Academics

Diversity Course Requirement

Associate of Arts Degree

Definition

Diversity in the curriculum refers to the study of one or more groups that have been historically marginalized on the basis of culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, disability, religion, age, immigration, and /or geopolitical power.  Diversity-designated courses facilitate academic inquiry, analysis and understanding of past and current differences, conflicts, and relations of power, thereby moving the discourse of diversity beyond mere tolerance, celebration, or appreciation.

Beginning Fall 2011 for newly enrolling students

Green River students entering in Fall 2011 and after (under the 2011-13 catalog) must take at least one diversity-designated course in order to receive an AA degree.  See Courses for a list of approved courses. 

 

FAQs

Why does Green River have a DCR?

  • Diversity-designated courses facilitate academic inquiry, analysis and understanding of past and current differences, conflicts, and relations of power, thereby moving the discourse of diversity beyond mere tolerance, celebration, or appreciation. 

  • Because issues around diversity can be contentious and emotional, a required diversity course makes it less easy to avoid some difficult yet urgent issues, while hopefully providing a relatively safe and productive environment to encourage new ways of thinking and develop new tools.

  • 12 out of 24 Washington state community colleges have a diversity requirement.  By joining those peer colleges, we prepare students for transfer to the university level, as well as for adult life in a diverse world and workplace with changing demographics.

  • A diversity requirement serves all students in profound ways and positively impacts campus climate.  Such a requirement is also distinctly important for the recruitment and retention of students of color.

  • Diversity is a central value in Green River’s mission in serving students, which the DCR helps to meet. 

How is diversity defined?

Diversity in the curriculum refers to the study of one or more groups that have been historically marginalized on the basis of culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, disability, religion, age, immigration, and /or geopolitical power.

For which GRCC students does the DCR apply?

GRCC students entering in Fall 2011 and after (under the 2011-13 catalog) must take at least one diversity-designated course in order to receive an AA degree. As with any changes to the catalog, students can opt to follow the catalog currently in use or at the time of their first enrollment. Students may petition the Degree Exception committee if there is uncertainty about which catalog applies or if they believe they have had a hardship in trying to meet the diversity requirement prior to graduation based on the availability of classes.

Does the DCR mean that more credits or classes are required for the AA degree?

The DCR does not add a new course or new credits to the AA degree. Diversity-designated courses also meet already-existing degree requirements, either as distribution credits (in Social Science, Humanities, English or Fine Arts) or as electives.

Why is a diversity course required only for the AA degree and not for Prof/Tech degrees or the AS degree?

While some Prof/Tech programs (like Criminal Justice and Early Childhood Education) do have diversity requirements, and some infuse diversity into their curriculum, other programs and the AS degree have strict restrictions on available credits. Prof/Tech programs (AAA, AAS, AAA-PTS, AAS-PTS, Cert and/or Cert-P) are managed by advisory boards, which also oversee any changes to their degrees.

Can students petition for exemption from the DCR based on personal identity, experience or prior learning?

Students are not able to petition for exemption on such a basis. The purpose of a diversity requirement is to ensure that students have been exposed to academic frameworks through which better to understand their own and others' experiences.

What variety of diversity courses will be offered throughout the academic year? With what frequency?

See the Courses link on the left. Sponsoring divisions will try to ensure that a breadth of courses are offered across time of day, quarters, and/or instructional formats. Faculty may propose new courses to be added to the list of diversity-designed courses based on their own or student interest and need.

How do courses receive a diversity designation, and what are the criteria?

Diversity-designated courses are approved by the Instructional Diversity Committee (IDC) through an application and review process; they must meet the following criteria:

The course must have a primary focus on at least ONE of the following categories:

a. One or more groups historically excluded on the basis of culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, disability, religion, age, immigration, and/or geopolitical power (may be within the U.S., outside the U.S., or across national borders).

b. An aspect of one or more historically excluded groups (e.g., literature, history, culture, art, profession/labor, etc.).

c. Critical approaches to the study of culture, power, stratification or oppression (e.g., racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty, ageism, persecution, imperialism, etc.).

The course must also substantively address at least TWO of the following categories:

a. Recognize one's social position and geopolitical location, along with the consequences of both.

b. Examine economic, political, and social relations, along with their impact on communities, systems of interdependence, inequalities, and/or processes of transformation.

c. Analyze the multiple identities, histories, cultures, perspectives, contributions, knowledges, struggles and/or strategies of historically excluded groups.

d. Understand the operations and effects of institutional oppression and dominant group privilege; prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination; and/or the construction of dominant perspectives and disciplinary knowledge.

e. Develop skills and concepts related to conflict resolution, intercultural communication, cultural competencies, confronting inequitable treatment, and/ or advocacy for social justice; and or learn to collaborate and interact effectively, equitably and respectfully in diverse groups within the classroom or campus-related workplaces and practice areas.