November 17, 2014
A new minor in intergroup relations education, which starts next semester, will allow students to develop their abilities to relate to others in inclusive and socially conscious ways.
The Program on Intergroup Relations, a partnership between LSA and Student Life, will offer the new minor with courses that prepare students to become leaders in promoting and advancing equity, diversity, justice, and peace. The new degree expands the U-M's offerings for students interested in pursuing a minor in social justice.
The minor is a recognition that, in an increasingly connected society and world, people are continually challenged to learn to live and work peacefully and productively with people of different identities, including gender, race, religion, socio-economic class, sexuality, and more.
With the recent resurgence in social justice-related activism on the U-M campus, the importance of positive and healthy relations across identities may be more evident now than ever before.
The minor formalizes a sequence of courses already offered to students, and builds on more than 60 years of intergroup relations theory and research.
Through a combination of learning intergroup relations pedagogy and participating in engaged learning opportunities, students who elect the minor will develop an awareness of themselves, both individually and as members of larger social groups. They will also explore how prejudice, discrimination, and social inequalities manifest in society.
"The IGR minor is a valuable complement to any major. Now more than ever, it is crucial for students to become national and global citizens who understand this nation's history and are able to work across social divisions and conflict," says IGR Co-Director Kelly Maxwell.
"Students who earn a minor in Intergroup Relations Education will develop the insight and skills to lead diverse organizations and work effectively across difference."
Two courses within the minor — Intergroup Dialogue and Processes of Intergroup Dialogue Faciliation — will be eligible to fulfill the university's Race and Ethnicity course requirement, which was instated as a result of a student-initiated campaign on campus.
Students interested in completing the minor are encouraged to take advantage of IGR's walk-in academic advising hours, which are listed on the IGR website.
For more than 25 years, IGR has served as the nation's flagship program for the development, study and practice of the four-stage model of intergroup dialogue. Through engaged learning, research, and leadership opportunities, IGR educates students on social justice and intergroup relations, to prepare them to lead others in creating a more inclusive campus and world.