It is my distinct pleasure, as the founding Director of the new Latina/Latino Studies (LLS) Program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, to welcome you to our website. We have completed the program's inaugural year, and we look forward to another productive and exciting year ahead. I am happy to announce that Professor Norma Cantu, formerly of the University of Texas-San Antonio, will join the Latina/Latino Studies Program in January 2013. Her teaching interests include Chicana/o and Latina/o literature and film, cultural studies, border studies, and folklore and women's studies. While our program is still new and in development, the idea for the creation of Latina/Latino Studies originated several years ago with the commencement of discussions between the UMKC administration and the Chicano/Hispanic/Latino/Mexican communities of the greater Kansas City region. These important dialogues stimulated the creation and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Chancellor's Hispanic Advisory Board on June 24, 2009. An important outcome was the inauguration of this academic program Fall 2011. Please read my 2011-2012 report to Provost Gail Hackett for a summary of the first year's activities and accomplishments.
Our program seeks to maintain and strengthen our communication and ties with the Latino community in the greater Kansas City metropolitan region and even beyond. This university-community collaboration is vital if the program is to make a difference. We hope to build a Latina/Latino Studies program that UMKC can support and showcase and, just as importantly, a program in which the Latino community can take pride and desire to send their daughters and sons to this university for a quality education. One of the primary goals of this website is to communicate on an on-going basis with our community, both internal and external. We want to disseminate information that is timely and informative about the activities occurring within our Latina/Latino Studies program, as well as the activities of other academic and non-academic units within UMKC which impact Latina/o faculty, staff, and students.
This website is “ours” and that includes Latinas/Latinos and non-Latinas/Latinos, as well as the communities within and outside of our university. I welcome your comments and suggestions; we will only improve our communication and effectiveness with your input.
¡Adelante siempre adelante!
Miguel A. Carranza, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology & Latina/Latino Studies
Director, Latina/Latino Studies Program