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Tuesday, March 30, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 119

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New minor available to students in the fall

Students can register for courses in new Asian-American Studies program

By Sonal Patel
Daily Cougar Staff

Courses for the new Asian-American Studies program will be available in the Fall 1999 semester.

The minor, administered by the Cultural Studies Program of the Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Studies, includes a minimum of 18 semester hours, of which nine are advanced, Associate Professor of Education Yali Zou said.

"The minor will help prepare students to meet the increasingly heavy demands of a global environment," Zou said. In the past, Asian-American Studies has not been offered. 

Asian and Asian-Americans are the largest and fastest growing ethnic minority at UH. In 1998, the Asian student body represented 15 percent of the total student population.

In a 1995 study to test the program's effectiveness and potential, 99 percent of the involved 900 students and 200 faculty wanted to learn about the program, the cultures, society, music, art or languages, Zou said. 

The Asian-American Studies Center, chaired by Council Member Martha Wong, has also formed to actualize the program.

"The difficulty in approving this program was not its 'non-traditional' curriculum," Wong said. "It required resources and money."

The program was widely supported by campus leaders, such as Lawrence Curry, Dean of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication. The proposal was approved at an Undergraduate Council meeting in January, and the AASC reported success based on enrollment and diversity. Sixty percent of students already enrolled in the courses of the minor are non-Asian-Americans.

"The program gives people a chance to learn about vastly different aspects of Asian culture, and we support it for the same reason we've established a successful African-American Studies program, and a Mexican-American studies program," HFAC Dean Curry said. "Most of the courses in the minor will be provided by HFAC."

The minor includes two mandatory cultural studies courses, and other courses within anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics and modern languages can be directly applied.

Also, students may not take more than six hours from one field of study. Zou confirmed that new courses on special topics will be developed and added as appropriate instructors are located to teach them. 

This semester will enhance the minor as more courses are integrated, including the University's study-abroad program in China.

Funding for the program comes from community members and UH grants. Attorney Harry Gee, who is also an advisory member of AASC, clarified that government funding will not benefit the program since the yearly pledges are specific to programs and the Asian-American Studies program is not listed this year.
 

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