University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Amherst: General Education

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Social and Cultural Diversity

The General Education Social and Cultural Diversity ("D") requirement has two designations: U (Diversity: United States) and G (Diversity: Global). One course in each designation is required for completion of the two-course "Diversity" requirement. All courses satisfying the 'U' (US Diversity) and 'G' (Global Diversity) designation address the same generic diversity guidelines described below, and differ only in a content-focus that is primarily either US or global.

Within the four courses of the Social World requirement, students must take two courses devoted to specific study of diversity in human cultures and societies. It is important that General Education address the complex ways in which societies and cultures differ from one another. Educated individuals should be guided by attitudes which value cultural differences. Their perspectives on and communication with people of different cultures, both within their own society and in other societies, should emanate from an understanding of cultural diversity rather than from applying ethnocentric stereotypes. More specifically, the purposes of the requirement are: (1) to emphasize the need for educated citizens to understand that different cultures and societies provide unique contexts for human experience; (2) to analyze and appreciate the ways in which norms and values differ across cultures and societies; and (3) to encourage pluralistic perspectives. Courses satisfying this requirement shall reach beyond the perspectives of mainstream American culture and the Western tradition. They may focus on the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East; the descendants of those peoples living in North America; other minorities in Western industrial societies; and Native Americans. Since a sensitivity to social and cultural diversity is advanced by an understanding of the dynamics of power in modern societies, courses that focus on the differential life experiences of women outside the mainstream of American culture, minorities outside the mainstream of American culture, and the poor also come within the scope of this requirement.

The two designations have separate online proposal submission forms, Form LU for the US designation and Form LG for the Global designation. In cases where course proposals appear to satisfy both the U and G designation, proposers will need to select one of the two as the primary course designation. Courses cannot satisfy both the U and the G designations.

Proposers will use the U and G submission forms online. The General Education Council will use the criteria listed above in deciding whether proposed courses meet the criteria for the "U" or "G" versions of the Diversity requirement.

This information derives from Faculty Senate Special Report 85-024A and 85-024B and Forms LG and LU.

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