A new course entitled "History of the Muslim American Experience" will be taught this winter for the first time at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
The move reflects growing interest and student demand for Muslim-American and Arab-American studies at the university.
There is also a push to create a minor degree in Arab American Studies at the university, which was approved last week unanimously by the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Executive Committee.
The initiative now awaits final approval by Provost Kate Davy so it can become a viable path for those seeking to add an extra concentration to their degrees at the local public university.
Hani Bawardi and Sally Howell, both assistant professors of history in the Department of Social Sciences and Center for Arab American Studies have led the effort to have the minor officially created and recognized by the university. Howell is also curator of the Building Islam in Detroit project.
Professor Ron Stockton, Political Science, and Ivy Forsythe-Brown, Assistant Professor of Sociology, have also supported the initiative.
Associate Provost Ismael Ahmed also supports the initiative, and recently spoke about the minor at an event featuring Yemeni Nobel Prize winner Tawwakul Karman in Dearborn.
"The plan to create the minor reflects the interests of several people on our campus - faculty who are eager to teach a wider array of ethnic studies courses that focus on Arab Americans, students with an interest in Arab and Muslim Americans, professional track students who hope to work in fields that will bring them in contact with Arab and Muslim Americans like law, social work, education, media, criminal justice, medicine, or the arts. We thought this would be a natural focus for us," Howell said.
Howell said that interest in new Arab American studies classes has "gone through the roof" on campus since news of the minor's progress has reached students.
Source: "Provost must now give final approval for new path of study" The Arab American News December 26, 2011
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today