DMC M.A.S. program passes leadership

As the Spring semester wines down on the Heritage Campus, students and faculty trudge through their finals and begin to look forward to their respective Summer activities.

Two faculty members will begin to take on new routines by the end of the vacation, as the legacy of Del Mar College’s Mexican American Studies (MAS) program and its coordinator position will be handed off.

Professor Javier Morin is currently the coordinator of the MAS program at Del Mar College, and will be handing off his role to Dr. Isabel Araiza at the end of the summer. Their final project as a team will be the 10th Annual MAS Summer Seminar which will take place July 27 on the Heritage Campus. The event is free and open to the public. The duo has been co-coordinating the program this semester. 

“I have been shadowing Mr. Morin and learning his approach,” said Araiza

One task the coordinator has is planning and organizing community outreach events such as the Summer Seminar. Some responsibilities included in the process are creating flyers, organizing catering arrangements, and recruiting guest speakers.

Araiza has attended every MAS symposium that Del Mar has held and has presented as the keynote speaker as well as a panelist. This year she will be giving the introductory speech.

Araiza held the coordinator position of the MAS program at TAMUCC from 2017-22, where Mexican-American studies is only offered to students as a minor. With her valuable experience she also brings excitement about being a part of the program at DMC specifically.

Araiza marveled at resources available to students at the Center for Mexican American Studies, located in the Coles Building Rm. 133. There students can find literature and film available for check out through collaborative efforts with the library and other programs.

“Del Mar is very committed to being community and student serving. In our meetings we always ask, will this decision be serving our students?” Araiza continued, stating that the department “Has been very thoughtful about the transition and wanting the program to continue.”

With support from the college and a strong infrastructure already in place, Dr. Araiza has a vision to “increase the visibility of the program to a broader community.”

The primary goal of the program coordinator is to increase the number of students majoring in MAS. One way Araiza plans to do this is by showing students “The value of a MAS degree and the intrinsic value of learning … I want to see people enrolled at Del Mar because they want to major in MAS,” she explained, and added “a MAS major can get you excited about learning.”

In 2011 the college added the Associate of Arts degree in Mexican American Studies and the Texas Coordinating Board recognized the degree as fully transferable to all Texas public colleges and universities.

The program aligns with Del Mar College’s designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), which furthers Mexican American Studies as a relevant and dynamic field of study for academic growth and personal enrichment. An HSI designation is based on the percentage of students enrolled who are Hispanic. Schools that qualify have the opportunity to compete for extra funding, which is then used to benefit everyone at the institution regardless of ethnicity.

Araiza explained the significance of the program not only educationally but also culturally.

“Majoring in MAS has the ability to raise consciousness and question assumptions,” Araiza said. She continued, “If more people had the opportunity to learn about our culture, we would feel more confident, stronger, and be more likely to be civically active.”

Graduates in MAS demonstrate an understanding of the historical, political and contemporary experiences of Mexican-American men and women in South Texas and throughout the United States. 

They will also become familiar with Mexican-American aesthetics as displayed in literature, language, music, visual arts and cultural practices.

To learn more about becoming a Mexican-American Studies major visit Room 133 in the Coles Building.

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