Mexican American Studies receives facelift

The Mexican American Studies program recently went through a revitalization process.
The new program, which was renamed as Comparative Mexican American Studies (CMAS), was updated and is getting a fresh start this semester.
According to Aimee Villareal, Ph. D., Assistant Professor and Program Head of the CMAS said that the revitalized major will help connect differing cultures throughout the world through learning and education about the history and culture of Mexican Americans.
The new major will help OLLU because Mexican Americans, and those that identify as such, make up most of the population at OLLU. According to a press release, “In fall 2012, Hispanic students (the vast majority of who are Mexican American) accounted for 55 percent of the OLLU student population. At the regular (traditional) undergraduate level — the focus of the new CMAS program — individuals of Hispanic origin constituted 63 percent of the total”.
“Our goal was to honor the legacy and activist spirit of the discipline, while making modifications that are responsive to a new generation of scholars who are living in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world,” Villareal said.
There are new courses being offered with the newly revitalized major, including Barrio Art and Popular Culture and Voices of Women of Color. In many of the courses that are being offered, many different types of Mexican American groups and movements will be discussed.
According to the press release, the goal of the new CMAS major is to “support the new inclusive vision for Mexican American Studies as part of the University’s mission and identity as a Hispanic Serving Institution”. The press release also states that “[t]he updated major draws from a variety of academic disciplines and is uniquely inclusive of multiple perspectives”.
Many other professors believe that the revitalization of the major will help OLLU’s identities as a Catholic institution as well as a Hispanic-serving institution. On a personal level, however, the students in this major will be able to explore more about the culture and find their own ways to identify themselves.
“Social transformation begins with discovery of one’s purpose and humanity. When we can see our inter-connectedness we can make positive changes in ourselves and in the world,” Dr. John Nira, associate professor of Religious Studies and Theology, said.
Students in this major will be able to reap many benefits from the classes offered, as well as the many opportunities they will have to learn more about the Hispanic culture.
If you would like more information about the newly revitalized major, email Villareal at avgarza@ollusa.edu.

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