The project brought CSN faculty from several different disciplines—including history, English, psychology, sociology, political science, art history, even Italian—together for topical workshops and field trips so that they might each incorporate more Latino history and culture into their courses. Faculty worked together to create flexible learning modules that could be used in a variety of classes taught at the community college. They covered an array of subject matter, including Mexican murals, American literature produced by Latino/a authors, and revolution and dictatorships in Chile and Argentina. Visiting scholars gave presentations on Mexican literature, the Central American diaspora in the U.S., and Spanish detective fiction. “The students who attended the talks by the visiting scholars really enjoyed them,” recalled Professor Valerie Hecht. “They engaged with the speakers as much as the faculty did.” And, working with the local community, faculty at CSN also integrated more experiential learning opportunities into their courses. Spanish students now visit a local Latino supermarket where they are immersed in the language and culture of Las Vegas Latinos.
A partnership with the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) at the University of Pittsburgh—which shares resources nationally and internationally through its outreach programs—was key to the success of this grant. Four CSN faculty were invited to Pittsburgh, where they discussed the project at CLAS’s annual conference and used the university’s library for research. The partnership with CLAS has led to additional professional development opportunities for CSN faculty, including funded educational trips to Cuba and the Yucatan, which faculty then showcased to students through CSN’s “Postcards from Abroad” series.