U to offer GLBT minor

by Mehgan Lee

Starting this fall, the University will offer a minor in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender studies.

The College of Liberal Arts faculty proposed the minor during the 2002-03 academic year and administration accepted it the following year, said Arlene Carney, CLA associate dean.

The University is now one of 12 colleges and universities in the nation to offer a GLBT studies minor.

“I’m very pleased to see the University is one of the leading institutions as far as getting this program in place,” said Luciano Patino, co-chairman of the Queer Student Cultural Center. “It shows a certain level of dedication to GLBT students on campus.”

The GLBT studies minor will consist of a three-credit introductory class, GLBT 1001, and 15 upper-division credits, including two core classes and three electives.

The Women’s Studies Department will administer the minor, so students can apply for it there or through CLA student services, Carney said.

The Women’s Studies Department is happy to house the minor, said Joanna O’Connell, the department’s chair.

“Many courses in women’s studies are courses that already dealt with GLBT students,” she said. “And we’ve already been offering courses that are going to serve as part of the minor.”

The minor is open and available to all students, O’Connell said.

“It’s obviously going to be of interest to GLBT students, but it’s also geared toward people that just want to learn more about the GLBT community,” she said.

Faculty, students and the GLBT Programs Office have worked on putting the minor together and getting it adopted since the mid-1990s, said B David Galt, GLBT Programs Office director. The planning began following a recommendation made by the University’s Select Committee for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns.

The committee, established in 1990, examined the campus climate for GLBT students, staff and faculty and offered suggestions on how to make it more inclusive. Members suggested, among other things, the establishment of a GLBT studies program.

Marc Korobkin, a psychology and sociology junior, applied to the University because the minor was being established, he said.

Korobkin has taken a few GLBT courses at the University and often recommends them to his friends, he said.

“The classes I’ve taken with a GLBT designator are probably the best classes I’ve taken here so far,” he said.

Students taking GLBT classes are very diverse, which allows for great discussions, Korobkin said.

Korobkin worked on the GLBT Task Force last year, which compiled a list of 60 students interested in taking a GLBT minor in a few days, he said.

“One of the reasons the minor exists is because of student demand,” O’Connell said.

The University has offered courses in GLBT studies since 1988. These courses consistently reached or surpassed enrollment caps, according to the program proposal for the GLBT minor.

The proposal also reported that students have been creating their own GLBT studies programs, mainly through the Individually Designed Interdepartmental Major, for 10 years.

The University does not yet offer a major in GLBT studies, Carney said.

“That will depend on the demand for the minor and the kinds of proposals faculty make,” she said.