MARCH 9, 2015
FIU's Engineers Wheels MFA Program foron Innovators
VOLUME 25 â€˘ NUMBER 11
CEORates of Social Driver Latino Graduation Propelled
Venezuela: The Beautiful, the Bad and the Ugly By Carlos D. Conde
enezuela is known for having some of the most beautiful women in the world. They have won seven Miss Universe titles. It also has some of the most aesthetic landscapes of mountains, plains and sea in Latin America. Christopher Columbus called it a “land of grace” and reported to his Spanish patrons, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, that he must have reached “heaven on earth.” Venezuela, indeed, is a spectacular land with beautiful people. I basked in its hospitality and amenities when I lived in Caracas as a foreign correspondent in the late 1960s when it celebrated its Cuartocentenario (400th) anniversary, a yearround bacchanal of ceremonies and fiestas. Things of late are pretty ugly, figuratively speaking, in Venezuela. Despite having the largest petroleum resources in the world with 297 billion of proven reserves, surpassing Saudi Arabia’s 265 billion, Venezuela is on the verge of bankruptcy, socially and economically and maybe even politically, a calamity hard to imagined yet not surprising. Venezuela may be awash in oil but there’s currently a world glut, thus having the effect of depleting the country’s financial resources. While the price of oil dropped precipitously, Venezuela was left burdened with the social extravagances of its recently departed leader, Hugo Chavez. Venezuela’s natural resources should make it the envy of the world and its people economically comfortable, but not with some dubious national leaders and political scoundrels that have brought an unusual abundance of social hardships. Most of its history has been one of political demagogues and military caudillos tormenting its people, plundering the treasury and at times threatening the nation with chaotic penury. Earlier this year, President Nicolas Maduro, who has been maligned and ridiculed because of his bus driver background, but which later led to labor leader activities and his ascension in national politics, seemed overwhelmed by the economic confrontations. He became the confident of the late “people’s president”, former military strongman, Hugo Chavez, who picked Maduro as his vice president and heir apparent when Chavez fell ill, probably because Maduro seemed the least threatening to Chavez’s politics. There were other potential wannabes like the current president of Venezuela’s congress, Diosdado Cabello, who wanted Maduro’s job, and still does, but was bypassed by Chavez. So Cabello stands by, opportunely, and for now, apparently loyal.
Conspiracies abound in Maduro’s regime. In January, the former bodyguard to Cabello defected to the U.S. Once a member of President Maduro’s security detail, he supposedly knows plenty about alleged illicit activities among the political elite. If truth be told, the U.S. has been known to carry out rogue activities in disfavored Latin American countries but economic destabilization for Venezuela doesn’t seem a good fit because of its energy ties. Maduro was indignant about this conspiracy talk, accusing Vice President Joe Biden of telling a recent meeting of Caribbean leaders that “the government of Venezuela was going to fall.” Biden’s office responded that “President Maduro’s accusations are patently false and are clearly part of an effort to distract from the concerning situation.” Not that the U.S. isn't involved in punitive actions against Venezuela. The Department of State said it is imposing visa restrictions on some current and former Venezuelan officials linked to human rights abuses or corruption Meanwhile, the Venezuelans are experiencing hardships they never thought would befall them like having to stand in long lines in food stores for the most basic commodities which, when not rationed, are not available. The paradox is while the ordinary folks are hustling food stuff and other essentials, the government is arresting business executives that President Maduro said were employing “guerrilla tactics” to further destabilize the economy. In the midst of all this, Maduro traveled to Russia, China and several OPEC countries seeking more financial advances and renegotiation of Venezuela’s highly leverage loans and, reportedly, was rebuffed by China. President Maduro also asked Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations, Ernesto Samper, to mediate improved relations between Venezuela and the U.S. He is asking Obama to “rectify and stop in time the coup plan (that would see) the destruction of Venezuela.” As Maduro said directly: “President Obama, I say this with goodwill. We hope you set a new and different tone with Venezuela.”
Carlos D. Conde, award-winning journalist and former Washington and foreign news correspondent, was a press aide in the Nixon White House. Write to him at CDConde@aol.com. HISPANIC OUTLOOK
MARCH 9, 2015
MARCH 9, 2015
Using Cultural Capital to Build the Hispanic Professoriate Pipeline by Frank DiMaria
FIU Introduces “Engineers on Wheels” to Promote STEM in Miami Schools by Gary M. Stern
STEPping Toward Success in Medicine by Jeff Simmons
by Jamaal Abdul-Alim
18 Cover: Fotolia
Social Driver Transforms Educational Data for Schools
Patricia Pérez Helps Organizations Avoid Missteps in the Workplace by Diana Saenger
MARCH 9, 2015
Published by “The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Publishing Company, Inc.”
Latino Kaleidoscope Venezuela: The Beautiful, the Bad and the Ugly by Carlos D. Conde
OWN IT!: Using the Entrepreneurial Mindset to Engage and Retain Students by Marvin Lozano and Miquela Rivera
Article Contributors Jamaal Abdul-Alim, Frank DiMaria, Marvin Lozano, Sylvia Mendoza, Miquela Rivera, Diana Saenger, Jeﬀ Simmons, Gary M. Stern Editorial Oﬃce 220 Kinderkamack Rd, Ste. E, Westwood, N.J. 07675 TEL (201) 587-8800 or (800) 549-8280
Targeting Higher Education Quo Vadis Affirmative Action? by Gustavo A. Mellander
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by Peggy Sands Orchowski
Back Priming the Pump cover Giving Latino Students a Sense of Adventure
by Miquela Rivera
Editorial Policy The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine® is a national magazine. Dedicated to exploring issues related to Hispanics in higher education, The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine®is published for the members of the higher education community. Editorial decisions are based on the editors’ judgment of the quality of the writing, the timeliness of the article, and the potential interest to the readers of The Hispanic Outlook Magazine®. From time to time, The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine® will publish articles dealing with controversial issues. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and/or those interviewed and might not reﬂect the oﬃcial policy of the magazine. The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine® neither agrees nor disagrees with those ideas expressed, and no endorsement of those views should be inferred unless speciﬁcally identiﬁed as oﬃcially endorsed by The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine®.
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MARCH 9, 2015
Using Cultural Capital
to Build the Hispanic Professoriate Pipeline By Frank DiMaria
nowing the difference between the dessert fork and the one used during the main course and knowing the proper way to greet someone are examples of cultural capital in its simplest form. Understanding how to complete the necessary forms to get into college and understanding that a personal statement is more than a biographical essay are examples of cultural capital in its most complex form. Institutions of higher education assume that all individuals possess cultural capital in its most complex form. “The reality is that some folks have access to this knowledge and have an understanding and others do not,” says Michelle M. Espino, PhD, assistant professor, student affairs concentration, department of counseling, higher education and special education at the University of Maryland. Some Hispanics, especially those who are firstgeneration, low-income college students, are, by no fault of their own, bankrupt of such knowledge. By contrast, the rich, privileged student, whose parents navigated the college admissions process years earlier, is ushered through the process by his wellheeled parents. Some even hire private counselors who walk them through. Students who do not have access to such resources, however, find themselves at a disadvantage, says Espino. In recent years the percentage of Hispanic faculty at America’s colleges has remained stagnant at 4 percent. Espino says Hispanics must do a better job of building the academic pipeline, and that begins with learning to leverage their cultural capital. All students, regardless of their ethnicity, background or socioeconomic status, bring cultural capital to their educational journey. “There are all different types of cultural capital and if we would actually spend time with undergrads to talk with them about how their experiences growing up actually are strengths, I think that can make a profound difference for them and they can realize that
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these are not deficits,” says Espino. K-12 education is based on standards that focus on dominant ideologies. Teachers are required to teach to these standards. However, Espino argues that there is a “hidden curriculum” that most educators all but refuse to teach. During the K-12 years all students learn what they can achieve as part of the American Dream. Unlike their white counterparts, however, students of color are exposed to curricula that are not inclusive of their specific cultures and do not affirm for them the cultural knowledge they’ve obtained.
Michelle M. Espino, PhD
PERSPECTIVES “They are learning history, but it isn’t always their history. They are not necessarily being empowered to understand their own cultural history. In some ways K-12 education often tries to assimilate students of color rather than allowing them to retain their cultural knowledge,” says Espino. As a general rule, all students are tracked academically, a practice that Espino says is an aspect of the hidden curriculum. For any number of reasons ESL and low-income students can lag behind their peers academically. Perfectly capable Hispanics are sometimes disqualified from gifted and talented and advanced placement programs. “If you don’t get tracked early enough into the college track, the chances of you being able to access college later decreases significantly,” says Espino. “Very often lowincome students and students of color get ushered into community colleges. And this may hurt their shot at getting into the professoriate pipeline.” Not all types of cultural capital are created equal. Certain forms are valued over others and can help or hurt one’s social mobility just like income or wealth do, according to Pierre Bourdieu who first theorized about cultural capital in 1973. When educators and institutions focus on and offer only the standard, dominant forms of cultural capital and ways of navigating higher education, communities of color lose
Very often low-income students and students of color get ushered into community colleges. And this may hurt their shot at getting into the professoriate pipeline.” Michelle M. Espino, PhD., assistant professor, department of counseling, higher education and special education at the University of Maryland.
Leslie D. Gonzáles, EdD
out, says Espino. “The reality is that they are not necessarily going to be able to access that knowledge. They’re not part of those communities, they’re not part of those generations and generations of people who have gone to college,” she says. Educators often harbor predetermined misconceptions about Hispanics, like they don’t value education and they lack knowledge about attending college. In 2005 Tara Yosso, associate professor, department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, advanced a theory that considers all assets an individual possesses, not just those valued by the general education community. She calls these assets community cultural wealth. Whether Hispanics realize it or not, their families and their communities provide them with cultural capital that is just as important and can be leveraged just as effectively as the cultural capital possessed by their white peers. For example, young, bilingual Hispanics are often called upon by their Spanish-speaking parents to act as intermediaries between their parents and bureaucracies. In that role they serve as both cultural and linguistic brokers, navigating the bureaucracies of HISPANIC OUTLOOK
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PERSPECTIVES everyday life. “Being able to code switch between languages is actually a real asset,” says Espino. “There are so many assets that the Latino community has that are devalued in general society because it’s not necessarily the most valued in the dominant culture.” The challenge that America’s educators face is teasing out and nurturing community cultural wealth in Hispanics and teaching them to leverage it. Luckily many proactive professors have developed effective strategies that meet this challenge. Leslie D. Gonzáles, EdD, assistant professor, educational leadership, Eugene T. Moore School of Education at Clemson University, grew up in rural New Mexico. “Where I lived we only got running water in our houses in 1995 or 96,” she says. Most would view this fact as a deficit. Gonzáles, however, teaches her graduate students that knowledge might appear to be a deficit on the surface, but in actuality can be leveraged into community cultural wealth – or as she calls it “funds of knowledge.” Before they had running water, she and members of her community had to gather water from a well, which acquainted them with the process. They understood the fundamental mechanics of gathering water – turning the crank and hauling the water back to their houses. Educators must nurture this
Often times Latino students go into college and they are looking for someone or something in the curriculum that is familiar and that reflects who they are… A lot of times that’s missing.” Leslie D. Gonzáles, EdD, assistant professor, educational leadership, Eugene T. Moore School of Education at Clemson University
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type of knowledge in the classroom. “That is a very specific form of knowledge that a science teacher or someone teaching engineering can tap into and allow the Hispanic students to be the knowers in the classroom,” says Gonzáles. As an associate professor Gonzáles teaches “Introduction to the PhD.” In that course she tirelessly searches for ways to encourage her students – teachers themselves – to dig and allow their Hispanic students to discuss their experiences and to frame those experiences as knowledge. “I try to be really intentional about the specifics of one’s history,” says Gonzáles. As a graduate of an HSI, Gonzáles has research interests in minority-serving institutions. While performing her research she encourages professors to tease out the funds of knowledge their Hispanic students possess. At one HSI in New Mexico she found a professor who is particularly adept at it. In one of his courses he makes his students dig through the water rights policies of the region so they understand the political framework of water rights and clean drinking water. His students interview family members, most of whom were raised in rural areas where fighting for water and keeping water clean has been a political battle for generations. “He allows them to learn how their families had to organize and how they gathered information or resources to fight that battle,” says Gonzáles. To increase equity and Hispanic representation in academics, Gonzáles threads works written by Hispanic scholars into her curriculum. Students in her Introduction to the PhD course read a book by Yosso that features critical counter stories from Chicano and Chicana students. “Often times Latino students go into college and they are looking for someone or something in the curriculum that is familiar and that reflects who they are, who their members are, what they do and how they grew up. A lot of times that’s missing,” says Gonzáles. At Clemson and in her research Gonzáles encourages professors and K-12 teachers to create faculty evaluation reward systems that encourage teachers to view their work differently. “We would like them to think about how they can tap into funds of knowledge that students of color, and particularly Hispanics, bring to the classroom,” she says. Firstgeneration college students and those who are the first in their families to earn a high school diploma bring with them unique knowledge and worldviews that are not necessarily embedded in the standard curriculum, says Gonzáles. To get more Hispanics in the professoriate pipeline, it is vitally important that Hispanics identify the funds of knowledge that they might not even know they have and tap those funds.
P TREOM S G RI A NM I T SI A T I V E S
“Engineers on Wheels” to Promote STEM in Miami Schools By Gary M. Stern
The awareness of engineering as a profession in the minority community isn’t there. Seeing minority role models turns the light bulb on in our heads that maybe that’s want I’d want to do.” Amir Mirmiran, dean of the FIU College of Engineering and Computing.
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STEM INITIATIVES t’s never too early to start motivating students to consider careers in engineering and other STEM majors. That’s the bottom-line of a new program launched at Miami-based Florida International University (FIU). Started in September 2014, Engineers on Wheels brought FIU engineering students who designed new products into two South Florida high schools to stimulate conversations about what it takes to become an engineer and the varied careers in that field. In 2015, Engineers on Wheels expects to broaden its scope and visit seven or eight high schools in South Florida. “Our goal is to get students excited about a career in engineering,” said Amir Mirmiran, dean of the FIU College of Engineering and Computing. The impetus for the program, noted Mirmiran, a native of Iran who immigrated to the U.S. in 1984, was a visit to FIU of engineering faculty from a German university. The university, which is located in a rural and not very populated area of Germany, outfitted a student lab truck to travel to middle schools and high schools to spur interest in engineering programs. Why couldn’t we do that in South Florida, Mirmiran wondered? He enlisted the assistance of the Chrysler Corporation, which was interested in attracting and retaining talented engineers. It donated funding to get the program off the ground and acquire the van. The program has several goals including recruiting engineers for FIU and spurring interest in the STEM fields. “We look at this as a public service as well as a recruiting effort,” Mirmiran noted. Engineers on Wheels fits perfectly into the Miami-Dade County public schools, explained Cristian Carranza, its administrative director of academics and transformation. The district already possessed a mobile unit for the purpose of enriching math and science content in elementary and middle schools. “It was a perfect solution since we didn’t have a mobile unit of our own for high schools,” said Carranza. Reaching two schools this year and nine next year only scratches the surface. Miami-Dade County includes 62 public high schools so more is needed. “There’s a financial cost in materials and personnel. Bringing in community partners such as Chrysler and insuring that there’s ongoing financial support is critical to expanding its coverage,” said Carranza. Engineers on Wheels brings talented FIU engineering and STEM majors to South Florida high schools to show innovative designs, explain how they were developed, discuss the varied disciplines in engineer-
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ing, and how students might forge a career in the field. The program fosters the idea that students require “a strong academic foundation” in high school to succeed as engineering or STEM majors in college. “We’ve been trying hard to connect with middle school and high school students in districts in Miami and the county in South Florida to not only choose computer science and engineering as a profession but to make sure they prepare for those majors in high schools,” Mirmiran said. “Waiting until senior year to major in STEM areas is often too late.” When Engineers on Wheels visited Booker T. Washington High School in Miami and Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale, both sessions took place in classrooms with 30 to 100 students, not in an auditorium. Mirmiran felt that the more intimate settings enabled FIU students to create a dialogue with students. “Students need to connect and ask the type of questions that show they’re engaged,” he said. That’s harder to accomplish in a large, more impersonal, auditorium. During the sessions, FIU undergraduates demonstrate some products that they have designed in engineering and computer science classes. For example, a biomedical engineering major brought a robotic
P TREOM S G RI A NM I T SI A T I V E S arm that connects to the nervous system. An environmental engineering major simulated a wall of wind, an open wind tunnel that functioned like hurricane gusts, replicating speeds of 160 miles per hour to show how a category 5 windstorm operated. Students are informed that starting salaries in the engineering field begin in the $45,000 to $65,000 range and advance beyond that. Moreover, Mirmiran said there are a host of specialties that many students aren’t aware of that pay well including petroleum and biomedical engineers, technology analysts, clinical data analysts and computer hardware engineers. Many of the students attending the presentations are African-American and Hispanic, and reaching minority students was critical for Engineers on Wheels. “Data shows that in 2014 in the engineering workforce, the number of Hispanic and AfricanAmerican students enrolled do not represent the demographic numbers in the U.S. census,” said Mirmiran. “Why can’t the percentages of minority engineering majors’ better reflect the demographics of the U.S.?” Moreover, FIU is a major institution for Latinos and minorities. Of its 39,118 students in fall 2014, 67 percent are Latino, 12 percent African-Americans and 2 percent biracial, so over 80 percent of undergraduates are minority. In fact, 11,110 students pursue STEM majors with the most popular majors in biology, information technology, computer & information service, mechanical engineering and chemistry. Minority engineering and computer science majors serve as role models for the mostly minority high
school audience. “The awareness of engineering as a profession in the minority community isn’t there,” Mirmiran said. “Seeing minority role models turns the light bulb on in our heads that maybe that’s want I’d want to do.” Having students showcase their designs, rather than FIU faculty, sends a positive message. “It’s peer-topeer connection. Students connect better with each other,” Mirmiran said. “If a talented Latino or AfricanAmerican student from South Florida can design a robotic arm so can they.” Once the high school students gravitate toward a STEM career, counselors at FIU explain how undergraduates can obtain financial aid, earn grants, apply for work study, and obtain part-time jobs in order to finance college education. National Action Council for Minorities in Education (NACME) scholarships for minority students also are described. Engineers on Wheels helps students “become better prepared and more excited, so they’re able to be in the game. We look at it as a public service and recruiting effort,” Mirmiran said. The expected result, Carranza said, will be “more engineers, more scientists, more investment in South Florida by South Florida students. The ultimate outcome is for us to keep our talent, and find mechanisms to expose students to more opportunities and new career pathways.” Majoring in STEM fields is demanding and complex. “What we’re trying to do is make it more possible, more approachable, especially to students from underrepresented groups,” said Carranza.
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I N N O V A T I O N S /&P RPORGORGARMA SM S
STEPping Toward Success in Medicine By Jeff Simmons
arina Meythaler was bitten by the medical bug when she was a high school freshman at St. Catharine Academy in the Bronx in New York City. “I was taking chemistry at the time and I fell in love with that. I got the idea that I wanted to go into science and possibly the medical field,” she said. “I don’t regret that decision at all.” Now a senior, she is en route to studies at Brandies University in Massachusetts and armed with a fulltuition scholarship from The Posse Foundation. News of the financial windfall came in December, and cemented her ability to afford higher education. She credits the achievement not only to her tireless determination and her family, which always stressed that she should work hard to pursue her dreams, but to an innovative program that has been helping students like her for three decades in New York state. Meythaler was accepted into a statewide Science and Technology Entry Program, or STEP, consortium, which has enrolled more than 5,600 students since 2002 (a revised application system makes it difficult to add totals dating back to STEP’s inception). Currently, 491 students are enrolled this academic year. The academic enrichment program is sponsored by Associated Medical Schools of New York, or AMSNY, which represents all of New York states’ medical schools. Programs – which are funded through the state’s Department of Education – are available at 10 medical schools (a roster that has remained the same since inception). The programs aim to remedy the disproportionate numbers of people of color in the medical and health professions. Since 1986, AMSNY’s STEP initiatives have targeted historically underrepresented students
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in an attempt to heighten their interest in science, technology and the health-related professions, as well as build prerequisite math and science skills. “Our programs are geared toward those students who come from economically or educationally underrepresented neighborhoods,” said Jo Wiederhorn, president and chief executive officer of AMSNY. “These are students who don't necessarily have the
INNOVATIONS/PROGRAMS advantages that students in well-financed school systems have. That’s really important because we are helping students achieve their goals, students who otherwise might be lost in the system.” STEP endeavors to facilitate students’ entry to college and health professions schools, and help them once they are there. To qualify, students must demonstrate strong academic performance and good attendance, as well as display an interest in educational and career paths in health, medicine, or science. Additionally, they must meet certain income eligibility criteria. Funding for the program, which was at $10.83 million in 2013-14, is on a per-student basis. AMSNY conducts annual statewide evaluations, and coordinates activities at the 10 participating schools: Albany Medical College, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, New York Medical College, New York University School of Medicine, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo, SUNY,
SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. More than a third of the students involved in STEP are Hispanic; during the 2013-14 academic year, that percentage was 35 percent, which was 2 percent higher than each of the previous two years, according to AMSNY. “One of the main goals of our organization is to ensure that there is diversity within the medical school population,” Wiederhorn said. “A number of studies dating back to the 1990s have noted that people feel more comfortable with healthcare providers from similar cultural backgrounds, and therefore visit their physicians more often. This ultimately leads to better health outcomes. “The students who enrolled in medical schools talk about the impact this program has had on their lives, and this emphasizes its importance to us,” she said. One obstacle “is that many students of color have traditionally been dissuaded from pursuing careers in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] fields, and this initiative additionally aims to combat that sentiment… A goal is to get students interested in medicine at a younger age, even as early as elementary school.” Each of the schools develops its own unique STEP initiative, but all focus on medicine and health. Some colleges activate summer and academic year programs, while others run only during the academic year. Meythaler, who is 17 years old, started with Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Einstein Enrichment Program (which is under the STEP umbrella) in the Bronx during her sophomore year. At the time, her love of science and medicine flourished while she took a biology class at school. “The program opens up so many possibilities and opportunities,” said Meythaler, whose parents are from Ecuador. “You are around people who want to learn more and are self-motivated.” Albert Einstein has supported the program by designating a specific person to provide counseling services to students, monitoring their academic progress, and offering career and college advisement. In the spring of each year, Albert Einstein reaches out to counselors and science teachers at about a dozen high schools in the Bronx (participants have to live and attend school in the Bronx). Additionally, the school connects with various organizations in The Bronx to advise them of the criteria for applying. Students must apply by June each year. HISPANIC OUTLOOK
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I N N O V A T I O N S /&P RPORGORGARMA SM S “Once we have the completed applications, we decide who will come in for an interview,” said Nilda I. Soto, assistant dean at Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Office of Diversity of Enhancement. Each year, Albert Einstein accepts 42 students into its enrichment program, although annually it receives between 50 and 60 applications, which feature essays about applicants’ career aspirations. Of the 42 students, 16 identified as Hispanic in the 2013-14 class, a rate that has remained consistent. During the academic year, students attend sessions after school twice for 15 weeks each fall and spring semester, and have the option of attending its five-week summer program. At the end of a semester, students must give an oral presentation, including a PowerPoint and written paper, on a health topic of interest to them. Older students lead off the sessions, providing guidance and direction to newer participants. The proof of Albert Einstein’s STEP success is in the outcomes: 100 percent of its students graduate from high school and 100 percent go on to attend four-year colleges – a rate that hasn’t wavered since the program began. Hispanic students could easily be dissuaded because they might not encounter other Hispanics who have become successful medical professionals. But this program, Soto said, helps them realize they are among those changing the face of healthcare. Alumni, in fact, return to give presentations, allowing current students to see that they can achieve their dreams. “Some people tell them this is a really hard career, that it’s tough to get into medical school, so why don’t you instead consider being a nurse,” Soto said. “That’s why, when we talk about professional development with advisors, it’s also to share with them information about opportunities that are available to these young people.” Soto, for one, is particularly motivated to increase the number of males in healthcare, and not just Hispanics. She cited statistics from the Association of American Medical Colleges, noting that last year, more than 20,000 individuals entered medical school across the country, and only 515 of them were African-American men. Of the 20,000, 574 were His-
panic women and 656 were Hispanic men. “We provide an opportunity and affirm for these young high school students their designated career,” Soto said. “With our program, they do not question their ability. We know that they can succeed.” Wiederhorn said that Hispanic students should not hesitate to seek such support. “They need to reach out, talk to their school advisors, to a family friend or to someone they respect and admire. They should not let people discourage them. If they find someone who is discouraging they should move on and find somebody else,” she said. In the STEP initiatives, academic enrichment classes include cell physiology, neuroscience, molecular biology, genetics, cardiology, organic chemistry, behavioral sciences, infections disease, and English composition. Programs include a variety of components, such as exposure to medical school faculty, students and curriculum, career presentations by health professionals, college and personal counseling, values and ethics exploration, multicultural development, and organized college visits. Albert Einstein’s robust program, for instance, has an active parent association (and even gets grandparents involved), and a Teen Action Planning endeavor, which engages its teenage participants in community service projects. Meythaler last year earned a grant as a result of her service-learning project, which involved a study on destigmatizing mental illness. Her work focused on arranging interventions and workshops “to open up people’s minds and help kids.” The result of her work: a $2,500 grant to help with her education. Over the last three years, she said the program allowed her to shadow medical professionals – watching surgeries close-up – and establish relationships with several mentors. “Since my sophomore year I have met so many inspiring people and even got to work with a few of them,” she said. “They wrote many recommendations for me, including the one for my Posse application! To this day, I still speak to them and update them with my life, as they do with theirs. STEP has led to many of my accomplishments.”
Our programs are geared toward those students who come from economically or educationally underrepresented neighborhoods. We are helping students who otherwise might be lost in the system.” Jo Wiederhorn, president and chief executive officer of AMSNY. 14 |
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TL E CA HD NE O R LS O HG I PY/ R O L E M O D E L S
Social Driver Transforms Educational Data for Schools By Jamaal Abdul-Alim
ack when he was growing up on a soybean farm in rural Missouri, Thomas Sánchez had access to “zero” technology. Today, Sánchez, 34, is the founding CEO of Social Driver, one of the fastest-growing digital firms in the nation. The company has an impressive list of clients, including the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and several other organizations and agencies that work directly or indirectly in the realm of higher education. As a sign of the company’s rapid growth, consider how Social Driver recently relocated to a prime location in downtown Washington, D.C. “This office is really going to be a tool that takes us to the next level as a company,” said Sánchez during a recent interview in the spacious 10th floor office on 15th Street in the Northwest quadrant of D.C. The office is far cry from the farm where Sánchez grew up in DeKalb County, Missouri. Although technology was not a predominant part of farm life, helping to raise cows and grow corn and soybeans provided Sánchez with something of even greater importance. “That’s where I learned to do business,” Sánchez said. “On a farm, you have to start your own farm business, grow up or get an animal and keep track of feed costs, fertilizer costs,
Thomas Sánchez HISPANIC OUTLOOK
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TECHNOLOGY and keep a ledger. “That’s why I know how to read financial statements and how to balance books,” Sánchez said. “You had to have a bank account and a ledger. A farm is a small business.” Sánchez learned early in life what it means to be a minority. “My family was, as far as I know, the only Hispanic family in that entire county,” Sánchez said of growing up in DeKalb County, where even today the Hispanic population is just 1.5 percent of the overall population. His upbringing did not provide an easy path to college. “When I went to college, I had no money,” Sánchez recalled of the time when he enrolled at Northwest Missouri State University back in 1998. “I had to take out student loans to be able to go, but I got a minority leadership scholarship at my university,” Sánchez said, explaining that the scholarship was for students who got elected to student senate or were similarly involved in campus life. “That made huge difference in my ability to be able to go to school.” Sánchez studied management information systems, or MIS, and computer science. “At Northwest it was great,” Sánchez said. “There
We’re taking all this education data that they have and making it open. Parents can go on LearnDC, see that every school has a report card.” Thomas Sánchez, CEO of Social Driver
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was such a community there. I felt a belonging to a lot of different communities, whether people in my major or people in Hispanic groups on campus.” The university also provided Sánchez with his first opportunities in the realm of technology. During his time in college, he served as a learning software developer and was a founding employee at the university’s Center for Information Technology in Education, where he developed eLearning solutions and technologies for academic and vocational education. He also served as a software consultant for Sprint – the telecommunications giant – while in college. Upon graduation in 2002, Sánchez landed a job as a software engineer at Cerner Corporation, a health technology firm located in Kansas City, Mo. It was there that the seeds for becoming a tech entrepreneur were sown. Sánchez says he drew inspiration from the company’s CEO and founder, Neal Patterson, whom he described as a “visionary leader.” “He saw in the early 2000s that hospitals were not using technology to improve health care,” Sánchez recalled of Patterson. “He knew it was inevitable that they would. He wanted to be the guy who started the company that did that. “I took that same mindset and thought: Look at education. Look at nonprofits, industry associations,” Sánchez explained. “They are not using digital and social technology at the level that they should be to impact their mission. “They are going to be doing it and I want Social Driver to be the partner company and partner with them to do it.” Sánchez began Social Driver in 2009 with just himself and, a year later, his spouse, Anthony Shop, who serves as chief strategy officer. The company now has more than 30 employees. “We’ve never taken any outside debt or outside investment,” Sánchez said. Social Driver has accumulated an impressive list of accolades, including an award for being one the “coolest” companies in D.C. and another for being of the “fastest growing” in the nation. It was also named Small Business Champion by the Washington D.C. Chamber of Commerce. But the awards wouldn’t
TECHNOLOGY have been possible without accumulating a noteworthy list of clients, including several that are part of the higher education sector. “My very first client was the Hispanic Scholarship Fund,” Sánchez said fondly of the organization that is the nation’s largest not-for-profit organization that supports Hispanic American students in higher education. Other clients that support higher education include the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, or NSCS, for which Social Driver has developed four websites and helped to update the NSCS brand experience online and accelerate growth in membership. “They’re the largest honors society in the world,” Sánchez said. “They have over a million scholars that are a part of their organization. Just imagine the reach that they have. That’s one of the most impressive things about our work on that.” The company also has worked with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in the District of Columbia, for which Social Driver helped create LearnDC, an online school reporting system that features school profiles that include test scores, graduation rates and disciplinary data. “We’re taking all this education data that they have and making it open,” Sánchez said. “Parents can go
on LearnDC, see that every school has a report card, compare schools to each other and compare schools to the district average.” Whereas previously the school reporting system in the nation’s capital was “among the worse,” Sánchez said, after Social Driver revamped it, it is now considered one of the best, according to a report titled “Rating States, Grading Schools: What Parents and Experts say States Should Consider to Make School Accountability Systems Meaningful.” “Parents raved about the ‘very clear’ presentation of information and features such as the ability to compare schools and the option to ask for more data via a readily available email form,” the report states about LearnDC. As one parent wrote about Learn DC, “The ability to ‘explore’ the data is really nice. No other school we looked at had this feature.” Sánchez’s work over the years has landed him a spot as member of D.C.’s Innovation and Technology Inclusion Council. “Our mandate in that group is to grow the D.C. tech economy and create opportunities for groups that are currently not represented in the D.C. tech economy to have a bigger role to play,” Sánchez said. “It’s my personal belief that we can’t grow the D.C. tech economy without reaching out to groups that we haven’t reached out to in the past. I think the issue of accessibility is extremely important.” The group also has a mandate to boost the number of students studying STEM majors “because that’s so important to the job market and the economy,” Sánchez said. Beyond government and nonprofits, Sánchez said businesses such as his have a responsibility to make a difference. His message to students is to pursue an education in order to turn their dreams into a reality. “I think the future is bright because the students that are coming up have really great ideas,” Sánchez said. “That’s one of the things I enjoy most when I talk to student groups at college or high schools and I hear their ideas. “But having an idea and making it seem like it’s going to happen is not enough,” Sánchez said. “It takes somebody to stand up and say, ‘I want to be the person who is involved and makes that change.’ And the only way you’re going to do that is if you understand technology and you actually have experience – like actual experience – in a technological field.”
Thomas Sánchez HISPANIC OUTLOOK
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Patricia Pérez Helps Organizations Avoid Missteps in the Workplace By Diana Saenger
ike most organizations, academic institutions have their share of human resources (HR) issues. There are workplace conflicts, such as sexual harassment, and interpersonal clashes which cause communication problems. In addition, college HR departments need to comply legally with the many federal guidelines that must be incorporated into a vast number of institutional policies and procedures. That’s when Patricia Pérez, a wellknown lawyer and expert in employment law, steps in to help. “I help companies deal with workplace drama, which encompasses everything you can imagine,” she said. “My work from the beginning, and even more so now that I have my own company, has been a preventive learning approach.” Pérez says that being proactive on these issues can save organizations a lot of time in court and help all employees get the training and understanding they need to do their jobs more effectively. “Rather than concentrate on a fight in court, my main goal has been to educate people upfront on what the law requires, how that applies in the world on a day-to-day basis, and what the everyday expectations are for someone,” she said. This career is not exactly what Pérez envisioned when she was younger. She considered becoming a teacher but eventually landed in law school and found her passion in the area of labor and employment law. But the journey began with her upbringing which included her family’s expectations regarding education. “My family was focused on my sister and me getting a good education,” Pérez said. “The cliché
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wasn’t whether I would go to college, but where.” There wasn’t much money for her education, although her parents were hardworking individuals who held a variety of jobs. Pérez was born in El Salvador and her father immigrated to the United States in 1968. She, her mother and two sisters followed in 1971.
PROFILES Upon arrival, her father entered a government program to learn English. A jack of all trades, he was a bus driver, mechanic, and worked in a factory that gave him an opportunity to become a lathe operator. Her mother was a teacher, worked in a factory, and as a seamstress for department stores as well as cleaning hotel rooms and model homes. The family moved to San Francisco, and later to Los Angeles, but also spent time in Houston. Pérez attended school in both places, graduating from high school in Houston. “As low-incomers it was always emphasized at every level for us to get good grades in school and definitely plan to attend college. I couldn’t ignore that my parents had sacrificed our home country and culture to come here so we could take advantage of the opportunities here.” Pérez more than accomplished her goals. In 1989 she earned a bachelor of arts degree in English at the University of California, Los Angeles. “I had toyed with the idea of becoming an English teacher because I loved literature, but I graduated from college very young at age 21. I wasn’t sure about that as a reality to teach high school. One of the officers of the Graduate Student Association
Rather than concentrate on a fight in court, my main goal has been to educate people upfront on what the law requires, how that applies in the world on a day-to-day basis, and what the everyday expectations are for someone,” Patricia Pérez, lawyer and human resources consultant
was a law student, and told me to think about law school. So I applied and got into UCLA.” Intrigued with a job that would offer prominent status and be highly interesting, Pérez pursued a law degree and graduated from UCLA School of Law, JD, in 1992. Her career turned out to be a blend of law and teaching. At UCLA she practiced employment law at two San Diego law firms. She did extensive training and teaching of adults in various law procedures. “My goal was the educational component of breaking down the complex and scary part of the law into a way that people could not only understand it, but implement in their everyday lives,” said Pérez. Pérez’s Hispanic background and focus on educating Hispanics in the workplace resulted in a prestigious assignment. While working for the National Center of State Courts in Virginia, Pérez was given a grant to report to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico as director of a judicial educational program where she taught high-level Mexican and U.S. judges on both sides of the law. “It was a combination of an educational exchange of ideas with the goal of learning about each other,” Pérez said. “The State Department had an important agenda of bringing in U.S. policy to make sure what was going on in Mexico did not interfere with any goals they had. We would often take judges from border cities in Mexico and educate them with land issues, divorce issues or employment law issues with a maquiladora.” Although she had no qualms about being chosen for this program, it was a harder assignment than she anticipated. “I went to Mexico City thinking: I was born in El Salvador, spoke fluent Spanish, and was very Latina connected to my roots. I discovered, however, that it was really tough. I came back to the states realizing I was just a gringo with a deep tan and even though I was raised in the U.S. by a family obsessed about personal responsibility and justice, doing the right thing and telling the truth, it wasn’t until I moved to Mexico that I realized how much all of those concepts had been ingrained in me. I met some of the Supreme Court justices of Mexico City and I never felt that any of them looked down upon me. In Mexico my college degree in law was equivalent to a doctorate so they addressed me as Dr. Pérez.” Pérez said this experience made her realize that HISPANIC OUTLOOK
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PROFILES she enjoyed the educational aspect of her job more than being a litigator. “Without the education I got I could not have done any of the things that I do. I am a forever student, whether it’s continuing education or my own research. I’m fortunate to do the work I do. Because of my educational background I’m able to provide a helpful service to entities and clients. When I’m dealing with elementary school teachers or university professors, my passion is to learn and align myself with whatever their philosophies are so I make sure I’m educated with their goals.” Pérez has conducted hundreds of training sessions for human resources professionals, managers, line employees and attorneys, among others. A big part of her practice is doing similar sessions (harassment prevention, leadership training, management training, workplace investigation training, etc.) for clients across the country. Most recently Pérez has been working with University of California, San Diego’s (UCSD) medical school and health science unit which has employees of many different nationalities. In order to carry out her responsibilities, Pérez has worked hard to educate herself on the bureaucratic layers of the system and to become familiar with the system’s policies. She had similar experience working with California Western Law School, Chapman University and school districts. Pérez, a first-generation Hispanic, maintains many cultural Salvadorian and Catholic traditions in her home. Her mother lives with Pérez and her 15-year-old son. They speak Spanish at home, watch Spanish TV and her mother cooks traditional dishes. She attributes her success to her education, but also to her upbringing. “I think it was the way I was raised, of being taught not to rest on our laurels. Of course my education and applying myself helped. I was taught to be strategic, and if you have a goal, you have to make a plan to execute it and achieve it. Just the way that my parents lived their lives and are problem solvers, taught me a lot.” Pérez strongly believes in the value of education for current generations. “It’s vital,” she said. “I’m obsessed with education and literacy. My son is in high school, so I’m constantly involved in the next generation. I’m somewhat concerned if there is an over emphasis on aspects that I think are not as important in educa-
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I was taught to be strategic, and if you have a goal, you have to make a plan to execute it and achieve it. Just the way that my parents lived their lives and are problem solvers, taught me a lot.” Patricia Pérez, lawyer and human resources consultant tion as curiosity and love of learning, or some practical skills such as social skills and being able to resolve problems.” Pérez’s accomplishments include an impressive list of honors and positions. She is past chair of the California State Bar Labor and Employment Law Section (made up of over 6,500 California labor and employment attorneys), recipient of the Woman Business Owner of the Year Award, presented by the San Diego chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owner, and was the head of the Human Resources and Employee Relations Department for one of the world’s largest law firms (the Washington D.C. office of Skadden Arps). Yet what she enjoys most about her job is simple. “It’s when I’m sitting down with the client toward the end of a meeting and I realize how much they are depending on my advice and relying on my problem-solving skills. That really fulfills me.”
Own It! Using the Entrepreneurial Mindset to Engage and Retain Students By Marvin Lozano, EdD and Miquela Rivera, PhD magine: You stand in front of the new crop of students starting in your class this semester. There are a few students fresh out of high school, two homemakers returning to school after years spent raising a family; three veterans who have seen the worst but done their best; and two others who bring statements of special needs requiring extra time when taking examinations. This diversity is not an exception to the rule in many higher education settings; it’s now the rule. Though some instructors in higher education might not consider the entrepreneurial mindset to be relevant in their work, it is exactly what is needed for Latino student retention and success in today’s diverse teaching environment. While some institutions are highly competitive, admitting only students who are thoroughly prepared for the academic challenges, other colleges and universities have a wider, more diverse span of students enrolling. With a larger and larger percentage needing remedial work in order to become college-ready (a 2013 report by Brenda Bautsch with the National Conference of State Legislatures reported that 41 percent of Latinos in college nationally require remedial work), instructors who adopt an entrepreneurial mindset are more likely to assure that they will engage and retain these students. It starts with seeing the problem and choosing to solve it. Too often faculty members dismiss or discount the students when they start to falter, blaming the students’ background, preparation, intellect, income or any other factors that might account for less-thanexpected performance. An entrepreneurial mindset, however, shifts from a problem/barrier focus to an opportunity/solution orientation, so the instructor seeks to understand the students. The instructor realizes that enrollees are not homogeneous and that the one-size-fits-all approach to teaching will no longer work with a highly diverse student population. The instructor takes the first step in the entrepreneurial mindset: choosing to respond to the circumstance in the classroom (choice is always the most powerful ability anyone has in any circumstance). Instead of blaming the student for lackluster performance, the instructor might decide to alter her approach to meet the needs of the customers-- the students. Start by understanding why the student has enrolled in the class. Is the class required for a chosen program of study? Is it something chosen because it will work with her schedule given a multitude of other responsibilities she has? Or does the student consider it an
“easy A”-- something he thinks he can slide through with little effort? Despite the range of reasons for enrolling in the class, the material must still be mastered. With the competency-based outcomes of the course in mind, pare down extraneous material and clarify what must be mastered and why. This reduces the chances of some students deeming the material as irrelevant and promotes the perception that it is meaningful, increasing the chances that the student will embrace what is being taught. Broaden the role of the student in the class. Unlike traditional lecture-based classes in which the instructor talks and the student listens, use team projects, student presentations and other alternative forms of instruction to meet a wider range of student interests and abilities. Though time consuming, meet individually with students to monitor progress and pinpoint problems they might have in order to provide assistance and maximize the chances of the student completing the course. Give regular feedback and, if possible, offer evaluation options for those who struggle with test anxiety. These approaches take more time initially to institute, but retention will likely be significantly higher. Innovative approaches and policies addressing the challenge of retaining students could also be adopted by the institution. Instead of forcing a student to drop a class when financial, family, work or other problems arise and interfere with class attendance or work completion, the student could “pause” a course and return within a designated amount of time, picking up the course where he left off in order to complete it. The frustration of repeating material (and the likelihood of dropping the class altogether) will be reduced and the student will more likely master the material. Shortening the length of the course, too, can make it more feasible for students who otherwise would drop midsemester.
Marvin Lozano, EdD is a faculty member in the School of Business & Information Technology at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque. He is an experienced small business consultant, commercial banker and entrepreneur. He has been honored as a USDA National Hispanic Fellow and as a Sam Walton Fellow. Miquela Rivera, PhD is a licensed psychologist in Albuquerque with years of clinical, early childhood and consultative experience. Dr. Rivera’s column, “Priming the Pump” appears in each issue of Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education. She lives in Albuquerque.
MARCH 9, 2015
Quo Vadis Affirmative Action? By Gustavo A. Mellander
any people, if not most, who have benefitted from affirmative action, don’t know that a Republican fathered and first implemented that landmark legislation. It was Richard Nixon.
What was the rationale? From the very beginning the legislation was believed by many to be unconstitutional. So why did Nixon and others support it? It was an attempt to help more individuals achieve the American dream. At that time, the old boy network, composed mostly of WASPs (white Anglo-Saxon Protestants), was firmly in control of the best business opportunities, significant government positions and elite higher education. In short, the best education, the best positions in our society were tacitly reserved for the privileged members of the old boy network. Over half of the nation was under educated and thus underutilized. The doors of opportunity were simply sealed to outsiders. Affirmative action was designed to open doors, to provide opportunities for those deprived of them. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, have benefitted. Many think that blacks profited the most. But research reveals that white women benefitted the most from affirmative action. Thanks to its implementation many more women were able to attend college and later pursue MBA programs and other graduate studies. The number of women accepted in law and medical schools exploded to the point that today females constitute the majority of students in both of those schools nationwide. Females also have secured significant appointments in government, business and the academic world. Affirmative action provided them opportunities not available to their mothers. Slightly off the subject but indicative of deeply ingrained historic prejudice against women, I note the administration of President Woodrow Wilson. During his presidency, suffragettes were still struggling to secure the vote. Wilson opposed the movement. They picketed the White House frequently and Wilson would complain to the Washington police. They came and took the women away. The jails quickly filled up. Where to place the other women? It was decided to send them to the local insane asylum. Why? Well, they reasoned that any woman who wanted to vote had to be insane!
Hispanics and Affirmative Action Hispanics have benefitted from the original legislation and its evolving interpretations. Hundreds of thousands have pursued higher education opportunities denied their forbearers. Significant successful careers have been carved a step at a time. Affirmative action was federal legislation. Individual states reacted differently. Some embraced its principles early on. Others did all they could to delay implementation. Texas was slow to change. In time more Hispanics were admitted to mainstream universities. But the number was small for thousands who found it quite difficult to attend college since most of them lived in the southern part of Texas which had very few public colleges. Instead they
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were concentrated in the north where Anglos were the dominant population cohort. After decades of appealing to the legislature with limited success, advocates turned to the courts, all the way to the state Supreme Court. It was finally agreed that the lack of higher education facilities where Hispanics lived was in itself discriminatory. Steps were taken to build new colleges or expand existing colleges in the state’s Hispanic-rich regions. Affirmative action has worked on many levels to open doors. But a tangential benefit for Hispanics might well be the surge of confidence they acquired. The genie is out of the bottle and Hispanics no longer stand by meekly.
The future: Is affirmative action still needed? I contend, the answer is yes. As long as some classes of people cannot access education or jobs as readily as the mainstream population, the need will continue. I quickly add that reform is necessary. Affirmative action should not be an excuse to lower standards. Some of the faculty in their desire to help “those students” have turned a blind eye, passing them along. That doesn’t help them. If one wishes to help students, institutions and individuals should provide them more time and opportunities to help them acquire the knowledge they need to learn. Faculty members aren’t the only ones bending the rules. Some administrators pressured faculty to pass affirmative action students on. A mistake. Other administrators, scared of being targeted and criticized, fail to supervise affirmative action hires as they should. These hires often are given a pass which prevents them from reaching their highest potential and creates a morale problem among others held to a higher standard. Access for students and job seekers is important but performance is as well. Unfortunately, many students and professionals are not being held to the same standards others are. That has to change.
Demographics The nation continues to experience significant demographic changes. Hispanic growth has been dramatic and continues in the face of reduced Southern migration. Hispanics tend to have large families which increases their total numbers. That will probably not abate until more of them enter the middle class. There have been some increases among blacks but not much in part because the black middle class is having fewer children than their parents. Asian-American immigration has grown significantly but their numbers are still quite small. Affirmative action will be needed to secure opportunities for hundreds of thousands needy persons.
Income and sexual inequality Affirmative action has helped address income and sexual inequality issues. Many poor but promising students, including Caucasians, have benefitted in the past on both fronts.
Unfortunately income inequality continues to rise and some scholars fear the nation is creating an ever-growing hereditary privileged class. After World War II, Europe addressed its class division situation by instituting what some consider confiscatory inheritance taxes. The United States isn’t there as yet. But the touted one-percent keeps growing and getting richer and more influential every year.
A wicked walk down reality lane The 2007-08 financial upheaval was deep, serious and widespread. Virtually every family in the country was affected, negatively. Academics saw their retirement assets shrink, significantly so. Some delayed retiring. Others panicked and sold their stock market holdings at the worst of times. Secondly, hundreds of thousands watched helplessly as their largest asset, their homes, plummeted in value month after month. Net reductions of 30 to 50 percent were not unusual. Many found their mortgages were larger than the sales value of their homes. For a nation that had grown accustomed to seeing the value of their homes increase year after year, it was a hard and terrifying pill to swallow. The real estate market has yet to recover in most areas. One way or another, the net worth of virtually every American family declined, which has eroded confidence. Millenniums are not investing in the stock market and not in a hurry to purchase a home. The economy is slowly improving for some but not all households. Unfortunately we are now experiencing greater wealth inequality. Specifically it has widened significantly along racial and ethnic lines.
Examples and more According the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, in 2013 Caucasian household wealth rose to 13 times the median wealth of black households. That compared to eight times the wealth in 2010. As for Hispanics, the wealth of Caucasian households is presently more than 10 times the wealth of Hispanic households, a change from 2010 when it was nine times the wealth. To be specific, the current gap between blacks and Caucasians has reached its highest point since 1989, when Caucasians had 17 times the wealth of black households. The current Caucasian-to-Hispanic wealth ratio has reached a level not seen since 2001. Interestingly if one disregards race and ethnicity, the net worth of American families overall – the difference between the values of their assets and their liabilities – has held steady. The typical household’s net worth of $81,400 in 2013, according to the government statistics, was almost the same as what it was in 2010, when the median net worth of U.S. households was $82,300 (values expressed in 2013 dollars). It is important to remember that stability in household wealth followed a dramatic drop during the recession. From 2007 to 2010, the median net worth of American families decreased by 39.4 percent, from $135,700 to $82,300. That as indicated above was a result of rapidly plunging house prices and the stock market crash. The Dow Jones plunged to the mid-80s in 2009. Now it has flirted with 18,000. It has been a marvelous recovery. Unfortunately, Wall Street largess has not been replicated on Main Street, USA. Rakesh Kochhar and Richard Fry of the Pew Research
Center have written there is “a stark divide in the experiences of white, black and Hispanic households during the economic recovery.” From 2010 to 2013, the median wealth of non-Hispanic white households increased from $138,600 to $141,900, or by 2.4 percent. Reports from the center state: “Meanwhile, the median wealth of non-Hispanic black households fell 33.7 percent, from $16,600 in 2010 to $11,000 in 2013. Among Hispanics, median wealth decreased by 14.3 percent, from $16,000 to $13,700. For all families – Caucasian, black and Hispanic – median wealth is still less than its pre-recession level.” That’s scary information. A number of factors seem responsible for the widening of these wealth gaps. As the Federal Reserve notes, the median income of minority households (blacks, Hispanics and other non-Caucasian combined) fell 9 percent from 2010 to 2013, compared with a decrease of 1 percent for non-Hispanic Caucasian household. Thus, minority households might not have replenished their savings as much as Caucasian households or they might have had to draw down their savings even more during the flaccid recovery. As noted, the stock market has recovered in value more quickly and dramatically than housing. Caucasian households have benefitted since they are much more likely than minority households to own stocks directly or indirectly through their retirement accounts. So Caucasians have benefitted more from the financial market recovery. Not surprisingly, once burned, many Americans have reduced their ownership of key assets, such as residences and stocks. But once again the decrease in asset ownership tended to be proportionally greater among minority households. For example, the homeownership rate for non-Hispanic white households fell from 75.3 percent in 2010 to 73.9 percent in 2013, a percentage drop of 2 percent. Meanwhile, the homeownership rate among minority households decreased from 50.6 percent in 2010 to 47.4 percent in 2013, a slippage of 6.5 percent. It should be pointed out that in the 1990s Congress pressured banks at public hearings to provide mortgages to families who frankly could not afford homeownership. Instead of the customary 20 percent down, mortgages were approved with a mere 3 percent down. A foolish step which led to thousands of foreclosures. While the current wealth gaps are higher than at the beginning of the recession, they are not at their highest levels. Peak values for the wealth ratios were recorded in a 1989 survey -- 17 for the Caucasian-to-black ratio and 14 for the Caucasian-to-Hispanic ratio. The racial and ethnic wealth gaps in 2013 are at or about their highest levels observed in the 30 years for which data has been published. Disconcerting to say the least. The selfserving Washington chatter that minorities are better off than they were in 2007 just doesn’t reflect reality.
Bottom line I presented a lot of data to highlight the crunch Hispanics and others are facing. It is severe. The crawl back will not be easy even for educated middle-class individuals. So what about those trying to get on the slippery first rung of our ladder of success? They have to be helped and I suggest affirmative action is as needed now as ever before. Dr. Mellander was a college president for 20 years. HISPANIC OUTLOOK
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By Margaret Sands Orchowski
CAMPUS RAPE CRISIS? IT’S TIME TO FOCUS ON ABUSIVE DRINKING In all the articles, stories, analyses and op-eds about the growing attention to rape assaults on U.S. college campuses and what to do about it, there seems to be one agreement: rape almost always happens after the victim and often usually the rapists have abused alcohol. They have been drinking to the point they can’t control their responses to what is happening. The solution would seem easy then. Mount a massive campaign against alcohol abuse. But there are vociferous objections to that approach. They are based mainly on the argument that “you can’t change the culture” – the culture (read, entitlement) of drinking (including underage) on campus. Changing culture is impossible next to changing the punitive response to rape, they say. And stopping drinking altogether has been tried. Any attempt to curb drinking today immediately brings up images of the failed prohibition days of the 1920s. Obviously those who argue that point have forgotten the ubiquitous culture of smoking that pervaded America in the mid-20th century. Smoking, like drinking today was considered cool. But eventually campaigns against tobacco use were successful in the 1970s and 80s. Public smoking is forbidden and shamed almost everywhere in the U.S. today – even President Obama has to hide his supposedly occasional smoking trysts. What was the most effective technique that made smoking uncool? Photos of the Marlboro Man, emaciated, dying, hooked up to a breathing machine as he battled lung cancer. A grey-faced woman with a few yellow teeth taking a drag. Sounds of coughing, gasping, struggling to breathe. Would it work to stop college drinking abuse? How about photos of college hunks and cheerleaders in their less cool hours of drunkenness? Might be worth a try in a photo essay – by college journalists perhaps?
DEMOCRATIC ED POLICYMAKERS STUCK IN THE 20TH CENTURY At a post-election meeting at the National Press Club, senior New York Senator and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer declared that the top issue for Americans was “lowering the loan rate for student loans.” That would justify one of the past Senate’s few achievements: lowering yet again the annual rise in the student loan rate to be paid once a student leaves campus. The Democrats call it “making college more affordable.” Congressional Representative Raul Grijalva had another priority for education policy makers for 2015-- focus on diversity. That not only meant to him to fund more English learning classes for Spanish-speaking students in his home state Arizona and elsewhere, but also “diversifying (the ethnic backgrounds) of the education policy staffs on the Hill.” Really Schumer and Grijalva? That’s it? Student loan rates and diversity? Those are SO 20th century issues! No wonder the Dems lost the Senate!
COLLEGES WIN BIG WHEN PAID FOR CREDITS STUDENT EARN OUTSIDE Increasingly, experience-based credits are seen as an important change in higher education, especially for the increasing number of returning and “non-traditional-aged” students attempting to earn a four-year degree while working, raising kids and having a civic life. Basically, colleges will reward graduation by counting credits for skills, well-defined competencies and educational experiences earned off campus, even when the student was not enrolled. It’s a win-win for all, but especially for college’s bottom line and new accountability criteria. Institutions get paid for educational experiences they didn’t have to provide, and get credit for higher graduation rates for which they were not fully responsible. But employers win too because they get to demand that students graduate with the skills (excuse me “competencies”) that their businesses need, indeed often taught to themselves through free internships. Career-focused students also will win when competency-based education is tied into gainful employment criteria at public and private universities, not just at for-profit colleges.
CONGRESSIONAL ED COMMITTEES LOSE MOST EXPERIENCED At the time of this writing the path of the higher education reauthorization is unknown. It is clear it will not be an early priority in the 114th Congress. Many longtime committee members have left including Tim Bishop, Rush Holt, Tom Petri, Buck McKeon and of course the longtime chairman, George Miller. The new congressional ranking Democratic member, Bobby Scott from Virginia, has focused mainly on his work in juvenile justice on the Judiciary Committee’s Crime subcommittee and with the Black Caucus. Scott is adamant about “grounding policy-making in research and data.” The Republican leaders seem determined to look at higher ed issues in pieces, not comprehensively. Clearly HEA reauthorization will take time!
Margaret (Peggy Sands) Orchowski was a reporter for AP South America and for the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. She earned a doctorate in international educational administration from the University of California-Santa Barbara. She lives in Washington, D.C., where she was an editor at Congressional Quarterly and now is a freelance journalist and columnist covering Congress and higher education.
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Phone: (201) 587-8800
President of Bronx Community College The Board of Trustees of the City University of New York (CUNY) and the Bronx Community College Presidential Search Committee invite nominations and applications for the position of President of Bronx Community College. Bronx Community College (BCC) was founded in 1957 to meet the growing need for access to higher education in the borough of the Bronx. The College’s bucolic 45 acre, tree-lined campus is an intellectual oasis on the hill where students have access to over forty associate and certificate programs. In 2012, five buildings designed by renowned architect Stanford White, had the distinct honor of being designated as a National Historic Landmark. The College’s 100-plus year old campus continues as an exemplar of preservation and innovation. The University approved master plan calls for continued restoration of BCC’s historic buildings, and the expansion of teaching and learning facilities. In addition to a new state-of-the art Library, there is State and City investments to address capital maintenance and renovation projects in excess of $100 million. The College’s 302 full-time and 413 part-time dedicated faculty include scholars highly distinguished in their fields, most of whom hold Ph.D.’s. Among them are prominent experts in the fields of arts and humanities, science and technology. This includes nationally-recognized composers, documentary filmmakers, innovators in sustainable energy, geospatial technology and other cutting-edge STEM fields. BCC’s faculty provides instruction to 11,500 students from over 100 countries. BCC programs lead to careers or continued education at four-year colleges. The College prepares students for immediate employment by offering technical and career degrees such as Automotive Technology, Environmental Technology, Digital Arts Design, Engineering Technology, Nursing, Therapeutic Recreation and many others. A student can start at BCC with a high school equivalency diploma and end their academic career with a Ph.D. from one of the other campuses within the University. As the Bronx academic partner for START-UP NY, the state initiative providing tax breaks to high-tech companies who launch or expand in New York State, the new president joins the College as BCC is playing an increasingly vital role as an engine for workforce and economic development in its home borough and beyond. BCC’s annual budget is $74 million, largely funded through New York State and New York City appropriations and student tuition. Fifty nine percent of BCC students are the first in their family to go to college. Over 45 percent are non-English native language speakers. Ninety percent of first-time freshmen of the fall 2014 semester received federal or state financial aid. Additionally, 90% percentage of these students also required some form of remediation in at least one area. For more information about the composition of the student body go to: https://public.tableausoftware.com/profile/sh7303#!/vizhome/CUNYInteractiveFactbook/Start Preferred qualifications for the position include: •An individual with the highest personal and professional integrity •An earned doctorate or professional equivalent, college-level teaching experience, and a record of scholarly and/or professional and administrative achievement •A leader committed to student success and completion who will focus on using data to inform decisions and encourage innovation •An inclusive leader with experience in the senior-level management of an urban community college and a clear commitment to the unique roles of a community college •A demonstrated record of success in an institution of higher education or an institution of comparable scope, with proven strengths in strategic planning, budgeting and management •A commitment to enhancing the quality of student life and to strengthening delivery of support services to an urban, multicultural, multi-ethnic student body •Demonstrated leadership in developing and enhancing the quality of academic programs while using technology to integrate and improve learning •A leadership style that emphasizes team building with faculty and senior administrators within an environment of shared governance •The ability to communicate clearly, collegially and persuasively with internal and external constituencies including faculty, students, staff, community members, alumni, local and national constituencies •An ability to successfully navigate in a multi-layered political environment •An entrepreneurial approach in attracting financial support from foundations, corporations, governmental sources and private donors We are being assisted in this search by Dr. Narcisa Polonio, Executive Vice President for Education, Research, and Board Leadership Services, Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). Confidential inquiries may be directed to her at firstname.lastname@example.org; Mobile 202-276-1983 or 202-775-4667. The position is available on or before July 1, 2015. Salary and benefits are competitive. The review of applications will begin in March 2015 and continue until the position is filled. Submission of applications is encouraged by March 15, 2015. Applications and nominations should be sent electronically to: Bronx Community College Presidential Search at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants should send (1) a letter expressing their interest in the position indicating how they meet the Search Committee’s preferred qualifications, (2) a curriculum vitae, and (3) the names of eight references (two from individuals who report to you, two from individuals to whom you report, two from faculty members and two from community/business leaders). References will not be contacted without the applicant’s prior permission. For additional information: Please contact Dr. Narcisa Polonio at email@example.com/ (202) 276-1983 or Ms. Mahlet Tsegaye, Office of Executive Search/ CUNY at firstname.lastname@example.org; (646) 664-9404; 205 East 42nd Street, 11th Floor, NY, NY 10017. Please visit Bronx Community College on its website at www.bcc.cuny.edu or www.acctsearches.org for additional information. All inquiries, nominations and applications will be held in the strictest confidence. CUNY is an EO/AA/IRCA/ADA employer with a strong commitment to racial, cultural and ethnic diversity.
56044 CUNY Hispanic Outlook 2/3 pg 4.875” X 9.75” 2.18.15 p2
FACULTY SEARCH Rutgers University – Camden is the southern campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. It is located in a dynamic urban area, just across the Delaware River from downtown Philadelphia. The campus includes undergraduate and graduate Arts and Sciences programs, a School of Business, a School of Law, and a School of Nursing. Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice Associate Professor in Anthropology (Tenure-Track) For specific information about this position, including qualifications and deadlines, see our website at http://fas.camden.rutgers.edu/facultyresearch/fas-job-searches. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability status, genetic information, protected veteran status, military service, or any other category protected by law. As an institution, we value diversity of background and opinion, and prohibit discrimination or harassment on the basis of any legally protected class in the areas of hiring, recruitment, promotion, transfer, demotion, training, compensation, pay, fringe benefits, layoff, termination, or any other terms and conditions of employment.
The University of South Florida System is a high-impact, global research system dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three institutions: USF; USF St. Petersburg; and USF Sarasota-Manatee. The institutions are separately accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. All institutions have distinct missions and their own detailed strategic plans. Serving more than 47,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Administrative and Executive Positions: Student Affairs Assistant Vice President for Wellness (Wellness) Program Director (Housing & Residential Education) USF Health Executive Services Associate Vice President Quality, Safety & Risk (Health Sciences) Senior Associate General Counsel (Office of the General Counsel) Faculty Positions: Academic Affairs ESL Instructor (Pathway Program) Adjunct Instructor English Language Program (Pathway Program) Digital Scholarship & Publishing Librarian (Tampa Campus Library) Digital Learning Initiatives Coordinator (Tampa Campus Library) Instructional Technologist/Blended Librarian (Tampa Campus Library) Research Services Coordinator Librarian (Tampa Campus Library) College of Medicine Senior Bioinformatics Scientist (Dept. of Pediatrics) Postdoctoral Scholar Research (Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology)
Research Associate (Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology)
College of Pharmacy Assistant /Associate Professor / Professor of Critical Care Medicine (Pharmacotherapeutics & Clinical Research) College of Public Health Instructor I in Undergraduate Studies (Office of Academic Affairs) For a job description on the above listed positions including department, disciple and deadline dates: (1) visit our Careers@USF Web site at https://employment.usf. edu/applicants/jsp/shared/Welcome_css.jsp; or (2) contact The Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, (813) 974-4373; or (3) call USF job line at 813.974.2879. USF is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution, committed to excellence through diversity in education and employment.
Contra Costa College Search for a President San Pablo, California
Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) has announced the search for the next President of Contra Costa College (CCC), the oldest and most diverse college in the District. The District is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California serving a population of 1,019,640 people. With an enrollment of about 10,000 students, the College is located in the Northern California Bay Area about 30 miles north of San Francisco. Contra Costa College is a comprehensive community college that primarily serves the residents of West Contra Costa County. The College is designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution, is a leader in community college education and has a history of program excellence with strong ties to the community it serves. The College has two major construction projects slated for completion next year including a new classroom building and a new campus center which will include all student services functions, dining, the bookstore, and new college administrative offices. The new President will report to the CCCCD Chancellor and will serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the College. The President is responsible for the delivery of educational and other services provided by the College. The District seeks an innovative leader who will provide vision and direction for the collegeâ€™s future. For the position profile and information about the search, please visit: http://apptrkr.com/585688 The target date for applications is: April 20, 2015 For additional information, nominations, and confidential inquiries please contact: Pam Fisher, Ed.D., at email@example.com or (406) 570-0516 Narcisa Polonio, Ed.D., at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 276-1983.
A premier Community College
Hispanic Outlook 2/3 page Issue 3-9-15 Deadline 2-26-15
DEAN OF THE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND APPLIED SCIENCES HARVARD UNIVERSITY Harvard University invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). As head of this diverse and intellectually rich enterprise, the Dean must be an inspiring leader, a strategic thinker, an effective manager able to envision and drive change, a recruiter and developer of talent, and a tireless advocate for the School. The Dean must be qualified to lead accomplished researchers and innovative educators. The successful candidate must also be a passionate champion of the importance of, and the immense contributions made by, engineering to the world. Harvard’s SEAS is a source of groundbreaking research and innovative teaching in engineering, the applied sciences, and technology. It also serves as a connector and integrator of efforts in these fields across Harvard and beyond. Through collaboration with researchers from all parts of Harvard, other universities, and corporate and foundational partners, SEAS brings discovery and innovation directly to bear on improving human life and society. The Dean, working with the SEAS community, should have the capacity to frame a powerful vision for SEAS’s future, one which maximizes SEAS’s connections across Harvard, takes advantage of the depth of the University’s intellectual resources and facilities, and more fully integrates engineering and applied science into undergraduate education and broader intellectual life at Harvard. SEAS seeks a Dean with a track record of leadership accomplishment and building teams. The Dean must think strategically and be able to build consensus around his or her inspiring vision. The Dean of SEAS will have the opportunity to lead a highly energetic, enthusiastic, and growing team, harnessing their potential to create a more influential role for the School in both engineering education and research within the University, the nation, and the world. The Dean will not only be a leading figure in his or her field, he or she should also have the intellectual breadth needed to effectively represent, and work with, the different disciplines represented in the faculty. The Dean must also understand, maintain, and advance the connections that SEAS has throughout the University. In addition to these internal relationships, the Dean should be comfortable speaking with donors and alumni, undertaking public relations, and facilitating funding from foundations and agencies at the national level. She or he must be ready to actively, and immediately, participate in the current fundraising campaign. The Dean must persuasively articulate the School’s vision, goals, accomplishments, and needs both internally and externally. The School will look to the new Dean to lead by the guiding principle, to “grow, without growing apart.” SEAS aims to preserve the dynamic culture and close connections established at the School while expanding its ability to build bridges within the classroom, across the campus, and around the world. Harvard University has retained Russell Reynolds Associates, a national executive search firm, to assist with this critical search. Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. Interested candidates should submit confidentially, in electronic form, a curriculum vitae or resume and a bullet point summary of accomplishments in leadership roles, plus any supporting materials that they deem relevant to: Mirah A. Horowitz Consultant to the Search Committee Russell Reynolds Associates Harvard.SEAS@russellreynolds.com The University web site providing relevant information for this search is http://www.seas.harvard.edu/about-seas/employment/dean
Harvard is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
Priming the Pump…
Giving Latino Students a Sense of Adventure By Miquela Rivera, PhD
Adventure is worthwhile. - Aesop
ew are the instructors who haven’t faced an audience with at least some students rolling their eyes, sighing or texting instead of paying attention to the discussion. When a student’s boredom is stronger than his interest in the class, there is a problem. Are adolescent Latinos expecting everything to be fast and entertaining? Do they need the brutal action of movies or the change of stimuli that occurs every 30 seconds on television to sustain their attention? Or are they simply unable to master the academic material, get connected and understand how it fits into the scheme of things? All of those possible reasons for boredom are internal – up to the student to resolve – but what can an instructor do to help? Call upon the students’ sense of adventure. Most young children -- Latinos included – have an innate curiosity and creativity. They want to know what’s around the corner, in every drawer at Nana’s house or how things work. And once they figure that out, they begin to figure out how new things can be created from information and objects they already have. (And when the new inventions don’t work well, they’ll keep trying). The creativity that comes with childhood adventure helps foster self-confidence, resourcefulness and resilience. Adventure also helps a young Latino develop decision-making skills. When faced with a problem to solve in a game or activity, they youngster must weigh the risks and act accordingly – then live with the consequences. With appropriate limits and support by adults, children can push themselves to do something safely that they otherwise would not have considered – and in the process master their own fears, anxiety and self-doubt. The emotional growth that comes with adventure is also significant. Moving from fear to courage and from risk to reward can come from the challenges in a scavenger hunt, a playground game or wilderness outing. Electronic games purport skill-building through virtual adventures, but the effects are not the same intellectually, socially or physically as they are with actual in-vivo interactive and outdoor activities. Don’t let a parent convince you that the electronic adventures are adequate because they are safer. And don’t let a kid brag about his virtual ex-
MARCH 9, 2015
ploits and conquests if he hasn’t mastered the ones outside his own door. Adventure teaches the range of emotions and helps the child realize that both hardship and pleasure are fleeting-- and all healthy, normal and to be expected. A young Latino also learns self-efficacy through adventure. Whether it is fixing a beloved bike, building a clubhouse for cousins and neighbors to visit, or developing a tool or game from spare parts, the child learns self-confidence, self-sufficiency and resourcefulness. The “I do it!” exclamation of toddlerhood is heard again during adolescence – “I did it!” What can an instructor do if that sense of adventure seems missing Latino students? Build adventure into the curriculum and the classroom. Challenge students to find adventure in the material being taught, irrelevant as it might seem to many. Craft assignments to assure that students will move beyond the 50-minute lecture and take the learning outside the classroom, integrating it with other classes or aspects of their lives. Assign students to create an experience or adventure using the concepts being taught. Through cooperation required in group projects and competition that arises between groups in the class, the adventure – and learning – move to a higher level. Whenever possible, instructors benefit by occasionally moving instruction outdoors to force a students to observe and sense things differently than when they are plopped in their hard, plastic desk chairs in the classroom. And if the class seems too dull or dormant to latch onto those assignments with excitement, call upon the tried-and-true – childhood fairytales or modern novels (like Harry Potter) that teach of fear, adventure, loss and challenge – and discuss how the material being taught in class relates to the life lessons in those childhood stories. Advisors can help Latino students in higher education rediscover the adventure in learning, too, by encouraging students to take a wide range of courses that fit within their program of study – even courses that seem “hard” or “not-so-fun.” Sometimes meeting the challenge of mastering the material or finding the fun in a new area of study is an adventure in itself. Miquela Rivera, PhD, is a licensed psychologist with years of clinical, early childhood and consultative experience. She lives in Albuquerque, N.M.
Visit our webpage for daily updates on the Hispanic in Higher Education World and to find jobs in Higher Education. You can also post your o...
Published on Mar 9, 2015
Visit our webpage for daily updates on the Hispanic in Higher Education World and to find jobs in Higher Education. You can also post your o...