New program at SMU for fall 2010

No language courses will be required for this program.

Traditional Mexican ranchero dance. Photo: Supaman89, Wikipedia.

The SMU academic senate has voted in favour of creating a Latin American Studies program at a meeting on Jan. 15.

Dr. Adam Spires, Spanish professor and program co-ordinator, says  the Latin American Studies program will start in fall 2010. "It will be interdisciplinary. It will include sociology, history and international development courses. The program will make use of all Latin America specialists on campus."

Spires says that there's been a growing "interest in focusing on Latin American as a region from the students, since an increasing number of SMU students have been traveling to Latin America."

SMU already has a program in Hispanic Studies that offers a major and minor degree, and a certificate. Each degree requires a minimum of three Spanish language courses.

The Latin American Studies program will offer a minor and a concentration.

The senate's members agreed on "the students' desire for a program that does not prioritize language acquirement."

The department is not worried about there being an issue of duplicating courses. The major in Hispanic Studies will have different objectives from the Latin American Studies program. While the Hispanic Studies major will focus on humanities and language, Latin American Studies will focus on social sciences. The two programs are meant to complement each other.

The new program is part of an initiative by the Spanish department to revamp itself. Moreover, the existing Spanish program has been evolving, by emphasizing its courses on Latin America instead of Spain.

The Latin American Studies will be the only program of its kind offered in Nova Scotia.



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