Screenshot of Stony Brook University’s Undergraduate Bulletin detailing a new Stony Brook curriculum requirement, Respect Diversity and Foster Inclusiveness (DIV). Freshmen who matriculated this year, transfer students who matriculate in the Spring of 2020 or later and students who re-enroll during the Fall of 2019 or later after withdrawing from the university are required to take a class that fulfills the DIV requirement. SCREENSHOT OF STONYBROOK.EDU

A new Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) requirement was added this semester: Respect Diversity and Foster Inclusiveness (DIV).

Freshmen who matriculated this year, transfer students who matriculate in the Spring of 2020 or later and students who re-enroll during the Fall of 2019 or later after withdrawing from the university are required to take a class that fulfills the DIV requirement.

According to the Undergraduate Bulletin, the goal of this new SBC is to not only “highlight, respect, and understand” human differences, but also to “discover and reveal our similarities and common goals.” The bulletin reveals that the learning outcomes of the new SBC will enhance students’ “openness to people who differ from themselves and ideas that are in conflict with their own.”

“I think this new requirement will make students more aware of other cultures and of the world in general,” Melinda Mercedes, a freshman astronomy major, said.

Students who fulfill the requirement should be able to “describe and analyze the impact of power and privilege on self and society in the context of diversity and inclusion; [to] identify systemic barriers to equality and inclusiveness and discuss how those barriers and biases affect the perceptions of others; [to] examine how human and cultural similarities and differences shape personal identities and influence structural and institutional inequities; [and to] critically reflect upon how one’s own personal and cultural presuppositions affect one’s values and relationships.” 

Dr. Jarvis Watson, interim chief diversity officer, explained that the new requirement should provide professors and faculty with an opportunity to be more inclusive with their content and pedagogy.

“I believe that this is an excellent addition to the SB Curriculum, as it will assist with bringing more voices and experiences to the classroom,” he said. 

The new SBC is a part of Stony Brook University’s plan for equity, inclusion and diversity, which arises out of an effort to enhance the campus community by encompassing a broad definition of diversity with a focus on race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, ability, veteran status, socioeconomic level and sexual orientation. The elements of the plan came from various discussions and written exchanges with students, faculty and staff. 

“I think if more people take the classes for the DIV SBC, there will be more respect to go around campus because we really need that,” Nikita Chatoredussy, sophomore applied mathematics and statistics major, said. “It will be very beneficial because of the increase of diversity around both Stony Brook campus and the world.”

Jeadelle Gustave, senior business major, agrees that the new requirement will have an impact on students.  

“As a fellow person of color, I wish I had more access to classes that integrate diversity,” Gustave said. “I’m excited for the opportunity the new generation has to learn about both his culture and the different cultures around the world.”

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