In a rapidly urbanizing world, the establishment of an urban studies minor at Georgetown is imperative. Fortunately, sociology professor Brian McCabe and English professor Sherry Linkon are collaborating to issue an official proposal for this minor in the College. This interdisciplinary minor would equip students with the skills necessary to tackle the host of emerging issues associated with urbanization and provide the practical education often neglected within the ivory tower.
McCabe says the material will engage in topics related to climate change, gentrification, homelessness, inequality, refugee migration and other urban problems through project-based coursework and research. This minor is distinctly different from the justice and peace studies due to its specific urban focus. Since urbanization is an important feature of this age, it should be added to the curriculum of studies available to students. The creation of an urban studies minor would provide students with empirical methodology to discuss the issues associated with this change.
Additionally, the university would be remiss to neglect this proposal, especially given the program’s success at other elite institutions. Found in seven of the top 20 universities ranked by the U.S. News & World Report, the urban studies program at the University of Pennsylvania, for example, has educated students on urban issues for more than four decades and requires participants to pursue an internship in the surrounding city, where relevant theory can be explored in a practical manner. Students can leverage this minor for careers in education, urban planning, public policy and research. If implemented, the administration could add value to the hands-on program by including requirements like internships, research and fieldwork to better connect theory and practice.
Furthermore, the implementation of an urban studies minor would allow for a more practical and flexible education compatible with the university’s values of student ownership. The skills they attain would prepare students to work and engender meaningful change with community groups, public agencies, nonprofits or private organizations.
Georgetown’s location in Washington, D.C., represents a unique opportunity for the study of practical projects like those already pursued at other elite institutions.
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