Minor in Greek Studies in the Works
The Center for Modern Greek studies submites a proposal for a minor program
February 18, 2004 4:20 PM
Hidden on the fifth floor of the Humanities building is the Center for Modern Greek Studies, which offers a 2,000-book strong library, a bi-annual newsletter, and an onslaught of community involvement and support.
The Center for Modern Greek Studies is currently applying for the creation of an interdisciplinary minor program, having submitted a proposal that two separate committees will review.
“This is a standard process, every new program goes through the same review,” said Martha Klironomos, director of the center since 1996 and procurer of the goal to expand the center and receive program status from the university.
The first committee to review a proposal is in the college that the applying program is a part of, the College of Humanities in this case. The university also has its own general curriculum review committee, composed of Academic Senate members who will make the final decision based on university wide criteria. The criteria is set by the Academic Policies Committee.
As of now, the Center and all its endeavors, from clerical to classes, are entirely privately funded. The endowment, close to $500,000, supports the activities of the center with just the account interest alone.
Angelo Tsakopolulos established an “endowed chair” named the Nikos Kazantzakis chair, in 1981. At the time it was established, this kind of chair was the second of its kind in the country, behind a previous one created at Harvard, said Klironomos.
In the same year, a non-profit organization, the Modern Greek Studies Foundation, was established. This group helps to raise funds needed to keep the center and the curriculum going. The foundation is governed by a 36-member board of directors.
In addition, the center's connection to the community runs deeper. They sponsor and promote lectures, including some scheduled for April 2004.
Another coming event the center is excited to promote -- one that serves as a fundraiser and a community gathering -- will be a Greek film festival in San Francisco. Already an annual staple on the East Coast, the film festival has not been to San Francisco for over a decade.
“One of the major goals is to have the students keep in touch with their heritage, working to preserve the language, literature, and the history…like any ethnic studies program we share the same goals,” Klironomous said, adding that Greek nationality is the "most underrepresented heritage in the U.S."
She continued, "We want to serve the community. It is a culturally marginalized European culture. People tend to know more about French culture, British, or German culture."
If the minor program is approved, it would be one of two Greek Studies programs on the West Coast, on top of a minor program recently established at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles.
“It opened my eyes and allowed me to see how you can find a connection to culture thru language," said 23-year-old Maria Kankazis, a graduating senior who's studying speech communications major. She's a Greek American who's been active in the center's outreach. "I feel like the language would have otherwise slipped away completely."
Kankazis explains how many students are in her same position. “I have taken all the classes, so if they approve the program I would have a minor," she said.
If the submitted proposal is denied, the center will ask the review committees for suggestions to help them form another proposal.
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