BC Expands Cultural Diversity Core Requirement

Nearly 30 years after its addition to Boston College’s core curriculum in the fall of 1991, the cultural diversity core requirement has expanded to further address the changing cultural makeup of both the University and the world, according to Elizabeth Shlala, assistant dean for the core curriculum 

BC added two new pathways through which BC students can meet the cultural diversity requirement: Engaging Difference and Justice (EDJ) and Difference, Justice, and the Common Good in the United States (DJCG). 

The tracks include courses in three of BC’s four undergraduate schools. Courses range from Reimagining School and Society in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, to Gender, Sexuality, and Power in the Ottoman and British Empires in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, to Managing Diversity in the Carroll School of Management.

“As part of the Core Renewal process, there has been a call to expand the course offerings to further meet the challenges of our times,” Shlala, who is also an associate professor of the practice for the core curriculum, said in an email to The Heights

The Engaging Difference and Justice track includes five major learning goals, all of which aim to help students understand how free societies can create and foster “mutual respect” for their members, according to Shlala. 

These courses focus on the importance of community in various contexts, ranging from familial relationships to global interaction through shared values, inclusion, and solidarity. They seek to explore complex issues concerning race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, religion, and other sociocultural categories, Shlala said in the email.

Difference, Justice, and the Common Good in the United States seeks to fulfill three major learning goals to meet the cultural diversity requirement, according to Shlala. 

“Students will be able to explain how power shapes differences and creates injustices in the United States, and how power can be used to achieve justice,” Shlala wrote in the email. “In the context of the university’s Jesuit, Catholic mission, and as appropriate in the particular course, students encounter and engage the reality of a broken world that calls out for justice, love, and mercy.”

Courses under the DJCG pathway focus on connecting the history of intercultural relationships with present-day events and students’ individual experiences. 

These courses will center around the relationship between justice and the common good, Shlala said, and also aim to facilitate constructive dialogue in pursuit of justice for marginalized groups. 

“Students will explore the conditions that need to exist, and how to create those conditions, for all of society’s members to live fully human lives of freedom and integrity,” Shlala said. 

Featured Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Staff

April 26, 2021