The Department of European Studies at San Diego State University is one of the few integrated, interdisciplinary European Studies departments in the United States. It takes a comprehensive and transnational approach to the study of Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, the Mediterranean, and Europe’s diasporic and postcolonial communities around the world.
The department offers a number of distinct degree programs, which in addition to the European Studies major include specialized B.A. degrees in French, German, German Studies, Russian, and Russian and Central European Studies. The department also offers minors in European Studies, French, German, Italian, Russian, and the Master’s degree in French.
Each program combines intensive language training with the study of Europe’s diverse societies and cultures. Students typically graduate with a strong command of one or more foreign languages and a solid understanding of the complexities of contemporary Europe—essential skills both for successful careers with an international focus and for advanced degree programs in a broad variety of fields, including, for example, international business, law, international relations, journalism, and cultural studies.
The Department of European Studies is deeply committed to fostering a learning environment supportive of diversity and inclusivity, in which all our faculty, staff and students are respected and represented. We recognize that our experiences and perspectives are formed at the intersections of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender and gender identity, ability, class, sexual orientation, religion, language, culture, and beyond. We champion an intellectual community that addresses unequal structures of power at all levels, from the local to the global, and works to eradicate systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression in the interest of social justice. We also provide experience with ways of thinking and expressing oneself that are inflected by cultural contexts within and beyond the Americas. Our welcoming, transcultural, and multilingual departmental community prioritizes support and mentoring of students, staff, and faculty from all backgrounds.
Summary of 2021-2023 actions on departmental Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan
At the halfway point of our two-year plan, we have accomplished many of our goals and have generated activity on all but one of them (1.5, which is not currently applicable):
- Between Fall 2021 and Spring 2023, three quarters of our instructors (all 6 tenure-line faculty and 7 of our 11 lecturers) participated in at least one DEI-related activity. Over half of the participants received funding for some of their participation thanks to sponsorships from the Center for Inclusive Excellence and the College of Arts and Letters’ Dean’s office.
- In two years, we have participated in over 25 different DEI-related trainings or conferences on topics such as responding to microaggressions and supporting low-income, LGBTQ+, non-binary, disabled, underrepresented, Latinx, Black, and Muslim students.
- We have established a standing departmental diversity committee.
- We have transformed the curriculum in European Studies to center issues of race, colonialism, and multicultural Europe.
- We have organized a series of well-attended lectures on DEI-related topics in Europe.
- We have shared our work on making the German curriculum more inclusive of race issues and on using Universal Design for Learning principles in first-year Italian classes through videos posted on our website.
- We are also part of conversations on decolonizing curricula in our fields at the national level and have shared results of our work at several conferences.
Strategies and Interventions, 2021-2025
College Goal Area 1: Faculty hiring and representation
Intervention 1: Use Building on Inclusive Excellence (BIE) Criteria. Beginning AY 2020-21, the department of European Studies is ensuring that finalists for faculty positions meet at least two of the BIE criteria.
Intervention 2: Require Inclusion Representatives. Beginning with searches in AY21-22, the department of European Studies will ensure that search committees have a certified Inclusion Representative.
Intervention 3: Require implicit bias training. Beginning with searches in AY21-22, the department of European Studies will only approve search committee members who have participated in one of the University’s Equity-Minded Hiring seminars within the last two years.
Intervention 4: Improve pool proportionality. Beginning with searches in AY21-22, in cases where pool proportionality is not reflective of terminal degree holders within the field, the department of European Studies will require the search committee to specify actions that have been taken to ensure a representative pool.
Intervention 5: Introduce Building on Inclusive Excellence (BIE) Criteria in lecturer
hiring: Beginning in 2021-22, the department of European Studies will encourage lecturer
candidates to provide a diversity statement explaining how they meet two or more BIE
criteria as part of their application materials.
College Goal Area 2: Climate
Intervention 1: Establish a Department Diversity Committee. The Department of European Studies will create Policy File language to establish a standing committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by 2022. This group will meet regularly to discuss progress on the goals and interventions established in this Plan and will share with other department members references to relevant articles and books on DEI topics.
Intervention 2: Require implicit bias training for RTP committee members. Beginning in AY21-22, the department of European Studies will require all faculty participating in RTP evaluation to participate in the University’s Implicit Bias training.
Intervention 3: Continue to encourage participation in professional learning about DEI issues. Beginning in AY21-22, the department of European Studies will continue to encourage all faculty and staff to participate in trainings and workshops on inclusive communication and responding to microaggressions by identifying appropriate trainings, and advertising to all faculty and staff through departmental emails.
Intervention 4: In response to the CAL climate survey, investigate what new practices the department could engage in to ensure that lecturers feel that their expertise is valued. In a Fall 2019 climate survey of CAL employees, lecturer satisfaction was lowest on the item regarding the extent to which their expertise is valued. One of the CAL diversity plan’s actions is to “Encourage departments to include lecturer issues in their diversity plans and to devise strategies demonstrating that the department values lecturer expertise.” Beginning in Fall 2022, the Department of European Studies will conduct a survey of lecturers to find what are the strengths and weaknesses of the department with respect to lecturer support, especially in the area of valuing lecturer expertise. The department will then implement appropriate actions.
Intervention 5: Continue to advocate for a living wage for staff. Beginning in AY21-22, the department of European Studies will continue to encourage various administrators in CAL and HR to consider ways to compensate staff adequately for the complex and essential work they do for the department and to reduce staff turnover.
Intervention 6: Continue to advocate for support from the Central Administration for overworked faculty. Beginning in AY21-22, the department of European Studies will continue to encourage various administrators in CAL, Faculty Advancement, and the Provost’s office to consider ways to compensate faculty adequately for the complex and essential service and mentoring work we do and to reduce faculty burnout.
College Goal Area 3: Student Support
Intervention 1: Encourage faculty and staff participation in professional learning about inclusive teaching practices. Beginning in AY21-22, the department of European Studies will continue to encourage all faculty and staff to participate in trainings and workshops on inclusive teaching and inclusive student support by identifying appropriate trainings, and advertising to all faculty and staff through departmental emails. The department will advocate for the university to compensate lecturers and GTAs/GAs for attending training sessions.
Intervention 2: Devote time during the first department meeting each semester to discuss inclusive teaching practices. Beginning in 2022, the department of European Studies will set aside part of the first department meeting each semester (the best attended meeting), to share our innovations regarding anti-racist curriculum development, use of Universal Design for Learning, inclusive pedagogies, and other relevant topics to ensure we all have a chance to learn from one another and productively address issues that may arise.
Intervention 3: Make our DEI commitment more visible in our messaging. Between 2021 and 2025, the department will roll out initiatives that will center our commitment to DEI and anti-racist perspectives.
Intervention 4: Accessible Materials. By the end of 2022, the department will work with SASC and other relevant campus units to establish a process to ensure that all course syllabi, course materials, and department materials (e.g., event flyers, department website) are accessible (for example, are screen-reader compatible or captioned).
Intervention 5: Anti-Racism and Anti-Colonialism Across the Curriculum. As a result of the review of existing courses, the department identified multiple courses that could be re-designed to further advance anti-racism, anti-colonialism, and social justice through revised learning outcomes, new content or materials, or changes in activities and assessments. These changes will be made by the end of 2022; if needed, course change proposals will be submitted to the college curriculum committee by the 2022 deadline. We will continue to revise syllabi and curricula regularly, with an eye to continuing to advance anti-racism, anti-colonialism, and social justice perspectives.