SF State News {University Communications}

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University unveils Web redesign

February 8, 2008 -- SF State today rolled out a new Web design template that will provide a visually appealing and unifying design for the University's colleges and departments.

B.A. in American Indian Studies now offered

February 4, 2008 -- The College of Ethnic Studies added a new bachelor's degree this semester in American Indian Studies. Previously, SF State students could only minor in this course of study, which emphasizes California Indian Studies and the arts, humanities, law, politics and society, science, health and environmental studies as they pertain to Native peoples. The new major will be implemented with an additional faculty member, bringing the total number of faculty in American Indian Studies to five.

American Indian dancers at SF State.

American Indian dancers visit SF State. Photo: American Indian Studies Department

"We are fulfilling a plan that began when the College was born 40 years ago and embarking on a new and exciting academic agenda," Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies Kenneth P. Monteiro said. "As one of the founding departments in the College, American Indian Studies completes the original plan by adding the B.A. At the same time, the innovative manner in which the current faculty have implemented it, makes this American Indian Studies B.A. a leading model for the future of the field."

The number of students to declare a minor in this field of study has tripled at San Francisco State since 2002. Many of these students have already declared the major, and the department estimates that number may reach 70 students in the next five years.

SF State is one of only three universities in the California State University system to offer a B.A. in American Indian Studies. San Diego State and Humboldt State house the others. Joanne Barker, associate professor and chair of American Indian Studies, said the scope of the expanded curriculum includes a deeper focus on the native people of California, as well as the study of indigenous people of the Americas and the Pacific.

"We are committed to preparing students to become active, ethical citizens of their nations," Barker said. "We do this by providing a comparative, international curriculum in the histories, cultures and politics of Native peoples in the United States and U.S. occupied territories like American Samoa. Our emphasis on community participatory learning and cultural diversity allows students to be directly involved with their communities in a way that the founders of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State envisioned." Barker, a member of the Delaware nation in Oklahoma, said that students who minored in American Indian Studies have advanced to such diverse careers as teaching, business, law, public service and medicine. The bachelor's degree will allow students to pursue master's or doctoral degrees in American Indian Studies.

Anthropology major Morrigan Yaayaaginaxix Shaw, a native Alaskan and member of the Tlingit tribe, added the new B.A. as soon as it became available and expects to complete her double major in 2008. "I may be the only person to receive the degree this year," she said. Shaw hopes to receive an internship as a tribal repatriation officer in Juneau, Alaska, following graduation and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in anthropology.

Established in 1969 by students, faculty and community members, the College of Ethnic Studies at SF State is the only college in the United States devoted entirely to ethnic studies.

-- Denize Springer

-- Michael Bruntz


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