Dr. Joseph Castro, the first Latino president in Fresno State history, will kick off the Forum on the Latino University Experience, which will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, in the Satellite Student Union.

Presented by the Latina/o Faculty and Staff Association, the working theme of the event is “A 2015 Roundtable Discussion of the Status of Latinos at Fresno State and a Renewed Plan for Action.”

Through the forum, LFSA seeks to identify concerns and issues facing Latina/o students, faculty and staff, said Dr. Victor Torres, Chicano and Latin-American Studies professor who is the LFSA president.

“Findings from the forum will help us prepare recommendations to submit to President Castro at the end of the semester or early summer to develop a plan of action,” Torres said.

“It has been 45 years since Chicano students at Fresno State initiated a movement to open the doors to higher education with the establishment of Ethnic Studies programs and the Educational Opportunity Program,” he explained. “This is a call to assess where we have been, what is working and what we need to do to continue in our mission of helping Latino students and employees at Fresno State succeed.”outlook-in-higher-ed

President Castro, who was recently named an “Agent of Change” by Hispanic Outlook magazine, will welcome the participants at 10 a.m. Other speakers include Dr. Frank Lamas, vice president for Student Affairs and Torres.

“It’s an honor to be considered an ‘Agent of Change’ by Hispanic Outlook but the true honor is for the many Latino and other faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends at this university who over the past five decades have ardently, sometimes very passionately and at great sacrifice, built a foundation for access to higher education and academic success for underrepresented communities,” Castro said. “They, too, are the true agents of change for the better here at Fresno State.”

The forum will feature three sessions: one dedicated to students (10:15 a.m.) and one to staff (12:10 p.m.) in roundtable format. The third will consist of presentations at 11:10 a.m. by faculty and staff related to the Latino university experience at Fresno State:

  • “Latino Student Health Issues at Fresno State” by Dr. Helda Pinzon-Perez, Rachel Doherty and Naomi Yadeta;
  • Are we there yet? The State of the Latina/o Faculty on Campus”  by Prof. Alex Espinoza;
  • “Latinos in Higher Education: Understanding ‘Pipeline’ Issues” by Dr. Angel Sanchez;
  • “Professional Development Training: How do CSU Institutions Respond to the Needs of Their Employees?” by Nidia “Nee” Lehman and Dr. Victor Olivares.

The event is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs with support from the Departments of Art and Design and Chicano and Latin American Studies, Kennel Bookstore and Vallarta Supermarket.

Snacks and refreshments will be provided. Registration is available online at bit.ly/LFSAforumSp15register.  For more information, contact Torres at 559.278.4115 or Ambar Alvarez-Soto at 559.278.6098.

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