In an effort to foster an understanding of diversity across campus, Kansas State is working to create a multicultural overlay requirement for all colleges.
The College of Arts and Sciences actively requires this for its students, but it remains the only college at K-State with such a requirement. The initiative to expand this degree requirement is one part of the Action Plan for a More Inclusive K-State.
“The main idea is that we don’t want this process to be that students come take a class and say, ‘Alright, I’m done with this multicultural overlay thing,'” Amit Chakrabarti, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “We don’t want that because learning about diversity and inclusion is an everyday thing. Students should be well-versed in this subject when they graduate.”
Chakrabarti said the new requirement will likely look different for each college once it is introduced.
“This will not be an exact copy of the Arts and Sciences,” Chakrabarti said. “We are talking about how to make this a process, how to bring the students’ life experience into the picture.”
The committee, which features faculty and advisers from each of K-State’s colleges, also wants to stress the importance of these skills post-graduation.
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“We need to bring it to the students saying, ‘This is not only good for you because of learning diverse issues that will make you a better student, a better person, better citizen, but also from an employment perspective — this will make you a stronger candidate,'” Chakrabarti said.
In order to achieve this, Chakrabarti said the goal is to make sure the courses are taught by experts in their fields who have experience teaching and learning about diversity.
“The other thing that we are discussing is what should be the main characteristic of courses that that should be included in the overlay,” Chakrabarti said. “How do we make it a process that the students go through and get exposure to multicultural questions in the context of their discipline.”
While the process is ongoing, Chakrabarti said the committee hopes to bring a proposal to President Richard Myers by the end of the spring semester.
“It’s taking us time to do it but we’re going to do it right,” Chakrabarti said. “There’s just so much at stake here that we have to we have to do the best job we can.”