From the Director
In this issue of Noticias, we feature several of the faculty who hold tenured or tenure-track positions here at the University of Houston-Central campus. In reading their articles, it is possible to learn their areas of expertise and also their backgrounds. They are a very talented and engaging group who are dedicated o their chosen professions and fields of study. The University as well as CMAS is fortunate to have them on campus.
Featuring them provides me an opportunity to delve into the significant role that Hispanic professors play throughout the U.S., more specifically, the significant role that Mexican American professors in the Southwest have when it relates to the Mexican American student population.
It takes great deal of time and effort to obtain the credentials to become a professor. Usually, it takes a Ph.D. in a particular discipline, but not always. People can become professors based upon their accomplishments in the world outside of academia. This may include writing literary work or producing art or music that received high acclaim. Or even being an innovative entrepreneur. But, for the most part, a person must earn a Ph.D. to compete for a position at any university. Most of the Mexican American professors at the University of Houston central campus have a Ph.D. in the Humanities, Fine Arts, Social Sciences, or Education. Examples of their expertise include art, English, history, psychology, sociology, political science, anthropology, Spanish and education. There are also two Mexican American faculty in the UH Law School. There are very few Mexican Americans, if any, in areas like Engineering, Business, or the physical sciences, primarily because there are very few of us who have earned a Ph.D. in these areas.
Mexican American professors play an important part in integrating Mexican American-related courses and, therefore, our existence into institutions of higher education. Prior to the 1970s, there were no any courses taught at the university level that dealt with Mexican American history, art, psychology, literature, political behavior, culture, social issues, etc. This began to change in the 1960s when Mexican Americans began enrolling in institutions of higher education in large numbers. Many of them went on to pursue a Ph.D. By the end of the seventies, they constituted the first large intellectual class of Mexican Americans in the history of the U.S. Many of these scholars created an taught the initial Mexican American-related courses and were...