Baruch College Launches Black and Latino Studies MajorProgram Adds Five New Faculty Members, Emphasizes Interdisciplinary Learning That Will Serve Students No Matter Which Career Path They Choose
September 8, 2022
Baruch College, part of The City University of New York, has launched a Black and Latino Studies (BLS) degree program for the 2022–23 academic year.
The innovative degree track, housed in the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences and chaired by Professor Shelly Eversley, PhD, adds five full-time, dedicated faculty members and breaks new ground by answering the call for a 21st-century approach to race and ethnic studies –– combining an explicitly antiracist, interdisciplinary pedagogy that will serve students no matter which career path they choose.
“With the new Black and Latino Studies major, Baruch offers a program that provides our students a comprehensive understanding of race, ethnicity, identity, and the bearing they have on society,” said Baruch College President S. David Wu. “This is a great opportunity to cultivate the next generation of leaders and policymakers. The BLS major builds on Baruch’s rich history in the field and reflects our values as an institution: excellence in teaching, research, and outcomes for our students.”
According to Dr. Eversley, Baruch’s BLS major will draw from ethnic studies’ perennial commitment to community engagement by making explicit connections between classroom learning and an array of real-world applications, including research, communications and advocacy, and policymaking.
“All careers need problem solvers and critical thinkers” says Dr. Eversley. “BLS students will be able to think through challenges using multiple lenses for analysis. They’ll get experience working with both qualitative and quantitative methods through literature, politics, economics, history, and communication, just to name a few. This differentiated approach will prepare students for post-college careers in both the public and private sectors, including education, human resources, public policy, journalism, the law, and community development.”
Baruch’s new BLS major will include a range of academic disciplines from faculty across Baruch’s three schools: the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, and the Zicklin School of Business.
At Baruch, interdisciplinary learning is the very bedrock of students’ future professional skills, enabling them to be creative, flexible, and adaptable to a world that is in flux.
A critical component of the 30-credit degree program is a substantial fieldwork requirement. Students will receive course credit for their work with New York City–based and national organizations dedicated to advancing racial and social justice, gaining the operational and leadership skills for career success.
Students will also participate in public-facing research projects, giving them a chance to forge connections with diverse communities and translate their classroom experience to the work of policymakers, activists, and other experts.
50 Years of BLS at Baruch
At Baruch since 1970, the Department of Black and Latino Studies has consistently been responsive to social and political calls for racial justice in New York City and around the world. For more than five decades, the department has made significant contributions to the College’s and University’s mission of accessibility, diversity, inclusion, and academic excellence.
The department was born out of student activism calling for open education and more diverse representation in the student body. As colleges and universities across the country launched Black studies departments, Baruch started one of the only combined BLS departments in the country—many other institutions established programs that treated Black and Latino studies as separate fields.
Building on this tradition of inclusion and a commitment to the liberatory potential of critical race studies, the department centers race, racism, and power while continuing to explore equally pressing questions about gender, sexuality, and class.
Going forward, Baruch will be among the small number of colleges and universities that offer a combined Black and Latino Studies major. This program fully replaces the ad-hoc major program and, for the first time in the department’s 50-year history, adds a large contingent of dedicated faculty members.
The five new faculty members each specialize in a different field of study and mode of research, and the department has also added several new courses, including a class on climate justice taught by Dr. Eversley. Furthermore, 27 faculty members from Baruch’s three schools have committed to partnering with BLS, cross-listing courses and collaborating on events and initiatives.
CUNY’s Black, Race and Ethnic Studies Initiative
Baruch’s BLS major adds to CUNY’s robust roster of interdisciplinary programs, as the University intensifies its efforts to advance social and racial justice across the system’s 25 campuses.
One of these important efforts is the Black, Race and Ethnic Studies Initiative (BRESI), a $3 million initiative to reimagine and further develop CUNY’s programming in these fields. BRESI reflects the University’s commitment to inclusion and to scholarship of the vast multiplicity of cultures represented by CUNY students and New York City as a whole.
In March, CUNY established a BRESI Council as a formal University-wide body. The council’s first focus has been forging a University-wide community that will, for the first time, bring together the many faculty and students and centers and institutes engaged in the study of race and ethnicity throughout the CUNY system.
A key aspect of the program is the awarding of competitive grants totaling an estimated $1.9 million for students, faculty, and staff across CUNY. In May, Chancellor Matos-Rodriquez released nine RFPs to support Black, Race, and Ethnic Studies research.
The results of these RFPs were just released, and Baruch received funding totaling around $150,000 for 13 projects and programs.
Weissman School of Arts and Sciences
The Weissman School of Arts and Sciences offers the atmosphere of a small liberal arts college and the resources of a major public university. With a nationally recognized faculty over 200 full-time members strong, the school provides personalized, supportive attention to its 2,600 undergraduate majors and more than 350 graduate students in five master’s programs, which combine academic excellence with practical experience. The school also delivers essential common core courses required of all Baruch undergraduates to ensure they enter the workplace and the world with excellent communication, quantitative, and critical-thinking skills, along with civic, ethical, cross-cultural, and aesthetic awareness. baruch.cuny.edu/wsas
About Baruch College
Baruch College provides students with the skills, knowledge, and perspectives to pursue their aspirations in today’s global environment. Part of The City University of New York (CUNY), Baruch is also listed among the nation’s top public colleges for academic excellence, affordability, student success, and value. Its three schools educate about 20,000 students who represent one of the most diverse college campuses in the country. Strong career and support services drive Baruch’s national recognition as an engine for social and economic mobility. Through executive education, international partnerships, public events, and arts programming, Baruch stands out as an intellectual and cultural resource for New York City and the world. baruch.cuny.edu
Liam Ben Zur