Skip to main content

West Chester University Institute of Race and Ethnic Studies Collection

Identifier: 079
STATEMENT ON HARMFUL AND/OR SENSITIVE CONTENT IN WCU SPECIAL COLLECTIONS HOLDINGS: Due to the nature of the historical materials, there may be occurrences of language, images, positions, and values that do not align with the current values of and practices at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Please be advised that there is harmful content and language that may be offensive, harmful, or difficult to encounter.

The West Chester University Institute of Ethnic and Race Studies Collection is divided into four series: Academic Programs, Events, Publications, and Scrapbooks.

Series 1, Academic Programs, features documents about the establishment and development of the Ethnic Studies minor and its concentrations and courses, as well as the Steering Committee for Ethnic Studies.

Series 2, Events, includes correspondence, flyers, and posters for various conferences, cultural events, and awareness days and weeks hosted by the Institute and the university. Please be advised that in the Holocaust Conference folder, there are some materials that feature graphic descriptions and images of violence and death.

Series 3, Publications, consists of newsletters from the Institute, "The Ethnic News" and "Human Relations Ethnic News". It also has an article and reports about the Institute and a film list.

Series 4, Scrapbooks, features 3 oversize scrapbooks that were used by the Institute to document its history and evolution and to preserve reports and other important information about it in the early 1970s.


  • 1972 - 2006
  • Majority of material found within 1971 - 1988

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.


3 Boxes (2 half-document boxes, 2 oversize medium flat boxes)

4.75 Linear Feet


The West Chester University Institute of Race and Ethnic Studies Collection contains information regarding the Institute's founding and the Minor in Ethnic Studies at the university. Materials include documents related to academic programs and cultural events, as well as publications by and scrapbooks about the Institute and its academic partners. Materials range in date from the early 1970s to 2006, with most materials ranging in date between 1970 to 1990.

Biographical / Historical

Now called the Institute for Ethnic and Race Studies, the Institute of Ethnic Studies was officially established at West Chester State College in 1975. Several faculty and staff members from multiple disciplines across the university undertook this effort, forming a steering committee, teaching cultural studies courses, and advocating for the creation of such an academic minor.

The Institute was established so that students, faculty, and staff could learn more about world cultures and that people could build better understanding of and relationships with one another. After its founding, the Institute of Ethnic Studies managed the Ethnic Studies minor and served as creators, sponsors, and collaborator for a variety of cultural campus events. These included workshops, conferences, seminars, speakers, films, festivals, shows, and more. The primary goals of these workshops and activities were to increase racial and ethnic understanding and to inform the campus and local communities about the importance of cultural diversity in America.

The minor's courses began in spring semester 1976 and featured specialty courses focusing on various populations and cultures present in the United States. These included regularly offering coursework in African-American studies, Hispanic American Studies, Jewish American Studies, and Holocaust Studies by the mid-1980s. Courses in German American Studies, Scotch Irish American Studies, Asian American Studies and Greek American Studies were occasionally offered as well.

Today, the minor is still interdisciplinary and it currently offers specializations in African American, Asian American, Latinx, Jewish, Native American, and multi-ethnic studies. The program draws upon disciplines like sociology, history, anthropology and more to give a well-rounded education and understanding of different cultures. The Institute also mentions that are various interdisciplinary study opportunities for students with an Ethnic Studies Minor to "work on oral histories, participate in planning scholarly conferences and special programs, work on archaeological excavations, participate in internships, and study abroad". (1)

1. West Chester University of Pennsylvania, "The Institute of Race and Ethnic Studies" webpage, accessed on December 12, 2023, URL:


Collections have been arranged into series by topic. Within the series, materials are in alphabetical and chronological order.

Processing Information

West Chester University Institute of Race and Ethnic Studies Collection, Special Collections, West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
West Chester University Institute of Race and Ethnic Studies Collection
Jenna (Bossert) Falkenberg; Allison Magerr
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the West Chester University Archives Repository