What is the Racial Issues Graduation Requirement?

All new or readmitted undergraduate students admitted fall 2016 or later must complete an approved learning experience (at least 3 credits) with a significant focus on race and racism to graduate with a bachelor's degree from the university.

How will the requirement be met by students?

Approved "racial issues" courses or other learning experiences are designated in the online class schedule and can overlap with any other requirement for graduation, including General Education/Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) requirements, Liberal Studies requirements, major requirements and electives. Upon review, an approved prior learning, independent study, theory seminar or transfer course from other accredited institutions may also be used to meet this graduation requirement. For a list of approved courses at Metropolitan State University and other area colleges, visit www.metrostate.edu/racial-issues-requirement.

Why was the requirement created?

  • Metropolitan State University has a responsibility as the urban institution in Minnesota focused on serving underrepresented students, especially students of color, to put its mission into action and to fulfill our vision of building "an anti-racist learning community."
  • The university believes an undergraduate education that equips and empowers adults to live and work successfully in our increasingly diverse society must include academic knowledge about issues of race and racism in the United States.
  • At present students can graduate after completing General Education/Mn Transfer Curriculum Requirements (including Goal Area 7: Human Diversity) and major requirements without ever completing a course that focuses on issues of race and racism.
  • Racism has been a major factor impacting the lives of people in the United States for more than five centuries. Recent national events have highlighted unresolved issues of racial injustice and the need for change.
  • Campus Climate Surveys and focus groups (2005/2006, 2008 and 2011) have identified multiple ways in which racism remains a problem at Metropolitan State. Yet, these surveys also revealed significant percentages of student respondents who were unaware of racism and/or disagreed that racism is a problem.

What do Metropolitan State students and employees think about a Racial Issues Graduation Requirement?

More than 1,100 students and employees who completed the 2011 Campus Climate Survey stated they agreed or strongly agreed with the idea of requiring all undergraduate students to complete "at least one course that focuses on issues of race and racism to fulfill existing credit requirements for graduation." In spring 2015, the faculty council and administration approved the requirement proposed by the university's Anti-Racism Leadership Team.

What are the learning goals of the new Racial Issues Graduation Requirement?

Consistent with the mission and vision of Metropolitan State University, the goal of the new Racial Issues Graduation Requirement is to develop and expand students' critical knowledge of the central role of race, racism and anti-racism in multiple contexts of society and aspects of everyday life (such as personal, community, cultural, religious, economic, educational, environmental, historical, institutional, political and/or professional). This knowledge equips and empowers students to live and work successfully in our increasingly diverse society.

What are the criteria used to determine "racial issues" learning experiences?

At Metropolitan State, "racial issues" learning experiences are courses or creative learning strategies that represent at least three semester credits and:

  • Have an official description that uses the terms race and/or racism and clearly emphasizes these concepts, or the official description has been amended to include the following statement: "Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism."
  • Have a significant focus (for example, majority of content) on at least three of the following learning outcomes:
    • Critique how race and racism are socially constructed in the United States.
    • Describe various characteristics of racism.
    • Analyze various legacies and impacts of racism in the United States.
    • Articulate various personal responses and responsibilities to address racism.
    • Explain various collective and/or institutional responses and responsibilities to address racism.

How can I get more information about this requirement?