts and humanities minor, which is affiliated with Sixth College.

    “”We are very excited that this minor passed. It fits our theme of ‘culture, art, technology’ just beautifully. It is one example of what the theme means,”” said Gabriele Wienhausen, provost of Sixth College.

    As Sixth College’s first minor, it is an interdisciplinary program that includes courses from all the major social science and humanities departments including theatre, visual arts, literature, history, ethnic studies and Spanish. Although it is closely linked to Sixth College, all UCSD students may pursue it.

    According to Jorge Mariscal, literature professor and director of the program, “”There was strong support from the UCSD faculty for this minor. And based on the wealth of courses that already exist in this area, we’ve created a rigorous and rich curriculum to underpin this minor.””

    Ethnic studies professor Ross Frank is also enthusiastic about the new minor.

    “”The minor offers a great interdisciplinary opportunity for people from the Latino community, no matter what they’re majoring in, to understand the history of the Latino community in the United States and to think about their part in building the present and future of this community,”” Frank said, who is also a member of the program’s steering committee. “”It gives everyone an interdisciplinary mix that might not be otherwise offered.””

    Although the new minor may initially seem very similar to other programs of study offered at UCSD, such as ethnic studies or Latin American studies, it is distinctly different. Between 1973 and 1989, UCSD had a Chicano studies program that eventually melded with ethnic studies and lost its identity. This new program is designed to complement any area of study that a student may be following, whether it be biochemistry or communications, by delivering and highlighting the school’s resources in the humanities and arts with regards to Chicano and Latino history.

    “”This minor compliments many majors,”” Mariscal said. “”Additionally, employers look for people with Spanish language proficiency as well as a knowledge of the history of these communities, which is also very useful.””

    Another goal of the minor is to attract more Latino students because they are severely underrepresented on this campus, making up a mere 8 percent of undergraduate students.

    “”The administration is excited because giving the Latino community more visibility will bring more Latino students to the university,”” Mariscal said. “”It will also improve the campus climate to create one that is beneficial to the students. I anticipate there will be lots of positive consequences for the university.””

    The Chicano and Latino arts and humanities minor will not restrict its courses exclusively to ones that concern the Chicano and Latino experience. There will also be an interest in the indigenous cultures of both North and Latin America, known as indigenismo, where certain people identify themselves with the Native American culture, which is also closely related to the experiences of Latinos.

    This type of program exemplifies the Sixth College philosophy: a course of study that highlights the community through study of culture, art and technology. While Sixth College does not require the study of a foreign language, two years of spanish are required for the minor. In such a state as California, where the Latino population is high, knowledge of Spanish can be highly beneficial.

    But one of the most important functions of this minor, according to Mariscal, is “”to serve as a clearing house for all Latino oriented events, to be a focal point for events that may already exist, to bring people together who normally don’t talk.””

    This minor is one way to unify and educate the community about the Chicano/Latino culture by publicizing events that take place in this region.

    To inaugurate the creation of the new minor, Arturo Madrid, a professor from Trinity University, will be lecturing at the Cross Cultural Center on Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. Madrid taught at UCSD from 1970 to 1973 and helped found Thurgood Marshall College. Although this is one initial step toward teaching about the history of the Mexican and Latino experience, much still needs to be done.

    “”Now, we need space. A place where people can go,”” said literature professor Rosaura Sanchez, who is also on the minor’s steering committee.

    A centralized place is needed for administrative support, advising, donations and for other functions.

    To find out more information on the Chicano Latino arts and humanities minor visit the web site at http://clah.ucsd.edu.

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