The College of New Rochelle Creates Blueprint to Re-Focus Human Rights Curriculum

- Conference Offers Examples of How to Integrate Fundamental Issues

Into Core Curriculum -

Oct 10, 2001, 01:00 ET from The College of New Rochelle

    NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The College of New Rochelle's
 (CNR) School of Arts & Sciences will host a one-day conference on October 12,
 2001, entitled, "Initiating Human Rights Education Across the Undergraduate
 Curriculum."  At a time when academic institutions are searching for ways to
 infuse curricula with themes of human rights, CNR's International Studies
 Program and the Modern Languages Department have invited regional educators to
 examine its newly expanded human rights curriculum that prepares college
 students to understand an increasingly interwoven global community.  The shock
 of recent events underscores the urgency and necessity for such a new and
 dramatic academic approach to liberal arts education.
     At the conference a panel of leading educators will demonstrate how CNR is
 mainstreaming human rights themes into its core curriculum.  Headlining the
 event, which is free and open to the public, is a keynote address by Dr. J.
 Paul Martin, Executive Director of Columbia University's Center for the Study
 of Human Rights, entitled  "Teaching Human Rights after the WTC (World Trade
     According to Dr. Anne McKernan, Associate Professor of History at CNR, "To
 many students, the concept of human rights is confined to far away images of
 refugee camps and civil wars, when in reality, the subject is often much
 closer at hand.  As communications and economic cooperation bring world
 communities ever closer, we feel that the most important contribution that we
 can make as educators is to instill a more complete understanding of the
 global environment among students."
     Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, CNR initially
 developed 7 diverse undergraduate courses tied together by the central theme
 of human rights. The courses were drawn from broad fields, such as languages,
 developmental psychology, and narrow subjects such as international law and
 organizations, and global perspectives on women's rights. During this academic
 year the curriculum will expand to a total of 14 courses.
     Among the professors and courses that will be discussed on October 12 will
     -- Human Rights in the Twentieth Century, Dr. A. McKernan: Are human
        rights universal, or are they a western cultural construct imposed on
        the global community?  This course invites students to integrate and
        synthesize their knowledge applying it to timely issues affecting the
        global community:  ethnic cleansing, child labor, war crimes, nation-
        building and women's equality.
     -- Francophone Africa in Films:  Cultures & Human Rights, Dr. A.
        Beauzethier: An introduction to some cultures of French-speaking Africa
        through African films.  This course will also focus on cultural
        standards and practices that implement or deny the principles of human
     -- Developmental Psychology, Dr. A. Ferrari: This course presents analysis
        of human development from conception to death, with emphasis on
        biological, social and cultural influences.  Special attention will be
        given to human rights as they apply to the developmental stages of our
        life spans.  Students will learn what human rights are and will be able
        to identify when such rights are being denied.
     -- Global Perspectives on Women's Rights, Dr. J. Gordon: Course will focus
        on selected issues relating to women's human rights in different
        regions of the world.  Students will learn about the scope of women's
        rights, ways in which these rights are ignored or violated, and some of
        the strategies proposed and/or implemented to further the rights of
        women globally.  Attention will also be given to media coverage of
        women's rights issues and the impact of the media in highlighting
        women's human rights topics.
     -- Spanish Caribbean Literature, Dr. M. Perez: Columbus's dreams of gold
        dust . . . the cut off hands of Amerindians . . . the fractured coral
        reefs of Puerto Rico . . . the song of rebel students and the coqui
        frog . . . the subversiveness of "La cucaracha" discovering the mask of
        conquest.  The course will focus on border zones of conquest,
        dislocation, separation, and fragmentation.
     -- Seminar:  Ellison and Morrison, Dr. N. Fitch: The course investigates
        representational fiction and nonfiction of these American writers and
        thinkers.  Ellison and Morrison confront centuries-long human rights
        issues of African-Americans that include racism, colorism, classism and
     -- International Law and Organizations, Dr. D. McCarthy: In an age of
        rapid globalization, part of the globalizing process is the extension
        of the idea of "human rights" around the world.  This idea forms part
        of an international drive toward democratization and human
        emancipation.  However, human rights discourse faces some difficult
        questions.  Four that we will examine in this course are: 1) What is
        the source of human rights?  2) Are human rights universal?  3) How can
        human rights be exercised?  4) How can international organizations
        protect these rights?
     In addition, the Spring 2002 semester's courses will include:
 Environmental Justice; Testimonial Narratives in Latin America; Children's and
 Family Rights: a Global Perspective; Justice; Multinationals, Ethical Issues
 and Human Rights; French-speaking Caribbean: Culture and Human Rights; Human
 Rights, a 20th Century Global Issue. It is hoped that other academic
 institutions will find inspiration in these courses to develop their own
 strategy to address human rights.
     The October 12, Program includes:
     -- 9:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. - Keynote Address
     -- 10:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m. - Human Rights in the Social Sciences
        Curriculum, Panel Discussion
         -- Dr. A. McKernan, Associate Professor of History
         -- Dr. D. McCarthy, Associate Professor of Political Science
         -- Dr. A. Ferrari, Assistant Professor of Psychology
         -- Dr. J. Gordon, Associate Professor of Social Work
     -- 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Responses to Campus-Based Human Rights
        Education, CNR Student Panel.
     -- 1:15 p.m.-2:15 p.m. - Human Rights Through Literature and Culture
        Studies, Panel Discussion
         -- Dr. A. Beauzethier, Associate Professor of French
         -- Dr. N. Fitch, Associate Professor of English
         -- Dr. M. Perez, Associate Professor of Spanish
     -- 2:15 p.m.-3:00 p.m. - An Approach to Human Rights Education Abroad,
        Student Panel from the International Human Rights Exchange
     -- 3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Closing Remarks
     About CNR
     The first Catholic college for women in New York State, The College of New
 Rochelle was founded in 1904 by the Ursuline Order.  Today, it comprises the
 all-women School of Arts & Sciences, and three schools which admit women and
 men: the School of New Resources (for adult learners), the School of Nursing
 and the Graduate School.  The main campus of the College is located in lower
 Westchester County, 16 miles north of New York City.  The College maintains
 six other campus locations in New York City.
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SOURCE The College of New Rochelle