MCLR - 1994 Roundtable


Presented By:

Jim Escalante, University of Wisconsin-Madison


It is difhcult to identify institutional representation and to evaluate the professional development of Latino scholars in Arts and Literature bccause they are so scarce and invisible. Affirmative action offices usually will not or cannot provide lists of Latino faculty at their institutions. Even when available, statistics may be misleading because of varying criteria for counting Latino faculty. However, on the basis of shared experiences and observations, it is clear that stability for Latino scholars is undermined by the contradiction between marginalization of their areas of specialization and intense demand for token Latino representation on faculties. Tenure reviews would benefit from using outside Latino scholars who can serve as external reviewers. Up to now networking with other Latino faculty and students is rare. Latino faculty numbers have, therefore, grown mostly at the lower levels, represented primarily by instructors who have limited-term, often part-time appointments.

Other long-term and situational factors have aggravated the problem of professional development for Latinos. In the first category is the refusal of publishers to consider works in Spanish. Another is the absence of a showcase for Latino performance and visual artists. Visibility at the national and local levels is imperative for thc nurturing of Latino artists. A recent condition is the funding crisis specific to the arts and humanities. Programs need to be created that will address the dual task of developing students and faculty simultaneously. Networks need to be established that will provide support for funding proposals.


The scholars in this group recommend the following measures to promote the professional development of Latino faculty in the Midwest:

  • Creation of faculty directories that can be used to identify and locate outside senior Latino reviewers.

  • Organization of a stage on wheels so that musicians, artists, and writers can have a showcase.

  • Expansion of visibility through a project to increase Latino participation on review panels, boards, and committes.

  • Compilation of a data bank of Midwest graduate students so that prospective faculty can be identified and nurtured in MCLR institutions.

  • MCLR inclusion of ABD (all but dissertation) students in its programming

  • Organization of a summer seminar promoting recruitment of Latino graduate students. Many Latinos are not entering the arts and literature fields; instead they opt for professions such as medicine and law.
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    Last Updated: March 11, 1996