Texas Tech University

College of Arts & Sciences Announces New Institute for Latina/o Studies

Glenys Young

November 16, 2021

Holden Hall

A dedicated group of faculty and staff will bring together existing efforts on campus with common Hispanic-serving goals to support Texas Tech students and the Lubbock community.

Texas Tech University's College of Arts & Sciences today (Nov. 16) announced the official formation of the Institute for Latina/o Studies, a dedicated hub for research, teaching, internationalization and community engagement led by an interdisciplinary cohort of faculty and staff. The institute represents the latest investment by Texas Tech, a recognized Hispanic-Serving Institution, in its proactive outreach to the Hispanic community.

Brian Still
Brian Still

“The College of Arts & Sciences is honored to be the home of the newly established Institute for Latina/o Studies,” said Brian Still, acting dean of the college. “A passionate, skilled and tireless team of faculty and staff, working with stakeholders across the Texas Tech University System, have made this new, important institute a reality. I'm thankful for their efforts and the support of the university administration, which understands its value. One of the institute's key charges is to dedicate substantial resources to students, not just support for scholarships but also the development of opportunities to engage the community beyond Texas Tech as we seek to foster a new generation of leaders who change the world through their engaged scholarship, teaching and public service.”

The Institute for Latina/o Studies was born out of the collective efforts of the existing Latin American and Iberian Studies Center and the Mexican American and Latina/o Studies Center. Now, working jointly together as the Institute for Latina/o Studies with the support of 36 faculty associated with Hispanic studies, the dedicated group of faculty and staff brings together existing efforts on campus with common Hispanic-serving goals that support Texas Tech students and the Lubbock community.

Carmen Pereira-Muro
Carmen Pereira-Muro

Texas Tech is home to more than 100 faculty members with specializations or associations in Hispanic studies and research areas.

“The faculty working group behind the project of the Institute for Latina/o Studies is profoundly grateful to Acting Dean Brian Still for believing in its necessity and providing the initial jump-start for the institute,” said Carmen Pereira-Muro, chair of the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures and professor of Spanish. “We realized several years ago there were already many existing pieces on campus working toward common Hispanic-serving goals in the areas of research, teaching, internationalization and community outreach. The newly founded institute aims to bring together these existing efforts and work to develop common strategies.”

Texas Tech officially achieved the status of Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2019 after meeting the criteria in 2017. The university is one of just 15 Carnegie Tier One institutions to also receive the designation. Hispanic students made up 29% of Texas Tech's total undergraduate students for the Fall 2021 semester.

Miguel Levario
Miguel Levario

“In Texas, 52.8% of the state's student population is Latino, with most of Mexican descent,” said Miguel Levario, an associate professor of U.S. history and borderlands studies. “As a Carnegie Tier One and Hispanic-Serving Institution, Texas Tech recognizes the past and present contributions of the Mexican American and Latino communities and the unique needs of changing demographics in the state and across the country. The mission of the Institute for Latina/o Studies is to serve and capitalize the intellectual development of student success with an equal commitment and service to community and engaged scholarship. Affiliated faculty and students will work to enhance people's comprehension and appreciation of Mexican American and Latina/o cultural practices, historical development and socioeconomic conditions.”

The Institute for Latina/o Studies will soon seek the appointment of an executive director to be announced at a later date.

About the College of Arts & Sciences

The Texas Tech University College of Arts & Sciences was founded in 1925 as one of the university's four original colleges. Today, Arts & Sciences is comprised of 15 departments, offering a wide variety of courses and programs in the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, mathematics, physical sciences, and natural sciences. In 2020, the college enrolled more than 11,900 students representing nearly one-third of the overall Texas Tech University student population while maintaining a 23:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The college offers students a diverse and forward-thinking portfolio of 42 bachelor's degree programs, 34 master's degrees and 14 doctoral programs, 21 of which are consistently nationally ranked. As a member of a Carnegie Tier One research institution, the college is also home to 12 research centers and institutes, such as The Institute of Environmental & Human Health (TIEHH), home to a Biological Threat Research Level-3 lab (BSL-3) that was the first in the state of Texas to begin Coronavirus testing during the COVID-19 pandemic; as well as the Climate Center co-directed by internationally renowned scientist and Chief Scientist for the Nature Conservancy, Katharine Hayhoe.