School of American and International Studies (AIS)
Dean: Hassan M. Nejad
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School of American and International Studies (AIS)
The School of American and International Studies aims to create a holistic educational experience that enables our students to become literate, intentional and empowered global citizens who are prepared, not only in specific recognized fields, but also in interdisciplinary dialogue. Through our varied offerings (in Anthropology, American Studies, Foreign Languages, History, International Studies, Literature, Political Science, Liberal Studies, and Philosophy), we seek to enhance students' understanding and appreciation of the complex cultural, political, and imaginative dimensions of human existence.
Our teaching, service, and scholarly or creative achievement combine to help our students develop their powers of reasoning, speaking, writing, and creativity, thus equipping them for the challenges of contemporary life. The School' s faculty members are dedicated to teaching and scholarship, have traveled extensively and studied abroad, have backgrounds in foreign languages, humanities, and social sciences. A program of visiting professors from around the globe, including China, Italy, Morocco, Spain, and Russia, enhances the international component of the School.
The School offers internships, fieldwork, service learning, and Co-op experiences through the College's Cahill Center for Career Services and Experiential Learning. The College maintains faculty exchange programs with institutions in China, Russia, and Ghana, and offers its own study abroad program in India. Students are encouraged to take advantage of study abroad opportunities in numerous countries throughout the world that are offered by New Jersey State Consortium for International Studies (NJSCIS)*. For more information on these programs contact your academic advisor or the College's Roukema Center for International Education.
The language program utilizes a state-of-the-art computerized language lab. Language instructions are offered in Spanish, Italian, French, German, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Hebrew, Arabic, and American Sign Language. Most of these languages are offered regularly. Some are offered subject to sufficient enrollment and availability of faculty resources.
Students are encouraged to participate in one or more of the many clubs and organizations associated with the School: American Studies Club, American Democracy Project, Anthropology Society, History Club, Literature Club, Spanish Club, Model U.N. Club (which has consistently won annual, national competitions against such Ivy League institutions as Harvard), Philosophy Club, Political Forum, Ramapo Ethics Society, and Trillium (the College's literary magazine). In addition, qualified students are invited to join honorary societies: Phi Alpha Theta for History, Sigma Tau Delta for Literature, Pi Sigma Alpha for Political Science, Phi Alpha Delta, an international fraternity for pre-law and law schools, Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish Honorary Society, and Phi Beta Delta for International Education.
The School offers several undergraduate programs and one graduate program.
1 - The Undergraduate Program
Undergraduate students may major in American Studies, History, International Studies, Literature, Spanish Language Studies, Political Science, or a contract-based, individualized Liberal Studies major. These programs all lead to the Bachelor of Arts degree. Minors are available in most of the above majors, as well as in Anthropology, East Asian Studies, French, Italian, Judaic Studies, Latin American Studies, Philosophy, and Public Policy. Students, regardless of their major, are encouraged to participate in a minor program.
Graduates from the School of American and International Studies are prepared for law school and graduate programs in the humanities and social sciences, as well as careers in business, state and federal government, international affairs, community organizations, journalism, advertising, public relations, publishing, and elementary as well as secondary school teaching (when combined with teacher education courses). A degree in the Liberal Arts is particularly valuable in changeable job markets because impeccable communication and analytical skills are always in high demand.
Upon graduation, students of the School of American and International Studies shall:
Understand intercultural and international complexity
Use disciplinary and interdisciplinary analysis in problem solving
Apply classroom experiences to new environments
Understand historical change
Beginning Fall 2008, all new undergraduate students completing majors in the School, in addition to meeting the College's General Education requirements, are required to fulfill the following School core:
- First Year Seminar
- Language Proficiency in a world language other than English
(a) The First Year Seminar (AIID 101: Intro to Liberal Studies)
This team-taught seminar will introduce students to the various disciplines and interdisciplinary programs in the School, all of which are parts of a liberal arts curriculum. Focusing on a different theme each year, the seminar strives to foster critical thinking about the complexities of intercultural and international interaction.
All undergraduate degree candidates in AIS are required to show proficiency in a language other than English at the "Intermediate Low level" as described by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Proficiency Guidelines. This minimum proficiency standard is only a stepping-stone to mastery. Therefore, we encourage students to continue coursework, immersion activities, and study abroad that will help them reach the ultimate goal of linguistic and cultural competency in a language other than English.
The proficiency exam will be administered in the first year of the student's enrollment and can be taken in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Arabic. The result of the proficiency exam will determine if the student needs additional courses, in which case the student will be placed in the appropriate level: Foundation I, Foundation II, or Intermediate I.
In the event that the language chosen by a student is not tested and/or taught at the College, it will be the responsibility of the student, in consultation with the language faculty, to identify a test and/or courses off-campus that will serve to prove the required proficiency.
Satisfactory evidence of Intermediate Low proficiency can be demonstrated
in the following ways and will constitute exemption from further coursework:
- Successfully completing Intermediate I, World Language course
- Completing equivalent coursework in an approved study abroad program
- Receiving transfer credit for equivalent coursework
- Passing a Ramapo College Placement Test at the Intermediate Level or higher
- Passing the ACTFL OPI at the required level (Live and telephone interviews offered at cost through state and national testing centers)
- Passing the NYU Language Test (for those languages not tested or offered at Ramapo. Cost is the responsibility of the student)
- Receiving a score of 4 on the High School Advanced Placement Test
- International High School Graduates whose native language is not English are exempt from the component and encouraged to study an additional language
- International Baccalaureate (IB) Graduates
II. The Graduate Program; Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)
The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies is an innovative approach to graduate education whose purpose is as old as the idea of the university itself. As Socrates suggested over two thousand years ago, we need more than specialized learning or mastery of a particular skill to function well in our world. Unlike traditional masters' programs, which focus on developing skill in one specific discipline, Graduate Liberal Studies emphasizes the interrelated nature of knowledge and brings the expertise of different disciplines to bear on the issues it examines.
Ramapo's Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program uses the interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives that Ramapo first developed in its undergraduate programs to explore issues that shaped and continue to influence the modern world. Ramapo's program is unique in focusing upon the contact between western and non-western peoples in the past and the present. It explores how groups who are outside the mainstream have viewed society at different times, and investigates the perceptions of peoples from different cultures. Students study these issues in four core courses, followed by four electives which build upon themes introduced in the core, culminating in one of three seminar options.
The program is designed to enhance students' appreciation of how historical and cultural circumstances condition human experience. Grounded in the tradition of liberal arts and interdisciplinary study, the program nurtures students' critical thinking and effective communication. Courses taught in the program are from many disciplines, including history, philosophy, sociology, political science, and literature. Students also learn how to improve leadership skills and skills in connecting theory with practical application of knowledge. Research is central to this program. Students will learn how to access, interpret, analyze, and integrate data. They learn how to use traditional and contemporary sources, discern reliable and pertinent information, and present findings with accuracy, clarity, and significance.
The breadth and nature of the program have particular relevance to mature students who want to be able to make better sense of the times in which they live and who function in increasingly multicultural settings. Teachers will find it valuable, as will others whose work places them in contact with co-workers or clients from diverse ethnic backgrounds. The program provides an opportunity to receive a certificate of concentration in a focused area of study.
Small classes, personal attention from an outstanding faculty dedicated to effective and creative teaching and scholarship, and an intellectually challenging and diverse community prepare students for more productive lives and careers.
For information on admissions and graduation requirements, contact MALS office.
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