U.S. Racial/Ethnic Diversity Course Requirement for Undergraduate Students

(Formerly the Diversity Course Requirement)

Prof. Paul Adogamhe teaching a political science classWhat Is the U.S. Racial/Ethnic Diversity Course Requirement?

  • In May 2014,  the University Curriculum Committee and the UWW Faculty Senate approved renaming it the U.S. Racial/Ethnic Diversity Course Requirement.  This is not a new course requirement for students—only a name change.
  • This name change was made to clarify what the Diversity course requirement is. While UWW recognizes the importance of other forms of diversity—gender, sexual orientation, physical ability status, nationality, etc.—the 3-credit course requirement discussed here was instituted in 1988 by the UW-System to focus specifically on the experiences and concerns of four historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups within the United States: Native American, African American, Latino/a, Asian American.
  • The intention of the course requirement is to better prepare all UW-System undergrads for workplace and civic engagement in an increasingly multiracial/ multiethnic United States.
  • Many departments offer Diversity courses, marked “DV” in the Class Schedule. A student can fulfill both a requirement in her/his major and the U.S. Racial/Ethnic Diversity requirement with a single course.


How Taking a Diversity Course Will Benefit You

By studying other cultural groups and engaging in multicultural experiences:Percent Other than White by State: 2000 map by the U.S. Census Bureau

  • You will be attractive to employers who seek workers with multicultural knowledge and skills.
  • You will be better prepared to live and thrive in an increasingly multicultural United States.
  • You will enhance your intercultural knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  • You will learn more about yourself.
  • You may be inspired to explore your own ethnic background.



Guidelines for Creating a “DV” Designated Course

For a course at UWW to be considered for a U.S. Racial/Ethnic Diversity designation, the course proposal must state how Course Objectives 1, 2, and 3 below are met.  In addition, it must state how at least one additional Course Objective (4 and/or 5) is met:

1.) Examines how the interactions and contributions of at least one historically underrepresented racial/ethnic group have shaped and continue to shape United States society.

2.) Relates the core of the course content to at least one historically underrepresented racial/ethnic group within the United State.

3.) Examines how the cultural practices of at least one historically underrepresented racial/ethnic group in the United States are expressed and how a group’s differences in relation to the majority group and/or other minority groups evolve, overlap, and intersect in a variety of contexts, and how the key diversity concepts of power and privilege, and access, impact one’s life and the lives of others.

Mai Lee, Southeast Asian Organization President. Southeast Asia travel study tip to the Twin Cities, April 2014

4.) Engages students to participate in multicultural activities (for example, travel study, guest speakers, experiential learning) of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups of the United States.

5.) Fosters the skills and abilities of students which demonstrate intercultural competence. These may include the ability to reflect on one’s own perspectives, to relate to and empathize with others whom we perceive as different from ourselves, and to use appropriate language and behavior while interacting across differences among  historically underrepresented racial/ ethnic groups within the United States. 



  • “In the rural areas of Wisconsin I admit that it is more difficult to meet racially different Americans than yourself, but it is becoming more likely that  there are Latinos, African Americans, or Muslims residing in your county. If we can learn about their cultural ways we won't fear the difference between us.” -- Susan Baumgartner, History major, class of 2015
  • “After this Chicano literature course, my opinion on Chicanos has changed … Now when I hear the word Chicano, I know that this word stands for political justice, economic development, and for growth in education.” -- Jesus Cervantes, IT and Spanish major
  • “Diversity, racism, feeling superior over others has been in our culture/world since the beginning of time, but with courses like this being offered there is hope for future generations to put a stop to all the hate." -- Kimberly Krebs, Special Education major, class of 2016
  • "We discussed social issues that are often overlooked, exposing the roots and finding out how these issues evolved. This class gave me a different perspective on a variety of cultures, and I feel that this knowledge will stay with me for the rest of my life and help my future career as physician."-- James Troyer, Biology major, class of 2014
  • "The third and most important thing that I learned and realized in this class was my white privilege. Ever since Tim Wise’s video and the readings about white privilege, I have thought about my white privilege, this awareness is really enlightening to me." – Erin Wescott, Psychology major, class of 2015

    Ozalle Toms, Asst. Prof of Special Education, meets with a student


    Please contact:

    • Pilar Melero,Coordinator, Race and Ethnic Studies Program,                 262-472-3173
    • Elizabeth Kim, Chair, University Diversity Committee,                              262-472-1269

    Click here to see Diversity Brochure