Universities are increasingly looking for ways to incorporate sustainability into their curricula. UCLA has recently introduced a food studies minor, as well as a minor in literature and the environment, in response to student interest and a changing world. These interdisciplinary minors allow students to work with different departments (for instance, students in the literature and the environment minor can take social, life, and physical sciences classes) and provides opportunities for them to broaden their horizons when it comes to climate action. As David Schaberg, Dean of the Humanities at UCLA, puts it, these minors “aim to educate creative thinkers who read widely and learn to analyze, synthesize and apply knowledge; study world cultures; and become articulate speakers and persuasive writers. We want our students to graduate with the ability to thrive as global citizens.” Interdisciplinary minors with a focus on sustainability are a great way to educate students about climate change, and provide them with the background needed to compete in an increasingly green job market.
Jessica Wolf | UCLA Newsroom | March 7, 2016
Agrowing list of interdisciplinary minors is attracting students who seek to broaden their post-graduation prospects and interact with peers in different areas of study.
“I’m clearly seeing how beneficial the entrepreneurship minor is to my future career prospects,” said Veronica Chan, a fourth-year who is double-majoring in both architecture and design media arts. “But it is also sculpting me personally.”
That perception among students is one factor that’s driving the development of more interdisciplinary minors. Last year, the UCLA Anderson School of Management launched anentrepreneurship minor while the UCLA International Institute offered a global health minor. And a food studies minor developed by a cross section of campus departments and the Center for Community Learning will be offered this spring. So will a minor in literature and the environment, managed by the English department. Students in this minor will select environmentally focused electives from other humanities departments as well as those in the social, life and physical sciences.
With the recent additions of entrepreneurship and food studies, there are now five minors boasting similar cross-disciplinary curricula managed out of UCLA’s Undergraduate Education Initiatives, including social thought (launched in 2005), civic engagement (2006) and disability studies (2007). A free-standing interdisciplinary minor under UCLA’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies Program has existed since 1997.