Mexican-American field expects graduates in 2018.
By R. Eguia
A Mexican-American field of study is available to students attending St. Philip’s College.
Cynthia Cortez teaches four classes in this field of study and has been working for approval since 2005. Cortez said the students demand for these classes and a study abroad in Mexico pushed her to get the field of study approved.
Cortez attended a two-week study abroad with Alamo Colleges students in Oaxaca, Mexico, that helped her to organize an extension of the Mexican-American history course.
“We learned so much about indigenous history while working in the Oaxaca community. There is so much history about indigenous roots that are incorporated into these courses,” Cortez said.
A student may satisfy the history core requirement with Mexican-American History 1 and 2.
Cortez said the field of study is relevant to the Alamo Colleges demographic: 57.9 percent Hispanic.
Jo Carol Fabianke, vice president for academic success, said the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is trying to approve of more fields of studies.
The Texas Higher education code says a field of study is a set of courses that will satisfy the lower division requirements for a bachelor’s degree in a specific academic area.
Fabianke said the focus is, ”really about serving the students’ needs. We want to ensure that students are taken care of at any college.”
According to the Texas Higher education code, institutional evaluations of a field of study are based on making transfers to a four-year university easier and demand for employment in the proposed field.
Transfer agreements exist with similar programs at the University of Texas at San Antonio and Our Lady of the Lake University.
Cortez said many demanding industries require students in the Mexican-American field of study, such as museums, newspapers, non-profit organizations and civil rights agencies.
The district approved the Mexican-American field of study on Jan. 19 after five levels of approval within the Alamo Colleges and the state.
Fabianke said the multiple levels are meant to promote coordination and cohesiveness across the district so that everyone knows what decisions are being made.
The curriculum includes HUMA 1305, Introduction to Mexican American Studies; HIST 2327 and 2328, Mexican American History 1 and 2; GOVT 2311, Mexican-American Politics; ENGL 2351, Mexican American Literature; SPAN 2312, Intermediate Spanish 2 or SPAN 2315, Spanish for Native Speakers 2; and HUMA 1311, Mexican American Fine Arts Appreciation.
Cortez would ultimately like to see Mexican-American perspectives reflected in history curriculums for grades K-12. She said she is working with a special task force that is aiming to enhance dynamic history programs at all education levels.
Cortez said the biggest issue in Mexican-American studies now is, “the need for knowledge. Not just an identity, but knowing who we really are. The indigenous roots that are beyond just being Hispanic.”