The Ethnic Studies Minor Program at Saint Mary's College of California uses an interdisciplinary approach to address issues of social justice through expanded notions of critical thinking, multiculturalism, gender sensitivity, business ethics, and community responsibility. It is a vehicle for realizing our Lasallian mission, which includes a “concern with the whole person...respectful of the individuality of each one, [and] takes as its starting point the character, the social situation, and the personal vocation of each student.” Through research, teaching, service learning, and public outreach, Ethnic Studies will explore the specific “social situations” of individuals and entire communities that have been historically underrepresented, with the long-term expectation of fostering a unified campus climate. The Ethnic Studies Program minor at Saint Mary’s will help SMC achieve the civic mission of higher education which is to educate students to reach across cultural differences by learning first to understand their own identities so as to be able to communicate with people with other cultural backgrounds without “othering” them, but instead learning to create and to live in a more diverse society.
In addition to teaching students to live fruitful lives in a world where a diversity of cultures coexist together, the Ethnic Studies minor complements most majors offered at Saint Mary’s College, whether students choose a career in, say, sociology, politics, medicine, education, psychology, or business. In every one of these careers, ES provides a solid foundation essential for our graduates to offer their expertise fully to the different ethnic communities in which we will increasingly live out our lives.