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Jacqueline Olvera, PhD, Director of the Latin American Studies Program at Adelphi.

Bienvenidos a todos and thank you for visiting the evolving Latin American Studies Program.

In Spring 2022, I accepted the role of Director of Latin American Studies (LAS). I come to this position with great enthusiasm, many years of studying Mexican migration, and my own personal journey as the daughter of Mexican migrants whose arrival to the US coincided with the making of a Mexican enclave in the city of Chicago. Always motivated by an interest in Mexican migration, I have written about workplace vulnerabilities, the neighborhoods that migrants make and call ‘home,’ and the stigmatizing labels that migrants manage while living and working in the U.S. I also bring to the LAS program a deep commitment to ensure that students learn what an invaluable skill it is to pair critical questions with the most appropriate methodological techniques.

Until 2025, three years from the launch date, I will focus on incorporating the intellectual developments of the field, showcasing Adelphi faculty expertise, enhancing student success, and contributing to Adelphi’s inclusive learning environment. My hope is to build a LAS program that evolves into an institutional partner for cementing Adelphi’s relationship to the greater New York metropolitan Latinx community, while providing students with an array of opportunities to learn about and be responsive to the racial, ethnic, citizenship and linguistic diversities of Latinx peoples.

The first redesign effort has been accomplished! The LAS program is offering a new course starting Fall 2022 entitled, Latinidad. Latinidad is designed as a foundational course for LAS majors and minors and thus lays the cross-disciplinary groundwork for students to engage the historical complexities, contentious spaces, and contemporary nuances of Latinidad. Teaching this course is Assistant Dean Sandra Castro, who received her doctorate in the Program in Social Welfare at CUNY’s Graduate Center and is among Adelphi’s award-winning instructors. The course will be revealing for students interested in forging a globalized understanding of Latinidad as it meets a key learning goal made central by Adelphi’s General Education program.

Finally, I encourage you to stay abreast of redesign initiatives such as additional course offerings, programmatic relationships between LAS and a variety of academic departments, and student-centered discussions about what we should call the program. I wholeheartedly believe in renaming the LAS program in consultation with the communities that do the daily work of grappling with what Latinidad means at Adelphi and beyond, but especially those of us who juggle identities such as Latina, Latino, Latinx, and Afro-Latinx, and Latine. I thus welcome the opportunity to work alongside faculty, administrators, staff and students to make the LAS program a place for those who labor to build bridges at Adelphi and make it possible for students to cultivate relationships that help them thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Todd Wilson
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