Department of Chicano Studies
|College of Natural & Social Sciences|
King Hall B3023
I have the privilege and responsibility to prepare students for the realities they will face when working in public schools and other occupations serving youth and communities in California. My courses seek to engage students in research relevant to contemporary contexts. Latinas/os comprise the majority of students enrolled in California’s K-12 public schools, but the systemic inability to address issues of race, language, immigration, and poverty, restricts their access to higher education (e.g. Chicanas/os are the least likely of all major racial/ethnic groups to graduate from a four-year college or university). Across the nation, and here at Cal State L.A., many Chicana/o university students express a strong motivation to “give back” to their communities. I strive to make sure these students are prepared to sustain this work. Specifically, I facilitate students’ theoretical and empirical understanding of the historical and contemporary issues relevant to Chicana/o education. I work to prepare students for graduate school and beyond. Throughout my courses, I remind students that Chicana/o education remains sorely underresearched and encourage them to address the gaps in the literature with their own scholarship. It is my hope that they survive and succeed at CSULA, but also that they go on to re-envision policy, enact empowering teaching strategies, and effect positive social change. Drawing on the educational philosophy of Paulo Freire, I encourage students to ask their own questions and seek means to change the inequities they identify in society and in particular, the educational system. For example, my courses push students to question explanations of school success or failure that blame race, culture, and language while ignoring the racialized layers of structured social inequality. I challenge students to be critically reflective of course readings and to incorporate personal and academic experiences into their research and writing. Because writing can be an isolating process, I facilitate an in-class writer’s workshop where students act as peer-editors with a fellow student in all of my courses. I pose a series of questions for them to address and they each describe for the class how they plan to develop their paper and address their peer’s constructive criticism. This peer-editing process is beneficial to their development as scholars in training and results in a more focused paper (See Attachment A.1, p66). I also engage students by offering a sequence of collaborative working groups to answer questions from the readings and later use these questions to structure a “Family Feud”-style game that gets students excited about learning and the competitive spirit electrifies the room; in the end, student apply their knowledge through a fun learning exercise. These learning games have allowed student to be engaged in course knowledge and enjoy sharing the information they learned in a fun positive manner in the classroom (See Attachment A.1p. 66, ) Throughout my teaching career, I initiated numerous pedagogical and curricular changes. For example, I arranged my lectures to allow for more structured group-discussion with questions focused on the weekly readings. Based on student-feedback, I also altered course readings and utilized the library electronic reserves. My attempts to maintain an active learning environment to compliment my critical pedagogy have shifted slightly to accommodate an increasing student-teacher ratios in the general education Chicano Studies course CHS 111. Nevertheless, I remain committed to preparing all students for graduate school and beyond.
Research interests are focused on understanding the dynamics of college preparation for first-generation college students. Primary goal is to expand on the dissertation, Chicana College Choice and Resistance.
Representative Professional Activities
BA Social Sciences 1992
Ph.D. Education 1998
Fall 2003 SCHEDULE