Louie Villanueva

Arabic language and Muslim cultures may get a minor

By Fabian Mayer, March 5 2015 —

Students at the University of Calgary may soon be able to minor in Arabic language and Muslim cultures. Professors in the linguistics department are putting together a proposal and the minor may be available for the 2016–17 academic year.

Arabic courses were introduced in the fall of 2013 after a successful student-lobbying effort that included a petition and a Quality Money grant. Students’ Union vice-president academic Hana Kadri was involved in the process as an arts representative.

“We got buy-in right away from the faculty of arts,” Kadri said. “We had an amazing amount of support for getting this program started.”

Asmaa Shehata is an instructor in the department of linguistics, languages and cultures who teaches many of the Arabic language courses. She cites high demand as the reason a minor is in development.

“The number of students is increasing. At the same time, we have requests [and] feedback from students who are interested in having a minor in Arabic,” Shehata said.

The program has been popular with students and more courses have been added to meet high demand.

By the fall of 2016, the U of C will offer 13 Arabic language and Muslim cultures courses. Kadri is optimistic that the proposal for a minor will be successful.

“The faculty of arts has been absolutely amazing in really pushing through initiatives that are student friendly,” Kadri said. “They’re really focused on student growth through the programs that they offer.”

Kadri hopes that the department continues to add courses and that this will lead to further program expansion.

“The vision was to create an Arabic major and it looks like we’re well on our way.”

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