HomeFilipino AmericanUCLA becomes 1st UC to offer Pilipino Studies minor

UCLA becomes 1st UC to offer Pilipino Studies minor

After a significant advocacy movement for its addition by students, faculty, and alumni, UCLA now offers a Pilipino Studies minor, becoming the first UC to do so, Daily Bruin reports.

Finally announced in Spring of 2019 for an official start date in the Fall 2020 term, the Pilipino Studies minor includes classes focusing on Filipino language, history, diaspora, anthropology, geography, global health, and performance study topics. Prior to the Fall 2020 academic term, Pilipino Studies could only be chosen as a concentration within the Asian American Studies major.

According to Daily Bruin, other campuses that offer Philippine-related majors or minors include University of San Francisco, College of Mount Saint Vincent and University of Hawai’i at Manoa. 

The minor is a valuable addition to the higher education experience, Natalie Bagaporo, a board member of the UCLA Pilipino Alumni Association and the former Samahang president, said.

“It’s the academic institution saying, ‘Hey, you have a spot here,’” Bagaporo said. 

“Knowing your history is very powerful, and knowing your roots helps you to determine the direction that you’re going to go,” Bagaporo added. 

According to the UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the process of advocating for the minor lasted more than a decade, starting in 2009. Professor Lucy Mae San Pablo Burns and former Asian American Studies Department student affairs officer Kristine Jan Espinoza began drafting the curriculum and proposal for a minor in 2017.

According to Melany De La Cruz-Viesca, the idea for a Pilipino Studies minor began long before 2009, with UCLA students in the 1990s, the Asian Journal reports. 

“The students and movement ebbed and flowed with spurts of energy and focus through the years,” De La Cruz-Viesca, the associate director for the Asian American Studies Center (AASC), said. “The students worked with many faculty, staff, alumni and community supporters through the years.”

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