Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The State of the Department of Chicano Latino Studies: a response to the APG report


The Department of Chicano Latino Studies derives its mission from stated objectives of the University of California system which read: “Diversity should be integral to the University’s achievement of excellence. Diversity can enhance the ability of the University to accomplish its academic mission.”  The University of California system further commits itself to “remove barriers to recruitment, retention and advancement… of historically excluded populations who are currently underrepresented.”

In keeping with these University of California long-term goals, and as stated in our 2006-2016 Strategic Plan, the Chicano Latino Studies Department core mission is to apply an interdisciplinary scholarly approach to the study of issues and challenges facing the fastest growing minority group in the United States, and one historically understudied: Latinos.  Evidence of our success in this role is amply available in faculty members’ scholarly contributions and the academic achievement of our undergraduate majors and affiliated graduate students.

Our curriculum seeks to provide knowledge, critical understanding and appreciation of the language, history, culture, literature, sociology, anthropology, politics, social ecology, health, medicine, and creative accomplishments (art, dance, drama, film, music) in Chicano/Latino communities. Our faculty concentrates in the areas of migration, the historical understanding of cultural experiences of Latino populations, and issues of inequality and access to opportunities within U.S. society—the three areas we situated under the rubric of Migration, Memory and Access in our 2006-2016 Strategic Plan. Last year the Department of Chicano Latino Studies: Dean’s Summary & Departmental Narrative-2011 provides ample evidence as to the excellence, high productivity and national recognition of our faculty members in those areas.

Beyond our areas of research and teaching concentration, the DCLS is strategically located as a social science research group focused on issues for which UCI has a regional advantage.  Southern California is a living interactive laboratory of cultural exchanges. Latinos comprise over a third of the population of the state of California, and an even larger percentage in Southern California, making them a critical area of inquiry for the UC system. The DCLS focus on Latinos is consistent with UC Irvine’s commitment to interdisciplinary study and the education of students to function productively in a multi-cultural and multi-racial society and world.

The Chicano Latino Studies Department is also committed to increasing the number of Latino students that enter and graduate from UCI. We are actively involved in outreach to local communities, and co-curricular and mentoring support for current students. Chicano Latino Studies seeks to increase the matriculation, persistence and graduate rates of Latino students and prepare them for leadership roles in a global society.

The present role of the DCLS aligns with UC system diversity values and goals, supporting its academic mission. Through our interdisciplinary faculty and curriculum, the DCLS is integrated into the academic work of the School and the University. The excellence of our faculty is well-documented in publications, grants received, honors and awards. Evidence of the DCLS outstanding teaching can be found in the academic achievements of our undergraduate majors and affiliated graduate students. The DCLS is also integrated into outreach, recruitment and mentoring of under-represented students. The demographic trends of the region and rising cohorts of potential Chicano-Latino undergraduate students attest to the future prospects of our department.

The DCLS faculty is extremely distressed by the absence of any reference to diversity goals in the APG report’s evaluation.  The report also lacks any discussion or assessment of student persistence and graduation rates.

The DCLS faculty believes that, at this time of financial stress, it is supremely important to take a long term look at the future of UC Irvine, beyond short-term challenges, and that broad rather than narrow gauges of productivity be utilized.  In short, what kind of University do we want to have? This is something that must be addressed by the APG and the University.  We believe that the terms of the discussion engaged by the APG need to be changed.

I. Executive Summary 

Since its inception five years ago, the Department of Chicano Latino Studies has offered a unique undergraduate experience similar to what can be obtained in small private liberal arts colleges. At the graduate level the DCLS  is now poised, as envisioned in our Strategic 2006-2010 Strategic Plan to consider seriously the development of a Ph.D. towards which we have made important strides as detailed in the report below.

The Chicano Latino Studies Department has become a truly outstanding undergraduate unit with a rigorous curriculum taught by leading research scholars in the fields of Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, Political Science, History, Literature, and Ethnomusicology. CLSD is a rising program with balanced faculty ranging from freshly trained assistant professors through new associate professors and seasoned scholars at Step VI and above.

The 2010-2011 year was a banner academic period for our department at the undergraduate level. There were 89 majors in the Department of Chicano/Latino Studies at the end of spring quarter. Twenty-seven received their BA degrees in June. Another eight are expected to graduate this summer. This was our largest graduating class to date.

Ten students were admitted to and successfully completed the honors program. Five of our graduates (Esperanza Garcia, Vilma Garcia, Nancy Herrera, Andrea Moreno, and Oscar Rojas Perez) received the School of Social Sciences Order of Merit.

Seven (Teresa Cavazos, Esperanza Garcia, Vilma Garcia, Nancy Herrera, Andrea Moreno, Roberto Murillo, and Oscar Rojas Perez) were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

Vilma Garcia received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research. Nancy Herrera and Oscar Rojas Perez were recipients of the department's Jeff Garcilazo Prize for Best Undergraduate Paper in Chicano Latino Studies.

Oscar Rojaz Perez and Vilma Garcia received the most exclusive School of Social Sciences Scholars of Distinction Award.

At the graduate level the DCLS is ready to consider developing a Ph.D program, perhaps an enterprise shared with other entities at UCI. The DCLS already provides excellent opportunities for graduate students through the Prime-LC program, the Chicano Latino Graduate Emphasis, and Ph.D - level training carried out by our core faculty, as detailed below.

a)  The Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC) was established in 2004 in response to an increasing demand for physician-leaders who are culturally sensitive and linguistically competent to address the specific needs of California's Latinos.

Administered through the UC Irvine School of Medicine, the combined five-year medical degree/master’s program includes second- and third-year Chicano/Latino studies courses taught by CLS department faculty Belinda Campos, Leo Chavez and Michael Montoya.  The seminar-style courses are designed to help physicians in training think carefully and critically about the social determinants of illness and health and the social and cultural lives of Latinos in California.  Under the mentorship of both medical and Chicano/Latino studies faculty, all PRIME-LC students develop a master's project plan as part of the 2nd year seminar course.  Faculty also continue to work with program residents on community-based projects

b) A graduate Emphasis in Chicano/Latino Studies, available in conjunction with all UCI Ph.D programs chosen to date by several outstanding Ph.D graduates with dissertation committees populated by core CLS faculty. See Appendix A.

c) A de facto Ph.D in Chicano Latino Studies: CLS core faculty over the past 2-3 years have worked on 66 doctoral committees, chairing 20 of them, with a large number of the dissertations focused on Chicano Latino Studies themes.  CLS core faculty also teach 15 graduate seminars related to Ethnic Studies/ Chicano Latino Studies on a regular basis. SeeAppendices B and C. 

II. Action Plan

The Chicano Latino Studies Department will continue to aim for excellence in undergraduate and graduate education through an Action Plan with a three-part focus on i) strengthening its graduate profile, i) develop the Graduate Emphasis and iii) increase undergraduate enrollments.

i) Strengthen its graduate profile by formally transforming the Multi-Campus UC-CUBA Academic Initiative into a Social Sciences Center affiliated with the CLS Department. Over the past five years UC-CUBA provided 41 grants to 38 Ph.D. students from 8 campuses for travel and research in Cuba in disciplines ranging from anthropology and literature to music and biology. Since 2009 UC-CUBA organized yearly graduate student workshops at which doctoral students from the 8 participating campuses discussed each other’s work and received professional mentoring from Cuba-specialists in the UC faculty. As a CLS-affiliated Center the UC-CUBA Academic Initiative will continue its mission to educate and train graduate students from all UC campuses involved in Cuba-related research. See Appendix D. 

ii) Develop the graduate Emphasis by a) publicizing its availability to related Ph.D programs, i.e. sociology, political science, anthropology, history and Spanish, b) collaborating with the Latino Graduate Student Collective, and c) establishing the Professor Gilbert G. Gonzalez Graduate Student Research Prize, which will be awarded yearly to the 3 best papers written by graduate students who have chosen the Emphasis in Chicano/ Latino Studies. Graduate Students can have until the end of June 2012 to enter papers for the prize.

The prize is intended as support and incentive for graduate students. In addition to the monetary reward, winners of the prize can get an additional benefit by listing the award in their vitas in these difficult employment times. The Prize will be announced at the beginning of the Fall Quarter 2012.

First Place: $750. Second Place: $500. Third Place: $250.

iii) Increase enrollment in undergraduate courses that meet breadth requirements. There should be increasing interests in these courses in part because the percentages of Chicano/Latino applicants, admits, and acceptances at UCI increased over the last year. There was a 64% increase in the number of Chicano freshmen who submitted their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) for fall.

The number of Latino freshmen with positive SIR increased from 184 last year to 279 this fall. There are 249 Chicano and 83 Latino new transfers this year. There were 2440 Chicano and 816 Latino undergraduate enrollment on campus as of last spring. These numbers comprised 15% of the student body. CLS has always drawn much enrollment from this population.

CLS is in the midst of a campaign in coordination with the Social Sciences Undergraduate Office and in collaboration with the active Chicano Latino Student Clubs, i.e. the Latina/o Student Psychological Association (LPSA), Pan American Latino Society (PALS), and the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), to promote increase enrollments in CLS courses that meet the breadt requirements and to contribute to efforts towards retention and graduation of Chicano Latino students.


Appendix A: Recent Ph.D.s (or near Ph.D.s) with a Chicano Latino graduate emphasis

1. Daisy Reyes (ABD, Sociology), Outstanding Graduate Student in 2011 
Daisy Reyes has been highly lauded for her work, receiving the sociology department’s Service Award for research and teaching, and a competitive UC All Campus Consortium on Research on Diversity (UCACCORD) fellowship that has funded her dissertation.  In May, 2011, the Alumni association will honor Reyes at the annual Lauds & Laurels banquet as the university’s Outstanding Graduate Student in 2011. Professor Cynthia Feliciano serves on Daisy Reyes’ doctoral dissertation committee

2. Armando Ibarra, Ph.D., Political Science
Armando Ibarra finished his dissertation, Analysis of state-facilitated agricultural laborers and labor camps in California, and recently received a tenure-track appointment at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Professors Louis Desipio (Chair) and Gilbert Gonzalez served on his dissertation committee,

3. Nick Bravo, Ph.D., History.
Nick Bravo finished his dissertation, Spinning the Bottle: Ethnic Mexicans and Alcohol in Prohibition-era Los Angeles, and has been awarded a UC Presidential Postdoctoral Award in residence at UC San Diego for 2011-2012. Professor Vicki Ruiz (Chair) and Professor Ana Rosas served on his dissertation committee.

Appendix B: Ph.D. student teaching and supervision by CLS Dept faculty since approximately 2009

Over the last 2-3 years CLS core faculty have worked on 66 doctoral committees, Chairing 20 of them. 

Assistant Professor Belinda Campos (100% CLS Dept. faculty member) has worked in 7 Ph.D. committees, including one at UCLA, in the Departments of Psychology and Social Behavior (School of Social Ecology), Education and Psychology (UCLA).

Sample of recent dissertation title/topic: Partner Relationships, Family, and Social Support, and Postpartum Mental Health Among Latina and White Mothers

Associate Professor Louis Desipio (50% CLS-Political Science). A partial list of Professor Desipio's supervision of doctoral students shows his membership in 11 doctoral committees, 3 of which he chaired; 5 of the 11 finished their Ph.D's including 2 of those whose committees were chaired by Professor Desipio.

Sample of recent dissertation title/topic: Analysis of state-facilitated agricultural laborers and labor camps in California

Associate Professor Cynthia Feliciano (50% CLS-Sociology) has been a member of 7 Ph.D. dissertation committees, six in the Department of Sociology and one in the Department of Education.

Sample dissertation title/topic: Coerced Trans-nationality: Deportation and the Forced Separation of Salvadoran Families

Professor Raul Fernandez. Currently Chair of the CLS Dept. Professor Fernandez (formerly 50% CLS-Social Sciences) was/is a member of 4 dissertation committees, 3 of them at UC-San Diego. Because of his role as Chair of the UC-CUBA Academic Initiative, Professor Fernandez has worked as formal and informal graduate supervisor to Ph.D. students throughout the UC system.  He’s currently mentor for UC President’s Post-doctoral Fellow Anita Casavantes Bradford (Ph.D. History, UC San Diego, 2011), in residence at UCI, 2011-2012.

Sample dissertation title/topic: The case of Elián González: constructions of childhood in U.S. Cuban-American communities.

Professor Gilbert Gonzalez. Professor González served in 1 doctoral dissertation committee. Doctoral student finished his Ph.D. As director of the documentary film HARVEST OF LONELINESS Professor Gonzalez collaborated with UCI Poli Sci Ph.D. film co-director Vivian Price.

Associate Professor Michael Montoya (50% CLS-Anthropology) has participated in 13 doctoral dissertation committees in the Dept of Anthropology and the School of Social Ecology, in 5 of them as Chair. 5 of the students have completed their Ph.D. including 2 of those supervised by Professor Montoya. Professor Montoya is currently directing the graduate program in the Dept. of Anthropology.

Sample dissertation title/topic: Community renewal and health, urban planning Santa Ana

Assistant Professor Ana Rosas (50% CLS-History) worked on 3 doctoral committees in the Dept. of History. 

Sample dissertation title/topic: The city of Los Angeles's health attitudes and practices when policing the settlement and health services entrepreneurship of individuals of Chinese descent throughout the early twentieth century

Professor Alejandro Morales (100% CLS) directed 3 Ph. D. dissertations in the Dept of Spanish and Portuguese during this period. 

Sample dissertation title/topic: Performance Ethnicity in Chicana/o / US Latino Narrative

Professor Vicki Ruiz (50% History-CLS), Dean of the School of Humanities. It is impossible to provide an adequate and fair summary here of Professor Ruiz long-lasting and vast contributions as a supervisor of doctoral students at UCI and elsewhere. A quick glance at her most recent activity shows her to be the mentor to 18 Ph. D. students including 1 at UC San Diego and 1 at Stanford. Professor Ruiz has chaired 9 of those committees.  In addition, Professor Ruiz is currently supervising a UC Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow.

Sample dissertation title/topic:  Spinning the Bottle: Ethnic Mexicans and Alcohol in Prohibition-era Los Angeles.

Assistant Professor Deborah Vargas (100% CLS Dept) organized and taughtChicano/Latino Studies 200A, the core course requirement for the Chicano Latino Graduate Emphasis in Winter, 2011. This is only the second time that the course has been offered to a cohort of doctoral students wishing to include the Chicano Latino Graduate Emphasis as part of their Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Appendix C: Graduate Seminars taught by core CLS faculty members

Professors Feliciano, Desipio, Ruiz, Rosas, Montoya, Vargas, Campos, Morales and Fernandez offered the following graduate courses over the last 2 years.

Proseminar in Sociology (Soc 202B)

Race and Education (Soc 239)  

Race and Ethnicity (Soc 230/CLS 289)   

Immigration and the New 2nd Generation (Soc 239/CLS 289) 

U.S. Ethnic Politics (Pol Sci 245/CLS 235)               

Understanding Gendered Migrations Historically (History 290)  

Gendered Narratives (History 289B) 

Theoretical Issues in Chicano/Latino Research (CLS 200A) 

Chicano Narrative (CLS 289, cross-listed with Spanish and Portuguese) 

Spanish Borderlands (CLS 289, cross-listed with History) 

Women since 1900 (History 290) 

Anthro Proseminar (Anthro 202 A-B-C) 

Cultural and Historical Precedents for Latinos and Medical Care (210 A-B, cross-listed with School of Medicine, Prime-LC Curriculum)

Latinos and Latinas and Medical Care: Contemporary Issues (211 A-B, cross-listed with School of Medicine, Prime-LC Curriculum) 

Borders and Bodies (CLS 284) 

Seminar in Political Economy In addition the CLS core faculty supervised numerous independent studies, field practices, etc.

Appendix D: The UC-CUBA Academic Initiative


In its first five years, the UC-CUBA Academic Initiative has established itself as a critical resource for UC-system graduate students working on Cuba-related issues. The only multi-campus research consortium of its kind in the United States, UC-CUBA has facilitated projects ranging from a study of current health care delivery systems in Cuba to critical studies in contemporary Cuban fiction writing. Some of these projects would not have been possible without grant support from UC-CUBA.

The availability of these grants, as well as the mentoring and community support provided by UC-CUBA faculty and students, make the University of California extremely attractive to exceptional graduate candidates interested in Cuba-related issues. UC-CUBA, a research unit independent of political affiliations or agendas, has also been a source of great satisfaction to faculty members across the University of California. These faculty members represent some of the United States' most respected scholars of Cuba. As the Cuban nation is beginning a process of economic, political, and social transformation, UC-CUBA will continue to prepare a new generation of outstanding academics ready to tackle the research issues arising from these historical changes.

UC-CUBA's myriad initiatives were initially made possible through the support of the UC Office of the President. Throughout the past five years, the research unit's activities have benefited greatly from the support of Schools, Departments, Institutes and Centers across the system. (Please see at the end of document)**

Report on Graduate Student Support and Activities


1. Between 2007 and 2011 UC-CUBA provided 41 grants to 38 students from 8 campuses for travel and research in Cuba.

2. Grants were given in the following research areas:

Social Sciences
Political Science
Latin American Studies
Ethnic Studies

Comparative Literature
Hispanic Studies


Film and Media Studies
Art History

3. On a campus-by-campus basis grants were distributed as follows:

UC Berkeley.......7
UC San Diego......5
UC Irvine.........4
UC Riverside......2
UC Davis..........2
UC Santa Cruz.....1
UC Merced.........1
UC SF Medical.....1

4. Gender ratio for the 38 grant recipients recipients: 28 women, 10 men


1. Of 8 grant recipients that obtained the Ph.D. based on Cuba-related research:

1 accepted a tenure-track appointment in Comparative Literature at Cornell University
1 accepted a tenure-track appointment in Sociology at the College of William and Mary
1 accepted a 2-year Postdoctoral fellowship in Music at Hamilton College
1 accepted a tenure track appointment at the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville)
1 accepted a tenure track appointment at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu
1 accepted a one-year Visiting Lecturer position at Scripps College
1 accepted 2-year postdoctoral fellowship in History at the University of Pittsburgh
1 accepted a UC Presidents’ Postdoctoral Fellowship at UC Irvine

2. The UC-CUBA Academic Initiative nominated Alissa Bernstein, 3rd year doctoral student in Anthropology at UC Berkeley for the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy 2011 Graduate Student Paper Prizes, issued yearly by ASCE of Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.  2011. Alissa won the Second Place Graduate Student Paper Award for her paper on Cuba’s international health diplomacy.


1. The UC-CUBA Academic Initiative also sponsored 3 very successful multi-campus graduate student workshops at UCLA in 2009, Berkeley in 2010 and UC Irvine in 2011. At these student-organized workshops, doctoral students from all UC campuses presented and commented on each other’s work and received professional advice from invited UC-CUBA faculty members.

The links for the workshops program are below:




2.  UC-CUBA graduate students have been professionally active participating in Cuba-related conference panels with support from the UC-CUBA Academic Initiative.

In February 2010 UC-CUBA provided support for UC-CUBA graduate students who participated in the Cuban Research Institute conference in Miami. UC-CUBA graduate students organized and proposed 4 panels involving 19 UC faculty and graduate students from six UC campuses. 

In October 2010, UC-CUBA provided support for Gabriela Santizo (Literature, UC San Diego) and Hanna Garth (Anthropology, UCLA) who presented papers at the Latin American Studies Association Meetings in Toronto, Canada. 


1. This year 2011-2012 UC-CUBA will be offering once again research grants ($1,200 a piece) and scheduling a Graduate Workshop at UCLA on April 2012.

2. In addition, UC-CUBA will present the 2012 UC-CUBA Marta Abreu Post-Doctoral Awards (2) to recognize recent outstanding doctoral research related to Cuba. The $1,500 award is open to University of California Ph.D. graduates in all disciplines, and is to support international research and/or conference travel to facilitate revision of the dissertation for publication of scholarly or creative works.


2011 Grant Recipients

Kendra Johnson, Medical Student, UC San Francisco
Antonio Guzmán, Sociology, UCLA
Gabriela Santizo, Literature, UC San Diego
Alexander Zevin, History, UCLA
Bethany Beyer, Spanish, UCLA
Jamie Fudacz, Spanish, UCLA
Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, Geography, UC Berkeley
Iyabo Kwayana, MFA Candidate, UCLA
Sarah Chenault, Latin American Studies, UCLA
Jon Dettman, Spanish, UC Davis

2010 Grant Recipients

Alissa Bernstein, Anthropology, UC Berkeley
Anita Casavantes Bradford, History, UC San Diego
Colin Closek, Quantitative and Systems Biology, UC Merced
Hanna Garth, Anthropology, UCLA
Dan Rood, History, UC Irvine
Nadia Sanko, Spanish, UCLA
Carrie Viarnes, Art History, UCLA
Selene Zander, Spanish, UC Berkeley

2009 Grant Recipients

Rebecca Bodenheimer, Ethnomusicology, UC Berkeley
Valerie Dickerson, MusicUC Los Angeles
Adanna Jones, Dance, UC Riveside
Seth Kauppinen, Biology, UC Berkeley
M. Kone, Political Science, UC Los Angeles
Tom McEnaney, Comparative LiteratureUC Berkeley
Rachel Neff, Hispanic StudiesUC Riverside
Ayesha Nibbe, Anthropology, UC Davis
Gabriela Santizo, LiteratureUC San Diego
Kristina Shull, History, UC Irvine
Allen Young, SpanishUC Berkeley

2008 Grant Recipients

Virginia Benitez, Comparative Literature, UC Santa Cruz
Hanna Garth, Anthropology, UC Los Angeles
Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, Geography, UC Berkeley
Henry Lovejoy, History, UC Los Angeles
Lindsay Puente, Comparative LiteratureUC Irvine
David Rice, Communications, UC San Diego
Susana Rodriguez, Comparative Literature, UC Los Angeles
Beth Rosenbloom, Art HistoryUC Los Angeles

2007 Grant Recipients

Rebecca Bodenheimer, Ethnomusicology, UC Berkeley
Ivette Gómez, Spanish, UC Irvine
Monika Gosin, Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego
Nadia Sophia Sanko, Spanish, UC Los Angeles


UC Davis
Hemispheric Institute of the Americas
HARCS Funding
Office of Research
Outreach and Int’l Programs

UC Santa Cruz
Vice-Chancellor for Research
School of Humanities
School of Social Sciences

Latin American Center (Int’l Institute)
Social Sciences

UC Irvine
Social Sciences
Student Affairs
Graduate Division

UC Berkeley
Center Latin American Studies
Vice-Chancellor for Research

UC Riverside
College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Ethnic Studies
Women’s Studies
Vice Chancellor for Research

UC San Diego
Dean of Arts and Humanities
Dean of Social Sciences


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