MCLR - 1994 Roundtable


Presented By:

Dennis N. Valdés, The University of Minnesota


Currently there are only five Latino historians, seven Latino anthropologists, and five Latino sociologists in the Midwest. The presence of Latino social scientists is haphazard. Latino social scientists in the Midwest face the followig problems:

The primary obstacle for research is a lack critical mass. As a result, Latino social scientists face what they call "Drain and Strain." This refers to the increased administrative and committee responsibilities given to Latino junior faculty, responsibilities which are higher than for other groups of scholars In addition, Latino faculty are typically given joint appointments in their discipline and in Latino or Chicano studies. Because most Latino faculty are untenured this results in heavy teaching and advising responsibilities along with larger aministrative burdens. "Drain and Strain" also results in a heavy turn-over and burn-out rate among Latino faculty.

Many Latino social scientists feel a lack of support in their home departments partly because of split appointments and a perception that this results in split allegiance to the discipline. Additionally, it was generally agreed that there is a lack of respect or legitimacy given to Chicano/Latino studies by colleagues who do not recognize this research as legitimate inquiry.


The participating scholars unanimous]y agreed upon the following recommendations to remedy the current problems in the social science fields:

  • Establish a Latino-oriented curriculum to address the issue of legitimacy by creating courses in the field.

  • Establish programs that address the needs of Latino students. The Chicano-Boricua Studies at Wayne State University and the Latin American Recruitment and Education Service (LARES) at the University of Illinois at Chicago are superb examples which use staff to ensure students survive and that support programs are integrated into the academic program.

  • Develop a pipeline in the Midwest that deals with the high rate of faculty turnover. The Midwest is home to prominent and prestigious institutions which can produce Midwest Latino sholars who are more likely to stay in the Midwest.

  • Find institutional support in the disciplines and university-wide to gain support from our academic peers

  • Distribute service on departmental, college, and university committees to lessen the strain on Latino faculty.

  • Hire additional faculty and provide them with mentoring and faculty development programs to ensure that they remain in Midwest institutions.

  • Providc release time for research and pretenure preparation.

  • Develop an MCLR network to provide financial and professional support during the pre-tenure faculty phase.
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    Last Updated: March 11, 1996