July 26, 2012 Volume 33, No. 35
Multicultural Studies certificate teaches diversity, helps students find jobs
More than 1,000 students have earned the certificate since 2008
Graduates who list earning MU’s multicultural studies certificate on their resume are finding jobs, program director Etti Naveh-Benjamin said.
“It helps prepare students to interact with different cultures,” said Naveh-Benjamin, an assistant professor in psychological sciences.
“A student who earns the certificate shows that they have an interest in global issues and other cultures,” she said.
In 2008, when Naveh-Benjamin took over as director of the Multicultural Certificate Program, 38 students were involved. Five years later, more than 1,000 students have received the certificate and some 1,500 are working toward it, Naveh-Benjamin said.
Students choose from about 600 approved courses as they work through the program. “The certificate is diverse in itself,” Naveh-Benjamin said. “Many of the classes that students take for their major or minor can be applied to it.”
Students complete 15 credit hours of approved courses that embrace diversity and make students aware of multicultural and social justice issues. Study abroad and service learning, which are courses involving community service, also can count toward the certificate.
The College of Arts and Science runs the program, which is open to all MU undergraduates.
Student workers assist with the program’s day-to-day duties, give class presentations and advise others.
Student assistant Jennifer Fleming is scheduled to graduate in December with the certificate along with degrees in French, international studies and anthropology.
“I feel like I am more open-minded and better able to interact with people,” Fleming said. “The classes have opened my eyes to the world.”
Naveh-Benjamin believes the certificate is just the beginning.
“Students learn about diversity,” she said. “Then, hopefully, they pass that on to their children who pass it on to their children. In the long run, this can have a big impact.”
— Josh Murray