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Bemidji State to offer first equity certificate in Minnesota State system of colleges

Bemidji State University is now home to the first equity certificate program within the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities.

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BEMIDJI — Bemidji State University is now home to the first equity certificate program within the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities.

On track to launch this fall, the certificate includes three main components: an introductory equity course, three core courses and a capstone experience with community-based opportunities.

According to a BSU release, the program is the product of a conversation started by MaryTheresa Seig, dean of the college of arts, education and humanities, in spring 2021.

“I imagined students with various majors choosing to do a focal area in equity that would help them to become more marketable after graduation,” Seig said in the release. "A student studying social work could earn the equity certificate with a poverty focus or an Indigenous focus or any number of other foci that would be useful in their careers.”

BSU brought faculty, staff, students and administrators together to create an equity certificate program that directly aligns with Minnesota State’s Equity 2030 goals , which aim to eliminate educational equity gaps at all colleges and universities of Minnesota State by 2030, the release said.

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“The development of the equity certificate is a seminal effort to lessen equity gaps and to dismantle oppressive systems,” campus diversity officer Steven Parker said in a release. “This opportunity is not just for our students. We are hoping to offer the equity certificate to anyone. This includes faculty and others in our system leveraging our Minnesota State community.”

Appointed to the program in December 2020, assistant professor of history Dan Allosso has developed a curriculum packet that includes a proposal for the certificate program itself, as well as two new courses: introduction to equity and applications of equity.

The curriculum packet also includes a list of over 50 courses from BSU's history, psychology, sociology and communication studies, and languages and Indigenous studies programs that students can use to fulfill their core course requirements.

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