Hope for Latino studies minor

By Gus Bode

A five-year struggle to establish a minor at SIUC is making headway, organizers say, and they hope to have it in place by the end of the year.

Interim College of Liberal Arts Dean Alan Vaux and two assistant professors discussed the importance of getting the minor approved and eventually forming it into a major during a panel discussion Tuesday in the Student Center’s Mackinaw Room.

Vaux said the minor is needed because of the strength and popularity of the Latin American courses already in progress at the university and the potential for the minor to establish more courses.

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The process of establishing the minor program is a long one, Vaux said. It requires a written proposal that must be approved administrators, the College of Liberal Arts council, the provost and the Faculty Senate.

The administration has approved the proposal, and organizers are now working toward garnering support from the COLA council, Vaux said.

“I am fairly hopeful, and as of right now, we don’t need a lot of resources to get the program established,” Vaux said.

Assistant professor of political science Celeste Montoya-Kirk said the minor is important for everyone.

“You should know what is happening in the global community because it will impact you regardless of who you are,” Montoya-Kirk said.

Vaux reminded participants of some of the best things students can do to help expedite the process.

“Even if just one or two of you go to meetings and voice why you think the minor is a good idea, it can make a difference,” Vaux said.

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Mariola Espinosa, an assistant professor of history, said she has researched the makeup of similar programs at other schools.

Other schools that have either a Latino or Latin American studies program include the University of Michigan, University of Nebraska and Northern Illinois University, she said.

Many attending the panel were students interested in the progress of the program and also what courses would be offered.

Krystal Rodriguez, a senior from Gurnee studying psychology, said she was interested to see what students can do to help review process move quickly.

“I feel it is important for everyone to learn about Latino studies,” Rodriguez said. “We are getting bigger and bigger, and it is important for all cultures to know about Latino culture.”

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