In fall 2009, Colorado State University’s Department of Ethnic Studies will offer a master’s degree in ethnic studies, making it the first and only master’s program of its kind in Colorado. The program will address issues related to the growing diversity of U.S. society and its workforce, ethnic conflict worldwide and globalization.
"Issues of race and ethnicity are becoming increasingly significant due to deep structural shifts and cultural practices locally, nationally and internationally," said Irene Vernon, chairwoman of the Department of Ethnic Studies at Colorado State. "Difficult challenges stem from deeply rooted racial conflicts as well as from people, cultures and capital crossing national borders. The consequences of inattention to this reality are enormous."
The Ethnic Studies graduate program will teach students to understand the unique and interlocking experiences of racially marginalized groups and to analyze how race intersects with other forces of social differentiation such as gender, sexuality and class in national and international contexts. The program recognizes the importance not only of the history of racial exclusion and marginalization but also the creative ways in which various racial groups sustain their humanity through cultural preservation, transference and renewal.
"Ethnic Studies is committed to nurturing students to become culturally aware, astute, civic-minded individuals who strive to strengthen the communities in which they reside. Because the study of ethnic groups intrinsically reveals how race structures life chances and opportunities, the scholarly orientation of the department reflects a commitment to meaningful changes in public policy and social life," Vernon said.
The Department of Ethnic Studies was formerly the Center for Applied Studies in American Ethnicity, or CASAE. The name change became effective for the fall 2008 semester. The department is housed in the College of Liberal Arts.