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The nation's first minor in the study of New Orleans is official

March 5, 2010

Loyola University New Orleans will offer a New Orleans studies minor starting fall 2010. Loyola Provost Edward Kvet D.M.E., approved the minor last week after it was vetted by the Standing Council on Academic Planning.

The new interdisciplinary minor requires students to take a new course on the history of New Orleans, but they are then able to complete the rest of the 21-credit hour minor by taking other courses in their own areas of interest. A broad range of courses will be offered such as "Sociology of Mardi Gras," "New Orleans Literature," "History of New Orleans Music" and "Ecology of the New Orleans Environment."

The minor is the brainchild of a group of professors who talked informally about the rich array of possibilities New Orleans offers for scholarly investigation. From their discussions, Loyola created and launched the Center for the Study of New Orleans in fall 2009, headed by School of Mass Communication professor Leslie Parr, Ph.D. The center serves as a cross-disciplinary resource hub that promotes research and reflection on the history, politics, culture and environment of New Orleans, and the minor will further its mission.

By integrating social justice and analytical thinking into courses, internships, research and public programming, the center and the minor foster a critical understanding of New Orleans and an opportunity to aid its renewal.

Kvet said the minor underscores Loyola’s commitment to New Orleans and its ongoing pursuit of the Jesuit ideals of education.

“The New Orleans studies minor draws on the deep expertise of our faculty in the academic study of New Orleans–its history, music, art, literature, ecology, politics and social structures. It offers students a unique chance for interdisciplinary study through the prism of place and for experiential learning in a city that’s like no other,” Kvet said.

Parr agrees. “We are very excited about the enthusiastic response we’ve received about the minor from students and faculty,” she said. “It will make a significant contribution to the curriculum by providing students with a critical understanding of the complex and endlessly fascinating city in which they live. We’re looking forward to its implementation in the fall.”

For more information on the minor in the study of New Orleans, or to interview Kvet, contact Catherine Koppel in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5448 or ckoppel@loyno.edu.

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