Latinx and Latin American Studies Program

About us


  • To teach, research, and serve focusing on social justice for Latinxs in the U.S., Latin America, and the diaspora around the world.

  • To contribute to and advocate for equitable and sustainable development of the Latinx communities in the Kansas City region and beyond.

  • To partner with others to advance the wellbeing of Latinxs and society at large.

1 LLS and its mission bolster its important role in UMKC's Strategic Plan 2010-2020, and, more specifically, in addressing and achieving: Goal 1. Place Student Success at the Center, Goal 3. Advance Urban Engagement, Goal 5. Embrace Diversity, and Goal 6. Promote Research and Economic Development in the Strategic Plan.

Vision Statement

To be a prominent reference for social justice teaching, research, service, and advocacy related to Latinxs in the Midwest and the U.S., Latin Americans, and the diaspora around the world.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand and interpret the history, experiences, and contributions of Latinxs in the historical and ongoing formation of U.S. society.

  2. Examine the conditions, roles, and diversity of Latinxs in the U.S., Latin Americans, and their diasporas.

  3. Analyze the contributions of Latinx and Latin American Studies to the understanding and enrichment of the world.

  4. Employ Latinx and Latin American Studies theories and practices to assess societal challenges and promote social justice.

Program Objectives

  1. Develop a strong and coherent curriculum
    • Assess existing courses that have the potential to become part of the LLS curriculum
    • Identify current courses that can be adapted to fit the LLS curriculum
    • Create new courses, e.g. Introduction to Latina/Latino Studies
    • Offer those courses identified, adapted or created on a regular systematic basis
    • Enhance course offerings with lectures, colloquia and conferences
    • Serve as a sponsor or co-sponsor for non-classroom events
    • Assist in the creation and addition of library resources on Latino/Chicano Studies
  2. Establish a connectedness between and among the classroom, research and the community
    • Link research ideas that begin in the classroom with outreach into the Latino community; the community environment creates research opportunities
    • Support and work with not only LLS faculty, but all interested UMKC faculty to engage in outreach scholarship activities in Kansas City's Latino communities
    • Provide research opportunities for Latina/o students through faculty mentoring, e.g. SEARCH or internships
  3. Support the recruitment of Latina/o faculty
    • Increase the number of LLS faculty in order to offer a reasonable number of LLS courses on a regular rotating basis
    • Cooperate with other A&S Departments and units to identify and recruit talented Latina/o faculty candidates
  4. Perform outreach on multiple levels


    • Increase the number of both Latina/o undergraduate and graduate students; effective recruitment is crucial for the success of LLS and its curriculum
    • Begin to recruit students earlier in the Pre-K to 12 educational pipeline, at the latest in middle school
    • Create educational learning activities for Pre K-12 students, e.g. Saturday Science program
  5. Parents and Family

    • Bring parents and extended family to campus so they become knowledgeable about the campus, thereby increasing the comfort level/trust with Latina/o families
    • Develop educational activities for siblings of current Latina/o students or those who are UMKC graduates, e.g. Library scavenger hunt


    • Create and/or strengthen ties with Pre K-12 schools in the greater Kansas City metropolitan region
    • Visit Pre-K to 12 grades to help students understand the value of going to college
    • Work with area community colleges to decrease and/or eliminate the barriers of transferring to UMKC

    Latina/o Professionals

    • Strengthen ties with UMKC Latina/o alumni
    • Engage other area Latina/o professionals in LLS activities

    Community Organizations

    • Establish and/or strengthen alliances with local Latina/o community organizations, e.g. Guadalupe Center (KCMO), El Centro (KCK), Dos Mundos, KC Hispanic News, Mattie Rhodes Art and Counseling Center, The Mexican Consulate, Latino Writers Collective
    • Create alliances/connections with local non-Latina/o organizations, e.g. Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City Public Libraries and Kansas City Museum

      Vision Statement

To be a prominent reference for social justice teaching, research, service, and advocacy related to Latinxs in the Midwest and the U.S., Latin Americans, and the diaspora around the world.