The Teaching of Latino Studies

April 17-18, 2009
Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin, in collaboration with Cornell College and Lake Forest College

Note: This workshop has already taken place. See the pages that follow for links to material from the workshop.

Conference Overview

The overall aim of the Teaching of Latino Studies Conference was to give participants the opportunity to discuss how their respective campuses are preparing for the growing pool of Latino/a applicants who can further diversify ACM campuses and to better educate through curricula their non-Latino student bodies about the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States.

More specific goals of the workshop were to:

  • discuss current course offerings in Latino Studies on ACM campuses;
  • exchange and discuss reading lists, bibliographies, and syllabi;
  • explore approaches to and best practices in teaching Latino studies;
  • address needs of Latinos and non-Latinos who may enroll in these courses;
  • investigate the intersection between Latino Studies, Latin American Studies, Ethnic Studies, and other programs;
  • explore avenues for further collaboration; and
  • explore avenues for co-authoring papers.

Participants of the ACM Latino Studies Conference benefited in various ways from the conference.

  • One participant reported that she "feel[s] a great deal less alone now that [she has] met colleagues at other ACM colleges" interested in Latino Studies. The conference allowed participants in the ACM interested in Latino Studies to develop a structure through which they can share resources and communicate about their conditions and needs particular to small liberal arts colleges.
  • Another participant stated that "the workshop was extremely valuable, both in [terms of] curriculum and course development." Hearing more experienced colleagues talk about their courses, participants expanding their repertoire of course offerings stated that they now feel better prepared to develop courses in Latino Studies.
  • Having recently redesigned and renamed their American Cultural Studies Program so that it is now called Race and Ethnic Studies, participants from Colorado College expect to include a wide diversity of academic issues related to ethnic minorities in the United States and around the world. Grateful that the keynote speaker Professor Lourdes Torres provided a wealth of knowledge on cultural identity while focusing on Latinos/Latinas/Gays/Lesbians/Transgender, the Colorado College participants hope to invite her to their campus to assist with course development.

Demographic Background

The Pew Hispanic Center reports: "The Latino population, already the nation's largest minority group, will triple in size and will account for most of the nation's population growth from 2005 through 2050. Hispanics will make up 29% of the U.S. population in 2050, compared with 14% in 2005." ("U.S. Population Projections: 2005-2050." Pew Hispanic Center.)

Because of these changes in demographics, Latinos will comprise a growing percentage of students seeking admission into institutions of higher learning. In fact, the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education projects that between 2004-05 and 2014-15 the United States will see almost 207,000 more Hispanic high school graduates (an increase of 54 percent), but only about 12,000 more Black non-Hispanic graduates (an increase of 3 percent) and nearly 197,000 fewer White non-Hispanic graduates (a decline of 11 percent). (Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. "Knocking at the College Door. Projections of High School Graduates by State and Race/Ethnicity 1992-2022." March 2008.

Conference Organizers

  • Sylvia López, Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures, Beloit College
  • Gizella Meneses, Assistant Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures, Lake Forest College
  • Marcela Ochoa-Shivapour, Associate Professor of Classical and Modern Languages, Cornell College

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