New department opponents shortsighted

Originally published in the 4/5/10 issue of the KSU Sentinel:

By Joel Mendelson

The transformation of Kennesaw State University into a major university has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. A rapid increase in student population, new degree programs and a commitment among the faculty and staff to provide a great educational experience is leading KSU into areas of growth never previously considered.

There are those who feel this growth isn’t just unwarranted but dangerous to the precious culture of Cobb County. Upon the announcement that KSU is considering adding a new department, Cultural and Regional Studies, some locals balked at the idea. Their disapproval will prove to be a highly miscalculated judgment.

Many argue that a department that focuses on areas such as gender or race studies doesn’t provide students with a career path upon graduation. However, no one said the degree you earn as an undergraduate is where you must find your chosen career. It’s an opportunity to study, learn and gain a greater understanding of the world around you.

Students who receive a bachelors degree in Cultural and Regional Studies may go on to law school and subsequently fight for equal pay for women. A Latin American Studies major might go on to assist the United States gain a better understanding of its growing Latin American population and immigration problem. The point being, a person’s degree doesn’t dictate their career path.

KSU should not base a decision to create a department on the jobs available for its graduates. Going to college is a not a ticket to get a job after receiving a degree, and anyone who is in college exclusively to get a decent job following graduation should be prepared for a serious disappointment.

The Department of Cultural and Regional studies is all about growth, expansion and new horizons.  Creating a department to house degree programs ranging from Gender and Women’s Studies to Peace Studies allows for a more developed curriculum, the ability to track students’ progress and to understand how to better the program.  With the programs currently spread throughout the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this new department will provide students with the consolidation they deserve.

Another factor to consider is that a Cultural Studies department is not a shocking addition to a growing and large university. For example, UGA offers many of the same programs KSU is proposing. The university’s adding this department shows a commitment to continue to diversify its undergraduate and graduate programs and further illustrates KSU’s drastic growth over the last decade.

The decision to add new degrees and departments is a wise choice as KSU aspires to be a great university. Diversity, in both its student body and areas of study, provides prospective KSU a greater incentive to attend KSU for undergraduate or graduate studies.

The sooner we all embrace its willingness to grow and prosper, the sooner KSU becomes a destination university for students in Georgia, the Southeast and beyond.

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Filed under Kennesaw State News, Local News, News

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