TAMIU Offers New Cooperative Ph.D. Program in Hispanic Studies

TAMIU Offers New Cooperative Ph.D. Program in Hispanic Studies

Texas A&M International University has teamed up with three Texas A&M University System universities to offer the first Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies in the state.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the program offering at its quarterly meeting last month.

TAMIU students may now pursue a cooperative doctoral degree in Hispanic Studies in Laredo through graduate courses taught in person and via distance education by faculty members at TAMIU, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Courses taught at TAMIU will also be broadcast to students pursuing the doctoral degree in the three other System universities.

Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive a doctoral degree in Hispanic Studies from Texas A&M University.

TAMIU President Dr. Ray Keck said the new program will allow Laredoans to pursue the highest degree in education in an area that is of most interest to the Hispanic community.

"The program in Hispanic Studies allows Laredoans to pursue a doctoral level study in the area nearest to our lives, our history and our culture," Dr. Keck said, "The program is designed to allow a student great flexibility in choosing a career path. It is possible to follow a tradition, literature-and-language route. But there are also options for bilingual education, linguistics, history, ethno studies, and the social sciences that are interesting."

Students will focus on one of four overlapping concentrations: Hispanic Language and Literature, Hispanic Cultural Studies, Linguistics and Pedagogy and Bilingual and Bicultural Studies. Graduates from this program are expected to be able to help address the complex issues from the growing socio-economic realities facing the largest minority group in the United States.

Now a reality, the program will start recruiting immediately and will begin offering courses in Fall 2004. Students interested must meet admission requirements for doctoral study set by Texas A&M University.

The Department of Language and Literature has scheduled two information sessions for interested students. They will be held Wednesday, Feb. 11, from 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. and on Thursday, Feb. 12, from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 420. Faculty members will also be available to answer questions about the new Ph.D. program.

Dr. Nasser Momayezi, dean of the TAMIU College of Arts and Sciences, said Laredoans will no longer have to leave their hometown to pursue doctoral study.

"This cooperative Ph.D. program will foster a sense of identity and value, particularly among Hispanic students, even as such programs make a significant contribution in addressing the complex issues derived from the population growth and the socioeconomic realities that Texas and the nation will face in the 21st Century," Dr. Momayezi said.

TAMIU professors who will teach in the program are Dr. Kati Pletsch de García, Dr. Ezra Engling, Dr. Bill Nichols and Dr. José Cardona-López, with Dr. Pletsch de García acting as program director on campus, Momayezi said.

Dr. Keck, one of the leading forces behind the program's establishment, said since everyone in education agrees that cooperative ventures such as this are best, State approval of the Ph.D. program in Hispanic Studies was easy.

"And who would oppose the notion that South Texas is the natural place to study Spanish and Hispanic culture? The hard part was bringing all the parties together and working through the proposal. But that is all done," Keck said.

Keck said the program offering is crucial to the community.

"To have doctoral-level research and teaching happening on this campus, in Hispanic Studies, means that issues related to the Hispanic world are being studied and contemplated here in the very most intense and meticulous and responsible environment," Keck said, "I think the first cohort will be a stellar group. The number of outstanding people who have expressed interest is truly astounding. !Manos a la obra! (Let's get to work!)"

For further information, please contact College of Arts and Sciences dean Nasser Momayezi, at 326-2460, e-mail nmomayezi@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in Killam Library, room 428.

Prospective students may also contact Dr. Kati Pletsch de García, program director at TAMIU, at 326-2614, e-mail kdegarcia@tamiu.edu or visit offices in Killam Library, room 428A.

University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu