This is an archived article. For the latest news, go to the Advance Homepage
For more archives, go to the Advance Archive/Search Page.

  September 10, 2001

New Minor Offers Students
a Focus on Human Rights

What are human rights? How has the concept of human rights evolved? How and why have human rights been violated, both in the United States and abroad? These are some of the questions undergraduates will address in choosing a minor in human rights that is being offered for the first time this semester.

"I think many students come to the university with a strong social conscience and an interest in human rights," says Kenneth Neubeck, associate professor of sociology, director of the new minor. "A minor in human rights gives such students an opportunity to do academic work in a sustained and focused way in that area."

The minor, open to students in all schools and colleges, offers interdisciplinary instruction in theoretical, comparative, and historical perspectives on human rights through classroom courses, and practical experience in the human rights field through a supervised internship.

"It is particularly fitting that we inaugurate this minor during the Human Rights Semester," says Veronica Makowsky, associate dean of liberal arts and sciences. "The human rights minor is the first step in making human rights a significant academic component of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

"CLAS values the minor not only for its interdisciplinary approach, but for its emphasis on the humanities and social sciences, unlike that of many universities which emphasize law," she adds. "We hope that the minor will develop into a unique and intellectually challenging academic program in human rights.

Fifteen credits of course work at the 200 level is required, and students must complete an internship for three of those credits.

Courses are offered in history, anthropology, economics, philosophy, sociology, and women's studies. These were selected by an interdiscipli nary committee of liberal arts and sciences faculty appointed by Dean Ross MacKinnon.

For the practical component, students may intern with a human rights-related agency, group or organization. The final grade for the internship will be based on completion of a portfolio in which students synthesize their course work and their internship experience. The portfolio may consist of an analytical paper or papers, a media production (photography or video), or some combination of these.

For more information, contact Neubeck at (860) 486-4425 or by e-mail.

Sherry Fisher

Issue Index