Western Oregon University announces new major in Ethnic Studies

Pictured from left: Ricardo Pelegrin Taboada, Ph.D., Mary Pettenger, Ph.D.

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University is proud to announce a new major in Ethnic Studies, starting fall 2024-25. This major aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills to navigate and address contemporary equity and justice.

The Ethnic Studies program incorporates courses from 20 different disciplines, offering students a well-rounded education. It encompasses five concentrations: Chicano/Latino and Latin American studies, African American and African studies, global ethnicities studies, Indigenous studies, and intersectionality studies. By exploring these concentrations, students will gain a deeper understanding of the experiences and contributions of these ethnic groups. 

Two new courses will be offered in Ethnic Studies. Students can enroll in Introduction to Ethnic Studies 201 for the upcoming winter term and Introduction to Cultural Studies 202 for the upcoming spring term. These courses will provide comprehensive insights into diverse cultural landscapes and social dynamics that shape our world. 

“We are thrilled to introduce the new Ethnic Studies major at Western,” said Ricardo Pelegrin Taboada, Ph.D., professor of History. “This program will empower students to become agents of social change and contribute to a more equitable and inclusive society.” 

This program is also a gateway to a wide range of professions. Students interested in law, criminal justice, social activism, public health, public education, and other social services will find this major particularly relevant. The program’s focus on critical thinking, culture, history, and current societal issues will prepare students to be culturally competent practitioners ready to serve diverse populations. 

For students who wish to supplement their studies in another field, Western currently offers a minor in Ethnic Studies. This minor adds breadth to their education and demonstrates cultural competency, a highly sought-after skill by employers in today’s diverse workforce. 

For more information about the Ethnic Studies minor at Western.


About Western Oregon UniversityWestern Oregon University, established in Monmouth in 1856, proudly stands as Oregon’s oldest public university. Hosting around 4,000 students, Western embodies a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution, with approximately 80% of its students hailing from within the state. Notably, its diverse student body comprises individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, veterans, and non-traditional learners. Western stands as the preferred campus in Oregon for those pursuing an enriching education within a nurturing, student-focused environment, characterized by faculty-led instruction.  Together we succeed.

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