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NMSU to host panel on trends, needs at Hispanic-serving institutions

Six prominent advocates for the increase of Chicanas/Latinas and indigenous women in higher education will visit New Mexico State University Feb. 2 for a panel on the trends and needs at Hispanic-serving institutions.

“Educational TransFormations at HSIs: Voces y Testimonios from the MALCS Leadership,” will be from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 2 in Hardman and Jacobs Room 125. The panel is free and open to the public.

The panel features six leaders of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social, the professional organization of Women Active in Letters and Social Change. Sonya M. Alemán is an associate professor in the Bicultural Bilingual Department and Mexican American studies program at the University of Texas at San Antonio and is the lead editor of the MALCS peer-reviewed journal, “Chicana/Latina Studies”; Cecilia J. Aragón is the current MALCS chair and associate director of the School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice as well as the director of the Latina/o Studies Program at the University of Wyoming; Dolores Delgado Bernal is the chair-elect of MALCS and professor in the Charter College of Education and the Department of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies at California State University, Los Angeles; Vanessa Fonseca is MALCS’s membership coordinator and an assistant professor of English at Arizona State University; Lupe Gallegos-Diaz is the administrative coordinator of MALCS and teaches undergraduate and graduate Chicano/Latino Studies courses at the University of California, Berkeley and at San Francisco State University; and MALCS treasurer Justine Hernandez is an associate professor at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.

Judith Flores Carmona, MALCS ex-officio and assistant professor at NMSU’s College of Education and in the Honors College, said the idea for the panel is connected to this summer’s MALCS institute at the University of Texas at El Paso. The six MALCS leaders will be in the area next month for a site visit, and agreed to participate in the panel as a way of reciprocating the hospitality of their hosts at NMSU during their visit.

“Two of the women participating in the panel are from New Mexico, so they understand the struggles we face here,” Flores Carmona said. “Their presence will also show us what possibilities exist as far as the transformations that can happen at Hispanic-serving institutions.”

Manal Hamzeh, associate professor of gender and sexuality studies at NMSU and past MALCS Summer Institute participant, said panelists will discuss the decolonizing of feminist research methodologies and the struggles of faculty of color at HSIs in the borderlands.

“The majority of NMSU students are Hispanics, but we do not have enough tenure-track faculty feminists of color to be models and femtors to these students,” Hamzeh said. “Also, the high percentage of Hispanic-identified undergraduate student numbers drops in graduate school here at NMSU. We get funding as an HSI, but not enough of this money is invested in Hispanic students and faculty. We need to truthfully work toward becoming a university that serves the citizens of this state.”

Flores Carmona said faculty retention, especially of Chicanas, indigenous women and faculty of color in general, will also be a topic of discussion for the panel.

“When you do have us, how do you keep us?” Flores Carmona said. “This is a conundrum HSIs are facing around the country. How are we recruiting faculty and administrators?”

Hamzeh said she especially urges university administrators interested in transforming the university, as well as those students and faculty interested in joining MALCS to attend the panel discussion.

“We need to be deeply listening to the voices of feminists of color,” Hamzeh said.

The panel is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences Stan Fulton Endowed Chair and the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies/Gender and Sexuality Studies; the College of Education; the Department of Curriculum & Instruction; the Department of Educational Leadership and Administration; the College of Health and Social Services; the Honors College; and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

For more information about the panel, contact Flores Carmona at judithfc@nmsu.edu or 575-646-4377. For more information about MALCS, visit http://malcs.org.