WICHITA — Wichita State University is now offering a certificate program in Latin American and Latinx Studies at the undergraduate level.
"Students can learn about their culture, as well as Latino cultures in the United States or Latin America," said Rocio Del Aguila, assistant professor of Spanish. "The certificate’s interdisciplinarity also helps them learn different ways of doing things. It can also help them develop global competency and global citizenship."
The Latin American and Latinx Studies certificate is 12 credit hours and will give students specialization in an area that may enhance their employability in a broad variety of occupations, including the international business, social services, public health and education sectors.
Anyone pursuing the certificate may take courses from several departments, ranging from anthropology and art to music performance, philosophy and political science. Basic understanding of Spanish or Portuguese languages is required, and students may use approved study abroad credits to partially fulfill the requirements.
In the case of Latinx studies, del Aguila said, it is important to understand how the Hispanic population has always been an integral part of the United States. Spanish was spoken here before other modern languages, and the southern half of the United States was Mexico until 1848.
"We need to learn more about the Latinx community in order to better understand our own reality," del Aguila said.
According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, in 2010, 12.2 percent of people in Kansas identified as Hispanic or Latino. Pew Research has determined that in 2019, the number of Hispanics in the U.S. reached a record 60.6 million, or 18 percent of the population.