Partnerships with Community Colleges Lead to Curriculum Development

By Eileen Kunkler

In partnership with Title VI Russian/East European and Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Centers at the University of California Berkeley; University of Indiana; University of Pittsburgh; and the University of Washington, CSEES participated in a new program in the 2014-15 academic year to support curriculum development at community colleges and minority-serving institutions across the country. The new program provides stipends to faculty at these institutions to design new courses focused on Eastern Europe and Eurasia, or to redesign an existing course to have greater content about these regions.

The five participating National Resource Centers  pledged in their 2014-18 Title VI grant applications to the U.S. Department of Education that they would create this new program in order to broaden access to area studies knowledge at community colleges and minority-serving institutions. In the first year of the program, CSEES led its administration, creating an application, advertising it across the country, and then working with the selected faculty to use their stipends. Three faculty from 28 eligible-received applications were given stipends. A professor at Whatcom Community College in the state of Washington designed a new general Russian history course, while another at Yakima Valley Community College, also in Washington, redesigned a Russian history course that had not been taught for several years. The third professor, at New Mexico State University, created a new Central Asian history course that will be taught as part of a new sequence at the university on Mongol history. To build off of the work that these three professors undertook, the syllabi that they created through their stipends will be made available on a variety of websites that host curriculum resources to increase their availability to faculty across the country.

Year two of the program is already underway with the goal of supporting the development of another two to three courses.