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Latin American Studies: Undergraduate Programs

Track student performance through course grades, regular meetings with departmental advisor

Almost all the current LAS majors and minors have taken at least one of the six Tier 1 INDV or TRAD courses that focus on Latin America. A majority of LAS undergraduates have taken the INDV 102 introductory course on Modern Latin America, a Social Science Perspective. The INDV and TRAD courses have encouraged students to declare a LAS major or minor (many having double majors with Spanish, Sociology or Political Science). In 2003-04 there were approximately 70 LAS majors and 30 minors. This represents a 50 to 60% increase in majors and at least a 100% increase in minors compared to three or four years ago. The Tier 1 courses have played a large role in attracting new majors and minors. Two LAS majors received Outstanding Senior awards in 2002 (one in SBS and one in Humanities) and a LAS major and Flinn scholar was Outstanding Senior for SBS in May 2004. One current senior is a Flinn Scholar, and at least two other majors are working on Honors theses. Several LAS majors are taking Portuguese for Spanish Speakers (Port 305) in addition to meeting their Spanish competency requirement.

Changes Made on Basis of Findings

Lower division undergraduates interested in the LAS major are strongly encouraged to take at least one or two of the growing number of Tier One and Tier Two courses that focus on Latin America or Mexico (at present 6 Tier One and 4 Tier Two). The INDV 102 course taught by CLAS faculty includes an honors discussion section and a Spanish-speaking discussion section.

Three new, interdisciplinary 400/500 level courses with CLAS as home department have been added to the program’s offerings for its majors and minors. CLAS is also considering a Tier II course to serve as an introduction to Latin American society and politics for majors, minors and others interested in contemporary Latin America.

Academic Degree Programs: