Berkeley universities

Emerson launches ‘cluster rental’ for intersectional studies

Photo: Yongze Wang

The Marlboro Institute for Liberal and Interdisciplinary Studies

New ‘cluster recruitment’ initiative at Emerson aims to recruit faculty for newly created positions in the departments of Visual and Media Arts and Writing, Literature and Publishing, as well as the Marlboro Institute for liberal arts and interdisciplinary studies, reflecting the college’s continued push towards a more intersectional and interdisciplinary curriculum.

The hiring initiative will add five new full-time faculty members to teach a selection of new courses, all of which will focus on “the intersections of critical race, ethnic studies, and women, gender and studies. sexuality ”, according to job offer.

According to the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the cluster recruitment process, where a group of staff members are hired by a committee of faculty, is an “emerging trend” among universities nationwide. However, strategy is still somewhat rare at Emerson; Cristina Kotz Cornejo, chair of the visual and media arts department, said it will be the first time a cluster has been hired for the arts school. She attributed her introduction to the Dean of the School of the Arts Robert Sabal.

Kotz Cornejo said the initiative happened naturally, after Sabal realized that two other departments – Writing, Literature and Publishing and the Marlboro Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies – were looking to fill similar positions.

“[Sabal] felt that a cluster job search would serve the college well, ”said Kotz Cornejo. “It is designed to be complementary and to operate in three different departments with different objectives. “

Even though new faculty will be part of the college’s School of the Arts, courses added as a result will be open to all students, extending the benefits of hiring the cluster and allowing students to explore more areas of interest. .

The increase in faculty will help the college achieve more versatility and collaboration within its course offerings, she added.

“There are commonalities between the departments and there is an interest in placing more emphasis on interdisciplinarity,” said Kotz Cornejo. “It essentially opens up an opportunity for cross-collaboration. “

Sabal said interdepartmental collaboration is essential to further develop Emerson courses related to topics such as studies of race, gender and sexuality. The cluster’s next hire will provide a “wide range of new courses” and a faculty that will teach and mentor students, he added.

“Often, this type of cultural scholarship takes into account a variety of texts: literature, visual arts, film, television, music, among others,” Sabal wrote in an emailed statement to The Beacon. “Students benefit from a wide range of new courses and a pool of faculty who can serve as mentors to students who wish to pursue scholarships in these fields.”

Sabal predicts that leasing the cluster could catalyze the progress of Emerson’s Film School, which was recently recognized as one of the top programs in the country in a list created by The Wrap.

Emerson ranked sixth nationally, down from 15th last year, and may continue to rise due to increased faculty and department expansion, Sabal said.

“Although I don’t think there is a scientific method for these rankings,” Sabal said. “The new recruits will help Emerson’s graduate students who will become the cultural producers of the future. ”

He stressed the importance of intersectionality in creativity, adding that hiring the cluster will help students understand the world around them and produce work that accurately reflects it – a skill he deems “more important than any ranking on any list ”. Sabal also said that renting the cluster will prepare Emerson’s students for their future in ever-changing creative fields.

“By developing an understanding of how culture is shaped by interweaving stories, narratives, actors and relationships, Emerson graduates will be able to produce work that creates a more just, equitable and sustainable world.” , Sabal said.

Camilo Fonseca contributed reporting.


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