University of Minnesota creating Islamic studies program


University of Minnesota creating Islamic studies program

The new University of Minnesota program will include an Islamic studies minor.

The University of Minnesota has taken the first steps to roll out an Islamic studies program following pressure from some members of the Religious Studies (RELS) program.

Currently, students can graduate with a concentration on the Middle East and Islam through RELS. Thanks to the Islamic Studies program that is currently being developed and its two new faculty members, students will also be able to minor in Islamic studies.

Jeanne Kilde, director of RELS, said she is working create a curriculum committee that determines what classes will make up the program. She said she hopes to create a proposal by the end of the semester, and roll out the program by 2020.

“There’s growing interest,” Kilde said of the demand for the program. “The [Muslim] population here is growing, our student body is growing and changing.”

Kilde said although students can pursue a concentration in Islamic studies through RELS, there’s a lack of awareness of the focus. The new program would make Islamic studies more visible and provide a concentrated focus on the religion, she said.

RELS is an interdepartmental program, meaning it draws courses and faculty from other departments across the University’s College of Liberal Arts. Professors Mohsen Goudarzi and Aisha Ghani were the first faculty who were hired for RELS. The two also teach in other departments within CLA.

Source: The Minnesota Daily

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