New school, major in University’s future

Nicole Krohn and Nicole Krohn

Soon there may be a new school at the University.

Ethnic studies, women’s studies, American culture studies and popular culture may be reorganizing and combining to form the School of Cultural and Critical Studies.

The new school will offer a larger variety of classes to students, allowing faculty to work together more and possibly create a new major in Cultural and Critical Studies said Don McQuarie, director of American Culture Studies.

“It’s the natural thing to do,” he said. “And it intellectually appeals to faculty because they will be able to work together. Faculty will be able to work across departments and teach courses in multiple areas.”

Junior Jennifer Irving, an ethnic studies minor, said she thinks the new school is a good idea and will probably attract more students to the department.

“I’m sure more students will go into the college and they will have a more concrete set of students,” she said. “With a school, they would be more extensive and have a bigger face on campus. Many students choose to only minor in the areas, and I think this way more would choose it as a major.”

Irving said her main concern with the new school is that it would change the requirements and make it more challenging to be a major or minor in any of the four departments .

“If they changed the level of difficulty, that would be really unfair,” she said. “But overall, I think it’s actually a great idea.”

However, McQuarie said all major programs will continue and the reorganizing should not change requirements for current students in the program or delay graduation. However, there may be some future changes in curriculum such as the development of common courses to be taken by all majors within the school.

“We’re hoping to have some exciting courses to bring students together,” he said. “I think it will be real good for students.”

McQuarie also said the school will be good for the departments in general.

“Instead of four little departments, now we may be a big bully on campus,” he said.

Even with the new school, the four units will not lose their autonomy, said Timothy Messer-Kruse, professor and chair of ethnic studies. He also said there will be no cuts in faculty of staff, and in the future they may be able to hire even more faculty.

“Our hope is by creating the school we will be able to promote our programs better and get higher national recognition,” Messer-Kruse said. “It will highlight the strengths of BG because people recognized Bowling Green as a real area of strength in this area – interdisciplinary cultural studies.”

Messer-Kruse said the reorganization, which they have been working on for over two years, will happen in phases over the next year.

“It’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when,” he said. “Even though we might not have the sign outside that says we’re a school, the fact we have been cooperating has strengthened our units. There are real gains in the way our faculty has been working.”

Messer-Kruse said once the school is established, it will be a gain for everyone involved.

“It will strengthen all our programs, allow faculty a greater range of opportunities and allow students a greater range of choices,” he said. “If you look at the overall variety, it will increase.”