LGBT studies major to be available at CCSF

While budget cuts threaten the existence of many programs at California colleges and universities, one San Francisco institution is looking to add one.

Faculty at City College of San Francisco is working to create an associate’s degree major in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies, the first of its kind in the country.

According to Ardel Thomas, CCSF’s chair of the LGBT studies department, it is appropriate for City College to offer a major in LGBT studies because it was the first institution of higher learning in the country and second in the world to develop a department in the field.

“Our department would benefit from having a major because students are asking for a major in the field to transfer and continue their studies at four year and research institutions,” Thomas said.

Once the state community college board in Sacramento approves City College’s proposal to allow the major, Thomas said students who enroll next semester will be able to take courses in the department that will count toward an associate’s degree in LGBT studies.

Thomas said the fact that City College would be the first community college in the state to offer such a major makes its acceptance “tricky” in Sacramento.

“For example, when the school was seeking approval of a major in women’s studies, Sacramento quickly agreed because so many two-year colleges were already offering it,” Thomas said.

Offering a major in the field also won’t impose costs to City College, Thomas said.

“The cost of this process is time to meet, write and polish the proposal we’re presenting in Sacramento at the end of April,” Thomas said. “And it’s great because we’re here for the students.”

Pau Crego, a 23-year-old former City College student who graduated in December 2010, said that the LGBT degree program is crucial.

“The LGBT community has been constantly erased in history and in mainstream culture,” Crego said. “It is vital to support classrooms where we can share knowledge on our histories, our very different life experiences and the issues that are important to us.”

Crego received his associate’s degree in women’s studies and said he would have liked to major in LGBT studies because he aspires to be a college instructor in that field.

“Although my field of study is both women and LGBT studies, I can only gain work experience in the women studies field due to the inexistent LGBT studies major at City College,” he said.

Crego also agrees that a major in LGBT studies would allow for easier matriculation between the school and four-year universities for transferring purposes.

“Even though I took enough classes from the (LGBT studies) department, I am concerned that other students who have the official support of their LGBT studies major will be prioritized over me,” Crego wrote in an email.

Currently SF State, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz and Stanford are among the four-year universities in the Bay Area that offer degrees or certificates in LGBT studies. SF State offers a minor in LGBT studies, but not a major.

“It is great to have more focus on LGBT studies in the state,” said David Frost, assistant professor of sexuality studies at SF State. “There is no place like San Francisco to learn about it.”

Frost said SF State is one of the few universities in the country to have a graduate program in sexuality studies that focuses on the social sciences of the field.

“Most universities focus on the humanities of sexuality studies, which is based on the medical perspective of sexuality,” Frost said.

A focus on the social sciences of sexuality means learning how relationships and social experiences define and construct sexuality, Frost said.

However, only one student at SF State is currently declared as a LGBT minor according to Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment management at the University.

Yet the statistic does not mean only one student will graduate with a LGBT minor in the spring, she said.

“Students do not identify a minor when they apply for admission,” Volkert wrote in an email. “They only indicate minors once they are enrolled, or in some cases when they graduate.” While budget cuts threaten the existence of many programs at California colleges and universities, one San Francisco institution is looking to add one.

Faculty at City College of San Francisco is working to create an associate’s degree major in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies, the first of its kind in the country.

According to Ardel Thomas, CCSF’s chair of the LGBT studies department, it is appropriate for City College to offer a major in LGBT studies because it was the first institution of higher learning in the country and second in the world to develop a department in the field.

“Our department would benefit from having a major because students are asking for a major in the field to transfer and continue their studies at four year and research institutions,” Thomas said.

Once the state community college board in Sacramento approves City College’s proposal to allow the major, Thomas said, students who enroll next semester will be able to take courses in the department that will count toward an associate’s degree in LGBT studies.

Thomas said the fact that City College would be the first community college in the state to offer such a major makes its acceptance “tricky” in Sacramento.

“For example, when the school was seeking approval of a major in women’s studies, Sacramento quickly agreed because so many two-year colleges were already offering it,” Thomas said.

Offering a major in the field also won’t impose costs to City College, Thomas said.

“The cost of this process is time to meet, write and polish the proposal we’re presenting in Sacramento at the end of April,” Thomas said. “And it’s great because we’re here for the students.”

Pau Crego, a 23-year-old former City College student who graduated in December 2010, said that the LGBT degree program is crucial.

“The LGBT community has been constantly erased in history and in mainstream culture,” Crego said. “It is vital to support classrooms where we can share knowledge on our histories, our very different life experiences and the issues that are important to us.”

Crego received his associate’s degree in women’s studies and said he would have liked to major in LGBT studies because he aspires to be a college instructor in that field.

“Although my field of study is both women and LGBT studies, I can only gain work experience in the women studies field due to the inexistent LGBT Studies major at City College,” he said.

Crego also agrees that a major in LGBT studies would allow for easier matriculation between the school and four-year universities for transferring purposes.

“Even though I took enough classes from the (LGBT studies) department, I am concerned that other students who have the official support of their LGBT studies major will be prioritized over me,” Crego wrote in an email.

Currently SF State, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz and Stanford are among the four-year universities in the Bay Area that offer degrees or certificates in LGBT studies. SF State offers a minor in LGBT studies, but not a major.

“It is great to have more focus on LGBT studies in the state,” said David Frost, assistant professor of sexuality studies at SF State. “There is no place like San Francisco to learn about it.”

Frost said SF State is one of the few universities in the country to have a graduate program in sexuality studies that focuses on the social sciences of the field.

“Most universities focus on the humanities of sexuality studies, which is based on the medical perspective of sexuality,” Frost said.

A focus on the social sciences of sexuality means learning how relationships and social experiences define and construct sexuality, Frost said.

However, only one student at SF State is currently declared as a LGBT minor according to Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment management at the University.

Yet the statistic does not mean only one student will graduate with a LGBT minor in the spring, she said.

“Students do not identify a minor when they apply for admission,” Volkert wrote in an email. “They only indicate minors once they are enrolled, or in some cases when they graduate.”

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