Social class minor passes LSA Executive Committee, first ever class-focused academic program in country

Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 5:03pm

The University of Michigan will be the first university in the country to offer an academic program focused specifically on social class in the United States.

The University of Michigan will be the first university in the country to offer an academic program focused specifically on social class in the United States. Buy this photo
Alec Cohen/Daily

The social class and inequality studies minor will officially be offered at the University of Michigan after passing through the LSA Executive Committee Wednesday. Public Policy senior Lauren Schandevel and LSA senior Meaghan Wheat spearheaded the creation of the minor, which will be housed in the Women’s Studies Department.

With this decision, the University will be the first university in the country to offer an academic program focused specifically on social class in the United States, Schandevel said.

The decision from the Executive Committee follows an April 2018 decision from former LSA Dean Andrew Martin to place a hold on the creation of new minors in the College of LSA through the fall 2018 semester. In an email to LSA department chairs in March 2018, Martin wrote the reasoning for the decision was to allow time for the Curriculum Committee to review current academic programs within LSA rather than look at new ones.

Schandevel said she hopes the program will allow students to see themselves and those around them in a different lens through the minor’s curriculum.

“We are so thrilled and grateful to everyone who helped make this idea a reality,” Schandevel said. “Being a working-class student, my socioeconomic background is such an important component of my identity. Learning about social class throughout my time at Michigan has been extremely validating and enlightening for me and I want others — especially other low-income students — to experience the same revelations I did.”