The UNM Faculty Senate meets on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 2:30 p.m. in Scholes Hall, 2nd floor. The senate votes on a variety of academic program revisions, as well as a vote to designate the Chicana and Chicano Studies program as a department.

Program Director Irene Vasquez writes: “Chicana and Chicano Studies requests a conversion from program to department status. This change is in line with national developments in relation to the departmentalization of Chicana and Chicano Studies programs at UCLA, UT Austin and University of Arizona. Arizona State University recently expanded Chicana and Chicano Studies program into an entire school. Chicana and Chicano Studies seeks full institutionalization at UNM, a Hispanic serving research 1 university.

"Departmentalization is substantiated by annual growth in credit hours, the undergraduate degree program, the minor program and two certificate programs. Moreover, Chicana and Chicano Studies intends to continue to participate in retention efforts coinciding with the institutionalization of high impact programs that retain and graduate students.”

Another proposal before Faculty Senate is for a master of legal studies degree for non-lawyers. The program description reads: “The Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) degree for non-lawyers will enhance the work skills of its graduates by giving them a condensed education about law and the legal process. The M.L.S. will benefit the entire state by making a scarce public resource—legal education--more broadly accessible to the workforce.

"Because the M.L.S. is open to recent college graduates and working professionals from all disciplines, it fits well with many undergraduate and graduate degrees. The two initial areas of concentration in this program are Indian Law and Natural Resources-Environmental Law.”

The M.L.S. degree is a new concept, with 36 degree programs of its kind being offered nationally. Requesters write, “Law schools are developing these degrees to meet the needs of non-lawyer professionals who must understand the judicial, legislative, regulatory and policy-making process to perform their jobs effectively. Thus, the M.L.S. degree will serve non-lawyers and recent college graduates who need or want intensive, short-term training in the law but do not need or want a J.D. degree.”

Core courses in anthropology and sociology are also up for a vote.