U. launches School for Cultural and Social Transformation

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A newly created school at the University of Utah aims to provide an intellectual foundation for understanding and addressing some of the most pressing issues surrounding race and gender in American society.

The School for Cultural and Social Transformation — the first in the Intermountain West to make the intersection of race, gender and social justice its focus — officially opened in November. The school was proposed in January 2016 and formally approved by the U.’s board of trustees in July.

“This development positions the University of Utah at the forefront of a trend within the Pac-12 to establish schools centered on these critical subjects,” Kathryn Bond Stockton, dean of the school and associate vice president for the Office for Equity and Diversity, said in a statement. “This is a beginning step in the work required to ensure the success of all our students and better prepare everyone for working together to resolve inequities.”

The Office for Equity and Diversity will oversee the school’s teaching, research and service activities. The formation of the school elevates the gender studies and ethnic studies programs to divisions that will be able to directly hire and grant tenure to faculty, something neither was able to do under program status. The divisions will also still be able to work with other academic areas to hire shared-appointment faculty.

At this time, no degree offerings are being changed, added or eliminated. Going forward, the School for Cultural and Social Transformation will grant major and minor degrees for each division, as well as a gender studies graduate certificate. The school will celebrate its first graduating class in May 2018.

A key emphasis of the new school will be enhancing opportunities for students to participate in community-engaged research and partnerships.

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