Category Archives: News

Luis Jiménez: Artwork in Denver

Horse500[1]by Dr. Eric Castillo

Luis Jiménez was a titan in the art world; his monumental sculptures and poignant lithographs reveal his commitment for a shared humanity as well as provide a platform for his social and artistic agendas. Jiménez’s art combined European artistic practices and Chicana/o vernacular aesthetics. His innovative use of fiberglass materials and archetypal themes position his unique perspective within formalized discussions in art history. His ability to cross over into the American art scene enabled him to cross borders historically closed off to artists of color.

Jiménez’s art critically examined regional and national politics and offered an understanding about American art that is hybrid, differential, and contingent, rather than pure or monolithic. Differentiated by his style politics and motivated by his sociocultural interventions, Jiménez authored unique methods that engaged with contemporary time.

In 1991, Jiménez was offered a commission by the Denver International Airport to complete a sculpture that would reflect the life and experiences of the Southwest. Initially designed for Terminal C inside of the airport, Jiménez proposed a large-scale version of a mustang; he felt the sculpture would pay tribute to this country’s historic relationship with the horse:

What I’ve proposed for Denver is a mustang scenic overlook. I am also proposing a series of plaques tracing the history of the American mustang from the original reintroduction of the horse by the Spaniards, to the Indian pony that they developed from the mustang, then the American cow pony and quarter horse that was developed from mustangs (1994 160).

Designed to frame downtown Denver, Pike’s Peak, and the mountains, Mesteño would have signified a magnificent accomplishment for Jiménez. Completing a monumental piece at a public venue meant he would leave his mark in the art world.

As the largest public artwork of his career, the 32-foot bucking bronco titled Mesteño was designed to be free standing on its hind two legs. Mesteño’s electric blue color, fiery red light bulb eyes, and black veins would course its body, towering over the mile-high landscape while framing the electric sunset and the Colorado Rockies.

In a 1999 interview for ARTLIES magazine, Jiménez informed interviewer Susie Kalil the prospects of such a tremendous commission, stating he was experiencing burnout from the DIA project. “We all have burnout…” Jiménez stated; “And I have burnout, especially on these large pieces. I have a piece that I haven’t delivered for Denver. I keep asking myself why it’s taking so long to do it” (56). Jiménez’s older age and blindness in his left eye were of primary concern: “I’m not as strong as I used to be! And I don’t have the energy to go three days in a row without sleep like I used to!” (ibid).

On June 13th, 2006 Jiménez passed away in the midst of completing the Mesteño. Pressed for time, Jiménez attempted to complete the torso but the massive piece had little structural support without the crane. In one swift movement, the sculpture fell off the metal structure, crushing Jiménez against the reinforcement bar. Writhing in agony, he called out for help; the two assistants rushed to him, pushing the fiberglass sculpture aside. Jiménez was rushed off to Lincoln County Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead (Rancho las Voces 2006). News of his death spread quickly as his family, friends, and art community mourned the loss of one of the most significant American artists of our time. Memorial services across the country honored Jiménez, celebrating the success of a passion artist whose vision enlightened and transformed the visual iconography of U.S. culture.

On February 11, 2008 Mesteño was installed along Peña Boulevard in a private ceremony where art collectors, journalists, politicians, and Jiménez’s family gathered to celebrate the monument. Portrayed by many as Luis Jiménez’s crowing achievement, Mesteño signified a large-scale intervention in the field of Western art. But artist Luis Jiménez’s true crowning achievement was not in one single piece of art, but in the cadre of art he created that helped redefine American art and identity.

Unwelcomed and unappreciated by many Denver residents and art critics for its “apocalyptic, devilish” look and its extremely high price tag, Mesteño was also praised and celebrated by communities across Denver and the Southwest for its revisionism. Luis Jiménez saw something much greater than just a blue mustang when he created the sculpture; this monument memorialized an important actor in creating the U.S. West.

A Chicano artist who successfully crossed over into the American art world, Luis Jiménez profoundly influenced the Pop art scene, Chicana/o art, U.S. sculpture, and Western iconography. Raised in a life that was surrounded by borders–geographical, cultural, political, and social–he was able to produce images that transcended these borders and showed the intercultural, transnational history of his life and the United States. Unafraid of the consequences of transgressing these borders, Luis Jiménez made it acceptable for people to understand American identity as something hybrid and ever changing.

Eric Castillo picDr. Eric Castillo is the Assistant Dean and Campus Director for the School of Professional and Continuing Studies at Springfield College in Houston, Tejas. As a social justice educator and administrator, Dr. Castillo works on narrowing the achievement gap between historically disenfranchised populations and higher education.

NACCS Members Receive PODER Award

Angela Valenzuela and Emilio Zamora received the 2016 Cesar E. Chavez – “Si, Se Puede” Award from the People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources (PODER). The distinction is given to individuals who demonstrate community leadership and whose work honors the legacy of Chavez’ civil rights and labor activism.

PODER, a grassroots organization devoted to addressing environmental issues, seeks to frame those issues as matters of social and economic justice. The organization is specifically focused on increasing participation of communities of color in corporate and government decision-making.

A reception in honor of the award and its recipients will be held Saturday, March 26, at the Emma Barrientos Mexican American Culture Center in Austin.


NACCS Elections for 2016-17, Candidate Statements

Voting for new Board members ends  Monday, March 21, 2016 at 900 AM PST

Here are the Candidate Statements:


Tereza M. Szeghi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Comparative Literature and Social Justice
Director of Graduate Studies, Department of English
University of Dayton
Dayton, OhioBecause my scholarship and activism are deeply interconnected, I was attracted as a young scholar of Chicano literature to NACCS—an interdisciplinary organization that makes clear in so many ways that the value of the work we do is measured by its impact on the Chicana/o community.Since attending my first NACCS conference in 2009, I have sought ways of contributing to the important work of the organization and serving the NACCS membership and the communities NACCS represents. I have been fortunate enough to have been given multiple opportunities to do so. I was the Midwest Foco Representative from 2009-2012, during which time I worked closely with our members to plan our local contributions to the 2012 conference in Chicago—which led not just to some incredible programming, such as the performance of Teatro Luna at the Noche de Cultura, but also energized our Foco and spurred future collaborations. Then as an At-Large Representative from 2012 to 2014, I was able to learn much more about the structure of the organization, develop relationships with NACCS members throughout the country, and learn about some of the best emerging scholarship and activism offered by the candidates for the Frederick A. Cervantes Premio and the Antonia I. Castañeda Prize. I continue to serve on the Castañeda Prize Committee.I would bring to the position of chair-elect not just passionate commitment to the mission of the organization but also a proven ability to work effectively and efficiently in collaboration with the NAACS board and membership, along with the ability to lead and offer new ideas while also being responsive to the concerns and recommendations of those I work with and for. I am excited about crafting new ways of thinking about how the social sciences, arts, humanities, and STEM fields can collectively advance Chicana/o activism against racism, xenophobia, institutional violence, and the continued colonization of the indigenous people of Mexico and the United States.

José Angel Hernández, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, History
University of HoustonJosé Angel Hernández has been a member of NACCS for almost 20 years, or since 1997, when he first attended a conference in Mexico City. At the annual meeting in Chicago in March of 2002, he was awarded the Cervantes Graduate Premio for a paper that eventually grew into a dissertation abstract, and then onto an award-winning monograph titled Mexican American Colonization during the Nineteenth Century: A History of the US-Mexico Borderlands (Cambridge University Press, 2012).  From 2012-2014, Professor Hernández served on the National Board of NACCS as National Secretary and hopes to continue his support of NACCS by outlining a simple yet dynamic vision if given the honor of serving as its National President.According to the official history of NACCS, “In 1972, at the annual meeting of the Southwestern Social Science Association held in San Antonio, Texas, Chicano faculty and students active in the American Sociological Association, American Anthropological Association and the American Political-Science Association came together to discuss the need for a national association of Chicana/o scholar activists. Discussions culminated in a proposal to establish the National Caucus of Chicano Social Scientists (NCCSS).”Since that time, NACCS has been renamed, reshaped, and ultimately revitalized in its own respective socio-historical context; however, in order to continue that dynamism that has so animated previous generations, my vision for the future of NACCS is to return to BOTH the “Social” and the “Science” back into our methodologies, approaches, and interrogations of the many facets of Mexican American life. If elected, my vision for the future of NACCS will be to encourage those earlier approaches back into our conference themes; but also equally important, to begin building the foundations to reach out to a new generation of scholars, intellectuals, and leaders that are properly informed about the issues that impact each and everyone of us.  To do so, I propose that these foundations include STEM.According to almost any popular definition, “STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education…STEM is an interdisciplinary and applied approach that is coupled with hands-on, problem-based learning.”  This exact same definition of interdisciplinary and applied approach is understood, applied, and practiced in EVERY Mexican American Studies Department across the nation.  In other words, our goals are the same, and my efforts will therefore be to facilitate these exchanges in cooperative and meaningful ways with like-minded organizations that are already involved in our communities.But what does it mean to promote STEM education when we are experiencing the largest mass expulsion of Mexicans and Central Americans in US history?  Any discussion of STEM should include another acronym: Stop The Expulsion of Migrants.  The Administration of Barack Obama has now deported close to 3 million migrants and another round of deportation raids were announced for the New Year. The deportation of millions of migrants under the administrations of G.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were even higher, and everyday talk of deporting another 10 million has now become common, especially during the Republican primaries. What role do Science, Technology, Engineering and Math have in ameliorating the current situation, or is STEM not concerned with the political, the social, or the human? Can STEM, therefore, stem the tide of mass deportations to include its other, multiple meanings?Thank you very much for your kind attention and I hope to have your support.


José Angel Hernández Carrillo


Jennie Luna, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor Chicana/o Studies
California State University, Channel IslandsAs a candidate for Secretary my vision for NACCS is that it will continue to document its growth as a national organization that carries the tradition of scholar activism. My goal is to help train and mentor the next generation of Chicana/o Studies scholars and NACCSistas, as well as to continue to produce my own scholarship to share and receive feedback/mentorship with my colleagues.  I am an advocate for the incorporation of Indigenous perspectives and representation within NACCS and in our discipline as a whole.I have been a member of NACCS since 1996. I served as the NACCS National Student Representative as an undergraduate when the leadership team was differently structured. I have benefitted from  NACCS by receiving student fellowships as a graduate student.  I have been an active member and participant yearly at the conference.  I am currently an Assistant Professor in Chicana/o Studies at CSU Channel Islands and have recently become a life-time member of NACCS. I have served as the Indigenous Caucus representative for 3 years. I was the recipient the Antonia Castañeda Prize in 2014. I have been actively involved in ensuring that Indigenous perspectives are incorporated into the conference and am committed to bringing undergraduate students to the conference to carry on the legacy of NACCS.  Since having a permanent position I have organized students to go to NACCS because I believe in the benefit of NACCS to inspire students to continue their education.I seek your vote for Secretary.  In this capacity I have the opportunity to work with the executive committee of NACCS to ensure communication though minutes and reports.  I value the role of the secretary in keeping records and also in ensuring member participation in all areas of NACCS.

Aureliano Maria DeSoto, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies
Metropolitan State UniversityI currently serve as At-large representative to the NACCS Board (2014-2016). I have a long and varied history of involvement with NACCS, including participation in the Northern California Foco (1993-1995), presentations at the national conference (1996, 2010) and one regional conference (1994), as well as serving as site coordinator for the Northern California regional conference (1994). I was a plenary speaker at the 2015 conference, and as At-large representative, chaired the Cervantes Premio Award Committee (2015, 2016). I am a current member of the organization and of the Midwest Foco.I seek to continue my service to the organization in the role of Secretary. As At-large representative, I have been able to participate in and assist in the maintenance and governance of NACCS, bringing the concerns of our membership to the board as well as helping mentor undergraduate and graduate students through the Cervantes Premio, and helping the Board in its decision-making processes. As Secretary, I would continue to serve the membership and organization through assiduous attention to detail that is required of the Secretary position, and seek, through this service, to reflect the will of the membership in maintaining and disseminating resolutions at the annual conference, and maintaining an accurate record of rosters, minutes of Board meetings, and Board correspondence. My work as department chair of Ethnic and Religious Studies at Metropolitan State University, as well as my past service as co-coordinator of the Gender Studies Program at Metropolitan State, has given me the critical skills to fulfill the role of Secretary.


At-Large Representatives

José Flores
Ph.D. Candidate, Spanish
School of International Letters and Cultures
Arizona State UniversityI have been a member of NACCS and have consistently presented at the NACCS National Conferences since 2012. I also served as Rocky Mountain Foco Representative from 2013 to 2015.My introduction to NACCS came as a Masters student when I presented at the 2012 NACCS Tejas Foco Regional Conference in San Marcos. There, I was immediately captivated by all of the presentations in various disciplines that emphasized Chicana and Chicano topics. I felt an unexplainable familiarity and sense of community with everyone in attendance and more so, when Chicana and Chicano scholars engaged students like myself and encouraged us to continue our scholarship and become actively involved in the organization. As a result, at the concluding Business Meeting, I volunteered as a committee member of the Premio Estrella de Aztlán Lifetime Achievement Award to be presented at the following Tejas Foco Conference.This early experience allowed me to witness firsthand the power and importance of community and collaboration of our NACCS membership. I am convinced that community and collaboration are the driving factors of this organization. As RM Foco Representative, I sought to further develop these strengths in the region. I hope to continue to promote and work towards sustaining these collaborative relationships with NACCS Members, Caucus Chairs, Foco Reps, NACCS Committees, and National Board with my candidacy for At-Large Representative.

Brenda Valles, Ph.D.
Director for Research & Assessment, Office of Equity & Diversity
University of UtahI grew up in a small farming community at the southern point of the Salinas Valley in California and attended California State University of Monterey Bay, about four years after it was opened.  I learned about the importance of reciprocity and nurturing the community of which you are a product.  I realized then how important it was for me to use my skills to support my community.  Therefore all the work and projects I have participated in have focused on achieving this goal –  to serve my community  and to strengthen it.  I completed an MA in Education, Culture and Society and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy, both at the University of Utah.  My scholarly interests are Chicana/o academic access and success in relation to existing policies. Specifically, I  looked at the school-to-prison pipeline and the long-term educational implications for Chicana/o students.  Currently I work as the Director for Research & Assessment for the Office for Equity & Diversity at the University of Utah.  I am very excited and enthusiastic about being a candidate for At-Large Rep for NACCS. I want to reciprocate and offer support to an organization that has benefited me so much.Involvement in NACCS
I first learned about NACCS while I was an undergrad at California State University Monterey Bay from my Chicana/o mentors who primarily came from the  Chicana/o Latina/o Staff and Faculty Association (CLSFA). I attended the regional foco meetings with my  mentors in the early 2000’s.  Since then, I have participated in conferences as a member of NACCS and presented in the conferences throughout graduate school.  I have attended the NACCS conferences of 2006 in Guadalajara, 2011 in Pasadena, 2013 in San Antonio, and brought a group of students to present in the 2014 Salt Lake City conference.  This year I will be presenting at the Denver conference.  NACCS has been an intellectual home that I connected with in ways the academy can never fulfill.  It is for this reason that I wish to be an At-Large Rep so that I may communicate with future and current Chicana and Chicano students and scholars.Candidate Statement
I am running for At-Large Rep in an effort to support NACCS Focos and Caucuses.  As an organization NACCS has provided me much needed reinforcement and guidance as a student and emerging scholar.  I believe At-Large Reps have the important role of supporting our membership through the Focos and caucuses. The importance of these positions lies in the power of communication, transparency, and engagement.  I commit to support Foco regions and Caucuses as a strong liaison between the board and the broader NACCS community.  My vision for NACCS is that it continues to be the intellectual space it has been since 1972.  I recognize that NACCS is a space that transcends the academic and scholarly work it successfully organizes around, and that this space also serves many members with the ability to be their whole selves “entre comunidad” where we find spaces of confidence, solidarity and visibility.  In other words, I envision NACCS as an organization that we can collectively acknowledge and embrace for its importance as an academic organization that serves members in various unique ways and, as such, fosters this structure.  Understanding the value of NACCS means participating in the support of the organization.  I commit to being present for, available to, and active to ensure communication is open and our organization is supported.  I appreciate your support and vote.

At-large Representative

Alexandro Gradilla, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies
California State University, Fullerton
Candidate StatementIf elected for the At-Large Representative for the NACCS I would provide leadership and vision on key institutional levels that would serve and benefit our members and departments they belong to.  I would like to create databases and encourage the development at workshops/roundtables at the NACCS specifically to address the “battle ground” within higher education namely preparing departments and faculty to develop outcome based education and models of “student success” that align with and adhere to Chicana/o Studies. The database would consist of student learning outcomes, syllabi, assignments, exams, new program/degree proposals, examples of high impact practices, mission/vision statements, etc. as submitted by NACCS members with expertise or experience in this area.Though the NACCS would not have the role of an accreditor—the organization needs to step in as an advocate for new programs, departments, majors, or graduate degree programs.  Furthermore, I want to develop institutional support and recognition for teacher-scholars in the teaching intensive universities and community college.  Most of our students and faculty are located in these types of institutions—I propose the development of support around pedagogy and tactical types of support to help our colleagues who are attempting to make a difference at their institutions.And finally I want to develop a national strategy regarding the Ethnic Studies in the K-12 movement.  It is critical we get involved and shape the curriculum being proposed and not leave it to non-expert teachers or administrators to develop curriculum that has the potential to impact our discipline.QualificationsI have been a member of the NACCS since 1990 while I was an undergraduate.  My BA degrees were in Chicana/o Studies and Anthropology from UC Berkeley; my MA in Anthropology (medical anthropology) from the University of Michigan; and my PhD in Ethnic Studies (Chicana/o Studies and Medical Anthropology) from UC Berkeley.  My research and publication areas are rooted in many intellectual traditions of Chicana/o Studies.  I led the effort to rebuild my department at CSU Fullerton for the last 7 years and the last 5 ½ as chair of the department.  I know the amazing work this discipline can have on our students who find our classes through social networks on campus or by mere luck finding our class in the schedule of classes.  In addition to being a teacher scholar and advocate, I am most proud of my work with students.  The power of Chicana/o Studies is what Laura Rendon calls “validation theory”—where our students have a profound intellectual experience because of the pedagogy and the ways in which the faculty midwives the process of combining the student’s personal experience with their university training.

Alfredo Carlos, Ph.D.
Department of Political Science and Chicano Latino Studies
California State University, Long BeachI seek the position of At-Large Rep to build on the work of previous colleagues in communicating with the membership of NACCS activities, scholarship, and the politics that impact Chican@ Studies and Chican@ community in general. NACCS offers Chican@ scholars and activists the professional space to engage in the academic debates on issues confronting Chican@ communities.  As stated by NACCS preamble, “ideas must be translated into political action in order to foster change.” It is this philosophy rooted in action research, or research with a purpose, that I seek to continue as an At-Large Rep of NACCS. My vision for NACCS is to work with the Focos and the Caucuses to help them grow so that they can carry out the day-to-day mission of NACCS in their regional locations. In this time of growing inequality, we as Chican@ scholars must be at the forefront of engaging in scholarshipwith communities so that together we can tackle these issues in a way that helps people improve their quality of life and allows them to live with dignity.Candidate Biography
I am a faculty member in the departments of Political Science and Chicano Latino Studies at California State University, Long Beach. My interests revolve around understanding inequality in the U.S. and through praxis, organizing alternative economies that empower working communities. In particular I have a specialization in political economy with a focus in economic democracy, which consists in part of worker ownership, workplace and community democracy.  I have published in the Ethnicities Journal (2015), Latin American Perspectives (2013) and  the Publicación Oficial. Eventos Sociedad Cubana de Investigaciones Filosóficas (SCIF).  Havana, Cuba (2012).  I am a co-author with Rodolfo D. Torres and Armando Ibarra for a forthcoming book entitled The Latino Question in Neoliberal Capitalism (Pluto Press, 2017).My Ph.D.  is in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine where I specialized in American Politics (Racial and Urban Politics) and Political Theory (Political Economy). I earned an M.A. in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach with a focus in Comparative Politics and International Relations and my B.A. is in History and Chicano Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.   A key experience for me in Chicana and Chicano Studies was being a conference organizer in 1999 of “El Plan and Chicano Studies: Power, Resistance and Social Change, 30 years of Chicano/a Studies” held at UCSB.I am the founder and executive director for the Long Beach based Foundation for Economic Democracy that seeks to work towards an expansion of an economy that is rooted in people over profits, especially in Latino communities and communities of color. The Foundation’s mission is to create democratically governed community projects and worker owned businesses where workers, their families and their communities can all thrive and live with dignity. My research and community work are largely driven by my personal experience. I immigrated to Los Angeles as a young child with my parents and older sister. My father worked as clerk at Sav-On and my mother worked at a Garment factory until they retired. Having grown up in a barrio influenced me to understand the politics of power and inequality.  These experiences have driven my research and community organizing interests.NACCS Experience
I have been involved off and on with NACCS since 2003 as a conference participant while finishing up my BA at UCSB. Since then I have been a member of the association, and presenter at the national conferences 2011, 2014 and 2015.  I serve as the Southern California Foco representative (2014-2016).  I appreciate your vote.




Tejas FOCO holds 2016 Regional Conference at Lone Star College

tejas foco program cover The 2016 Tejas FOCO held their regional conference at Lone Star College in Kingwood, Tejas. The 2016 theme, “Preserving Traditions, Stories, Customs, and Values, of the Mexican and Mexican American Community,” brought FOCO members out in force to the three-day conference. Panels focused from Nuevas Perspectivas:Reimaging Raza Gender Perceptions to Mi Vida, Mi Voz: Multimedia Narrative from the Puente Project in Bayton. Professor Juan Tejada lead the discussion on the current state of Mexican American Studies on Pre-K-12th grade in Tejas. The conference ended with the closing plenary on the Past and Future: The Growth of NACCS Tejas FOCO Conference over the years. FOCO members from South Texas College, Northwest Vista College, Texas State University, and University of North Texas lent their expertise on the future of the Tejas FOCO conference.

Tejas FOCO 2016 Award Winners:

2016 Letras de Aztlán Community Award, Dr. Guadalupe San Miguel, University of Houston

2016 NACCS Tejas Award for Young Adult Fiction, René S. Perez II,
“Seeing Off the Johns”
published by Cinco Puntos Press

2016 NACCS Tejas Non-Fiction Book Award, George T. Díaz, “Border Contraband:
A History of Smuggling across the Rio Grande” published by UT Press

2016 NACCS Tejas Poetry Book Award, Natalie Scenters-Zapico, “The Verging Cities” published by the Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University

2016 NACCS Tejas Fiction Award, Robert Paul Moreira, “Scores” published by Broken River Books

2016 Tejas Foco Dissertation Award, Sandra D. Garza, “Güeras y prietas: Remembering Lived Experiences with Colorism Through History and Ethnoplática” University of Texas-San Antonio

Luis A. Torres Selected as 2016 NACCS Scholar

Luis A. Torres, Ph.DIMG_6554. has been involved in NACCS for many years, contributing to the development of this organization, serving as the NACCS national Chair for two years in 1992 and 1993, for which he helped lead the NACCS submission of an amicus brief against the anti-Gay Rights Amendment 2 in Colorado, voted upon by referendum and decided favorably by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1996. He was also instrumental in the formation of the K-12 Caucus.

Luis A. Torres, Ph.D. is an activist scholar. He has received several academic recognitions including a Ford Foundation Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, and a California Arts Council Award.  He has received several awards including Outstanding Faculty Award from the University of Southern Colorado in 1994, Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award at then- Metropolitan State College in 2003, the LARASA Bernie Valdez Education Award from the Latin American Research and Service Agency in 2002, and the Cesar Chavez Leadership Award in Denver in 2002, among others.  He has twice received the Ally of the Year award from the tri-institutional Auraria Higher Education Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Alliance.

Luis A. Torres, Ph.D., has served as Deputy Provost for Academic and Student Affairs at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD) since 2008 and previously as Associate Dean in the School of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.  He has been Co-Chair of MSU Denver’s Hispanic Serving Institution Initiative since 2007, helping increase Hispanic student enrollment from approximately 13% in 2008 to 22% in 2015, toward the goal of 25%.  He helped lead the effort for MSU Denver, as the only institution in Colorado to do so and few if any nationally, to develop a tuition structure in 2012 to allow undocumented students to pay a reduced rate, substantially less than half of out-of-state tuition, before Colorado in 2013 passed the ASSET Bill for in-state tuition. He serves currently on the national College Board’s SAT Writing Test Development Committee.  Among other examples of community involvement, Dr. Torres has served on the Board of Denver’s Latino Education Coalition, and he chaired Denver Public School’s Hispanic Education Advisory Council, serving as Principal Investigator at MSU Denver of a partnership Goals 2000 Grant with Denver Public Schools to establish the El Alma de la Raza Curriculum and Teacher Development Project, which created more than 80 curriculum units in multicultural studies.

NACCS Immigrant Student Becas

by Armando Ibarra, At-Large Rep, NACCS Becas Committee Chair

Since 2008 NACCS has supported immigrant students by providing financial awards to help them pay their academic dreams. This year, the committee selected 6 students to receive the Immigrant Student Beca, they are: Chantiri Ramírez Resendiz, a graduate student at UCLA, Griselda Madrigal Lara, Undergraduate student, Sonoma State University, Margarita García-Villa, MAS Graduate student, San José State University, Marisela Hernández, Undergraduate student, Chico, State University, Gabriela E. Zamora-Muñoz, Undergraduate Student, University of Utah.

The Beca is supported by NACCS and through donations from our members. Consider making a donation today, go to the following LINK.

The Antonia I. Castañeda Prize Enters Its Fifth Year

by Linda Heidenreich, Chair, Antonia I. Castañeda Prize Committee

It was just five years ago when Dr. Arturo Madrid and five esteemed scholars, Emma Pérez, Deena González, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Tomás Ybarra-Frausto and Dudley Brooks came together to honor the work of Antonia I. Castañeda by founding a scholarly award in her honor. In order to do justice to such an award it needed to do more than honor scholarly excellence. It needed to do so in such a way that supported independent scholars, pre-tenure scholars and advanced graduate students. It needed to help build the field of Chicana History, and to encourage interdisciplinary and cutting-edge gendered work.

For the past five years the award has done just that. Building on Dr. Castañeda’s legacy of “enGendering history,” editors and mentors have nominated the articles of Chicana, Latina, and Indigenous/Native women scholars whose work brings new and nuanced gendered analysis to our histories. Last year, thanks to the hard work of past recipients – especially Dr. Jenny Luna — we were able to host a roundtable at the national conference. This is something we hope to be able to do every 3-4 years in celebration of the innovative and exceptional work with which Chicana, Latina, and Indigenous/Native women scholars continue to build the fields of Chicana History and Chican@ Studies.

The 2015 roundtable highlighted the cutting-edge gendered history young scholars are producing today. Dr. Cindy Cruz shared from her work “LGBT Street Youth Talk Back,” where building upon the work of María Lugones, she focused our attention on oppositional struggle in “the smallest of spaces” arguing that when we fail to see resistance in small spaces/tight spaces, we are unable to see the resistance enacted by LGBT street youth, especially LGBT street youth of color. Dr. Vanessa Fonseca’s shared excerpts from her award winning paper, “Rosaura Sánchez, Crítica Marxista y Máxima Expresión del la Jolla Circle,” highlighting the consistency and complexity of Dr. Rosaura Sanchez’s work in linguistics and in Chicana/o literature. Throughout her talk, as throughout her article, Fonseca used the very tools for which she praised Sánchez, bringing a deep and layered historical context to her discussion of material analysis, linguistics and literature. Finally Dr. Jenny Luna discussed her work on Danza, “La Tradición Conchera,” highlighting the plurality of ways in which Danza is praxis challenging colonial culture and power, and at times, patriarchal discourse.

Those of you who attended NACCS 2015 will remember that it was Belinda Linn Rincón, with her article “Estas Son Mis Armas”: Lorna Dee Cervantes’ Poetics of Feminist Solidarity in the Era of Neoliberal Militarism,” who was last year’s recipient of the Castañeda Prize. Dr. Rincón’s article, in its historically grounded critical methodology, is a fine example of intersectional, interdisciplinary and feminist scholarship at its best. Its bold challenge to neo-liberalism also asks difficult questions of our own transfronterista feminist literature. If you have not yet had a chance to read it, don’t miss out (WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 42: 3&4).

I encourage you to be on the look out for independent or pre-tenure faculty women (or ABD graduate students) in your departments who will publish their work this year and nominate them for the award. The prize seeks to honor innovative work, to promote the work of new and emerging Chicana, Latina, and Indigenous/Native women scholars and, equally important, to build on the legacy of Antonia I. Castañeda, who taught our generation to gender our work, to challenge disciplinary boundaries, and to publish work that matters. Go to the NACCS website to find more information about nominating a colleague’s article for the Antonia I. Castañeda Prize.

See you in Colorado.



Dr. Stephanie Alvarez, NACCS Member, Receives Professor of the Year

By Jennifer L. Berghom

Courtesy of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Award Ceremony Dr. Stephanie AlvarezRIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – NOV. 19, 2015 – Dr. Stephanie Alvarez, an associate professor of Mexican American Studies at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, has been named a U.S. Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Alvarez is the first faculty member in The University of Texas System to receive the national award, and is one of just four national recipients this year.

“It’s something that is an honor not just for myself, but for all my students, for the entire university community and my entire family – mostly because all of my teaching is grounded in my students,” Alvarez said. “It’s grounded in the community, and I draw from them. They’re my inspiration for everything that I do.”

Alvarez joined UTRGV’s legacy institution, UT Pan American, in 2006. Among her accomplishments are helping redesign the Mexican American studies program, and developing the Cosecha Voices project with the late Latino poet Tato Laviera. The project provided training to migrant students in the K-12 public school systems on creative writing assignments about their experiences working as migrant farmers with their families.

Dr. Ala Qubbaj, UTRGV vice provost for Faculty Affairs and Diversity, said the recognition is well-deserved.

“We are very proud that one of our UTRGV faculty members, Dr. Stephanie Alvarez, has been named as one of the most outstanding college professors in undergraduate education nationwide,” Qubbaj said. “This significant recognition clearly reflects on the high caliber of our UTRGV faculty and the exceptional educational experiences they are providing to our students. Through her excellence in teaching, student engagement and mentoring, Dr. Alvarez has positively impacted the lives of so many students and their ability to succeed in college and beyond, which is central to UTRGV’s mission and focus.”

Alvarez might draw inspiration from her students, but those students say she is their inspiration.

Arnulfo Daniel Segovia, a graduate student in the Mexican American Interdisciplinary Studies program at UTRGV, said Alvarez is highly commitment to her students. “As an educator, she’s able to challenge us to grow as students and human beings, and to give us this intellectually nurturing experience in the classroom,” he said. “She is more than a mentor. She’s more like a mentor and a good friend who is always there for you, to give you direction and guidance.”

Claudia Razo, another UTRGV graduate student in Mexican American Interdisciplinary Studies, said Alvarez has guided her throughout her undergraduate and graduate experience, from advising her on which courses to take, to encouraging her to continue her studies into the master’s program. “She was the one who inspired me to do it. I wanted to finish with my bachelor’s degree and that was it,” Razo said. “She said I could do it. She kept telling me to move forward and apply.” Razo took the advice to heart. “She’s become a huge part of my life, because she’s been such an inspiration to me,” she said.

Conducted by CASE and sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the national awards recognize professors for their influence on teaching and commitment to undergraduate students, according to a CASE news release. In addition to the four national winners, 35 faculty members were named state Professors of the Year. CASE began the awards program in 1981.  National and state winners of the 2015 U.S. Professors of the Year awards were honored today, Nov. 19, 2015, at a luncheon and awards ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.