The 2020-2021 academic outlined the “new normal” as the nation struggled to overcome the pandemic. As we embraced the challenges set forth by COVID-19, CMAS engaged the academic year with only two goals: to help our students achieve their dreams and to advance the Center’s research agenda.
This year, the University of Houston’s Undergraduate Committee approved CMAS’ Major in Mexican American and Latino/a Applied Studies. There is still a long way to go before we begin this major, but now the seed has been planted, and we remain optimistic about the innovative and interdisciplinary design of the curriculum. Our Minor in Mexican American Studies increased its enrollment by 24% compared to last year. We want to pay special tribute to Associate Director, Dr Cortina, for his stewardship of the major. The major is long past due, and we are grateful to him for his leadership.
Our forty Academic Achievers Program (AAP) students from more than ten different colleges finished the academic year with a strong 3.39 average GPA. Our external program grants that help to fund and grow the AAP increased by 75% thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of my colleagues who run the program and write grants, and thanks to the community members who believe in and support CMAS’s mission. Special acknowledgment to our AAP Director, Fely Aguilar who has cared for and advised our students through this very challenging year.
We took the opportunities that, regrettably, the pandemic presented to us. As the Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR) headquarters, we concentrated our efforts to improve how researchers across the country interact, share ideas, and collaborate to advance the Latino research agenda.
Lastly, I want to thank my colleagues at CMAS for their commitment to our mission and for their hard work. They always put the well-being of our students before their own. It is this collective and selfless effort that makes CMAS remain true to its mission. I also want to thank all our supporters and alumni for their support and trust.