SF State News {University Communications}

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News Release

SF State to offer B.A. in American Indian Studies

Popular minor will expand to prepare students for graduate work in ethnic studies and other fields

SAN FRANCISCO, January 30, 2008 -- San Francisco State University, home to the only College of Ethnic Studies in the United States, has added a bachelor's degree in American Indian Studies this semester. The number of students to declare a minor in this field of study has tripled at San Francisco State since 2002. Several students have already declared the major. The Department estimates that as many as 70 students will declare the major within the next five years.

Previously, SF State students could only minor in this course of study, which includes history, politics, language, arts, humanities and environmental studies pertaining to indigenous peoples.

"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 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."

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

"We prepare students to become active, ethical citizens of their nations. 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," Barker said. "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." SF State American Indian Studies students move on to diverse careers including teaching and public service. The bachelor's degree would also allow these students to pursue master's or doctoral degrees in American Indian Studies.

For more information about the new bachelor's degree in American Indian Studies or other departments within the SF State College of Ethnic Studies, visit http://www.sfsu.edu/~ethnicst

Established in 1969 by students, faculty and community members, the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University is the only college in the United States devoted entirely to ethnic studies. Curricula in Asian American Studies, Africana Studies, Raza Studies and American Indian Studies offer 6,000 students more than 175 courses each semester. Graduates of the SF State College of Ethnic Studies advance to careers in public service, teaching, social welfare, business, law and medicine.


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