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Faculty proposing Latina/o Studies minor

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Gloria Martinez, sociology professor, discusses a proposed Latina/o Studies minor Sept. 6 to members of the San Marcos community, Texas State faculty and administration.
Photo by Victor Rodriguez | Staff Photographer

Texas State faculty members are proposing an interdisciplinary minor in Latina/o Studies. If the minor is approved and added to the university’s curriculum, the minor will be available to all undergraduate students and become available next fall.

Kambra Bolch, associate dean of Academic Programs, said the minor will greatly enrich students of all fields and demographics at Texas State.

“It will prepare them to be successful in a multicultural work environment,” Bolch said. “Every one of our students will go out and make a contribution to the world, and the world is a diverse place. The more they understand cultural expectations, norms, and histories, the more successful they will be in the work environment.”

Bolch said Hispanic students will be given an opportunity to learn more about their own heritage.

“So often, in public schools, students are not given the opportunity to learn about their own culture,” Bolch said. “It is only in the last few years that people have become more conscious that we need to do a better job at reflecting the contributions of everyone in our society. However, it is not a minor for a specific demographic, but appeals to everyone regardless of their field.”

Two informative meetings were held on Sept. 5 and Sept. 6 by the Latina/o Studies Minor Committee covering the proposed minor. During these meetings, attendees previewed a preliminary list of courses compiled for the potential minor. Courses discussed during the meeting included intercultural communication in the Americas, Latino youth and families and population geography.

Gloria Martinez, professor of sociology and a lead developer of the Latina/o Studies minor, said this idea emerged from professors coming together across campus and is a minor students want.

“This new curriculum would reinforce the university’s goals of diversity and inclusion,” Martinez said. “Latina/o Studies would be an interdisciplinary minor that is open for anyone who is interested in learning about Latino culture. The minor would allow students to learn about the diversity within the Latino community. Students would be exposed to research that is currently being conducted on Latino issues. The minor would also prepare students for the workforce by allowing them to attain cultural competency skills.”

In a student survey conducted of 263 Bobcats from introductory courses and student organization groups, one-third of the student participants said they are interested in pursuing the new minor if it is added to the curriculum.

Martinez also said the new minor would further support Texas State’s Hispanic Service Institution status.

Many members of the local community attended the meetings, proposing ideas supporting the potential minor. Local residents proposed ideas of internships and service within San Marcos’ Latino community.

Michelle Sotolongo, student development specialist in the Honors College, said the minor is being well received by the local San Marcos community.

“This is seen as a huge benefit, and will strengthen the relationship between Texas State and the local community,” Sotolongo said. “This minor gives the faculty the opportunity to teach and discuss topics that haven’t been available previously.”

Texas State Faculty will be voting on the potential minor this week, but there is still a long process ahead in adding Latina/o Studies to the university’s curriculum.

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