New East Asian Languages and Cultures Department and Majors Approved
The Occidental College faculty has approved changing the name of the Asian Studies department to East Asian Languages and Cultures.
The faculty also green-lighted three new majors -- Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies and East Asian Studies - and created an advisory committee to coordinate the interdisciplinary study of East Asia.
These changes -- which will take place in the 2010-2011 academic year -- better reflect the department's concentration on Chinese and Japanese language study and literature, said Morgan Pitelka, an associate professor of Asian Studies and its department chair. The new changes will also help unify the department's core and affiliated faculty on the curricular goals of East Asian studies and student assessment.
"We feel that the new name will provide students and other faculty a more transparent and honest description of what the department does," Pitelka said. "The name change also advertises the strength of the department in the study of East Asia rather than all of Asia."
Unlike the current Asian Studies major, the new majors will have no emphases such as China, Chinese language and literature, and Japan, because such designations were difficult to administer and were often confusing to students, he added.
The reworking of the department is the result of a comprehensive program review in 2008-09. Departmental faculty and external reviewers conducted a thorough analysis of program, which began in 2001.