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Dorothy Steele, associate director, Research Institute of Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity: (650) 723-2244,

John Sanford, writer, News Service: (650) 736-2151,

Race, ethnicity research institute gets $5 million boost

The people at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity have every reason to be happy these days.

Established in 1996, the research institute and undergraduate program that compose the center have been, by all accounts, a roaring success. Following the program's five-year review, the Faculty Senate voted unanimously in April to give it the ongoing authority to grant bachelor's degrees in four majors: Asian American Studies, Chicana/o Studies, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and Native American Studies. The center, known as CCSRE, also houses the Program in Jewish Studies (which does not offer a degree) and the longstanding Program in African and African American Studies (which does).

In addition, the President's Office has committed to raising a $5 million endowment for the Research Institute of Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (RICSRE), as well as providing it with two half-billets.

"I don't think any of us imagined how successful the CCSRE and RICSRE would be," Provost John Etchemendy told a crowd of about 60 people sitting in the Terrace Room of Margaret Jacks Hall a few weeks ago during the center's annual lunch. "We see CCSRE and RICSRE becoming the strongest center for research in comparative studies in race and ethnicity in the country."

Until the endowment money is raised, the President's Office will provide the institute about $250,000 a year approximately what a $5 million endowment would pay out annually, Etchemendy said. Meanwhile, RICSRE may partner up with departments that also have half-billets to allow for two full new appointments.

Over the past five years, the number of faculty members affiliated with the center has grown from 35 to about 105, said CCSRE Director Al Camarillo, a professor of history. The curriculum also has expanded: About 90 to 95 courses initially were offered annually; now that number is roughly 120 to 140. In addition, the number of students majoring and minoring in center programs has increased from about 13 to 120 (as of Spring Quarter), Camarillo said.

RICSRE sponsors a variety of research projects, conferences, and graduate student and faculty seminars. It also provides support to junior faculty and a dissertation fellowship program, and maintains interdisciplinary research networks on a variety of topics.

"We've been able in five years to make the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity truly an outstanding operation that is growing and growing and growing," Camarillo said. "And as director, of course, it stretches my schedule.

"But it's a good busy," he added.


By John Sanford

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