North Texas Daily

UNT to offer a Latino/a studies major and certificate next semester

UNT to offer a Latino/a studies major and certificate next semester

March 31
08:45 2014

Morgan Gentry // Intern Writer

As the demographics of today’s workforce, environment and education continue to diversify, UNT is responding to these changes by offering students insight and understanding through Latino/a and Mexican-American Studies.

Starting this semester, LMAS was created to enrich student’s critical thinking and cultural understanding. The LMAS certificate was accepted as an official UNT program March 5 and will provide 15 courses for students of all majors to choose from.

“We went all over the university and checked pretty much the entire set of courses offered by UNT, and those related to Latino and Mexican-American studies,” said Leticia Anaya, engineering professor and LMAS Interim director. “We identified all those courses and we put them together – more than 36 classes—and then incorporated them into an existing degree template.”

Anaya said most of the courses were taken from history, anthropology, sociology, English and literature classes.

More than 433 universities across the nation are taking these same steps for their students, Anaya said.

A multidisciplinary Bachelor of Arts or Science majoring in integrative studies, with a thematic concentration in Latina/o and Mexican-American Studies, will be offered. The degree program will include a minimum of 12 LMAS-oriented classes.

“The goal is to educate students about the diversity of the culture and many other topics related to Latino/a and Mexican-American communities, because the workforce is going to be more diverse,” Anaya said. “I believe with time, this will expose more students to more issues that are relevant to the workforce.”

The initiative for this program started in fall 2013 and it took seven months to finalize courses, professors and concentrations. Courses offer three different ways to enhance job opportunities: legal orientation, business orientation and community engagement orientation.

The directors at LMAS program make it clear that this isn’t just for Latino and Hispanic students and that it is open to anyone looking to be well-informed.

“I really appreciate that we’re finally having some type of course that’s not your regular English classes. It’s more of a cultural awareness in a way,” said Vanessa Flores, criminal justice senior and president of the Hispanic Student Association. “Not a lot of people know about the Hispanic culture or the Hispanic’s impact; not only non-Latinos, but Hispanics as well.”

Since the certificate has been accepted, students are able to enroll in the classes provided for next semester with the option of the integrated studies major or the LMAS 15-hour certificate.

Emergency administration and planning sophomore Jonathan Guerrero is taking the course “Intro to Race, Ethnic and Ethnic Studies” and found it to change his perspective on his own race.

“I would say it’s one of my favorite classes this semester [and] the professor, Dr. Mariela Nuñez-Janes, was the perfect person to teach it,” Guerrero said. “It really has opened my eyes, not only to my own race and ethnicity but that of others as well.”

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