Group of students

The Idea for BDIC Originated with UMass Students

In 1968, a group of students organized a conference and called for more individualism in education. Professor Arthur Kinney in the English department then stepped forward. He shaped the student demand for academic freedom into a rigorous and interdisciplinary program. BDIC was approved by the faculty senate and board of trustees and began to operate in the fall of 1970.


Through the BDIC major “…the student is thus able to pursue his own academic, intellectual, or professional interests even when... there is no major program offered for his purpose.”

Arthur Kinney, 1933 - 2021
Co-Founder of BDIC and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English
Arthur F. Kinney photo
Alexa Vargas

Blazing New Trails with BDIC

Susan Howard ’76, now a successful attorney, was one of the first BDIC graduates. She decided to major in women’s studies before the existence of the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies department. Howard says, “I thought if I want to learn history I want to learn about women’s history, and if I want to learn about political movements I want to learn about women’s political movements.”


Image: Alexa Vargas '22