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IDP Shake-Up

The start of a new academic year brings a shake-up in our interdisciplinary programs (IDP), which continue to draw students to the College of Arts and Sciences.

Due to its increase in majors and popularity, the Sustainability program is now part of the Department of Geography as an undergraduate degree program.

Melissa Hinten, geography lecturer, is excited about the merge and looks forward to seeing students benefit from the program in its new home within the department.

“As the interdisciplinary program concentrations transition to stand-alone degree programs housed within established academic departments, students will still pursue degrees that are interdisciplinary in nature, but will have the benefit of support from academic departments,” Hinten says. “Academic departments can provide a home for students to gather and find resources, enhance recruitment and outreach for the major, provide opportunities for student networking, and provide more faculty for advising and mentoring.”

The IDP known as the Women’s Studies program is now Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. Dedicated to the study of how gender and sexuality shape the past, present, and future of human cultures and societies, the new major is inclusive and updated for the 21st century.

“The Women’s Studies program served the community well for many years, but a review of the program found that it had not kept up with the field’s growth, student interests, or new faculty on campus who were engaged in cutting-edge research,” says Lynn Sacco, professor of history and director of interdisciplinary, international, and experiential programs. “The new program captures the breadth and complications of the updated major. Students mix courses in the humanities and social sciences that treat gender, rather than race or class, as the central category of analysis.”

Visit the website to learn more about this program.

Student holder UT flag in JordanThe Middle East Studies program officially launches this semester. The goal of this program is to provide students with interdisciplinary training in history, culture, literature, politics, languages, and religions of the Middle East. Graduates of the program will be prepared for a variety of careers related to this significant region of the world.

“We are very excited to be launching the new Middle East Studies program,” says Tina Shepardson, professor of religious studies and chair of the program. “UT students will be able to take advantage of recent faculty hires to focus on this complex region of the world, which plays such a significant role in current conversations.”

For more information the program and affiliated departments, please visit the program website.

In other IDP news, two programs are getting a change in leadership this semester. Maria Stehle, associate professor in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, is the new chair of the Cinema Studies program. Kristen Block, associate professor in the Department of History, is the new chair of Latin American and Caribbean Studies program.