Chican@ and Latin@ Studies

College of Letters & Science

CLS History

The 1970s

  • 1974: University of Wisconsin student activists begin picketing on April 14, 1974 for a Chicano Studies Department.
  • 1975: UW students and local activists formed La Raza Unida Party to press the University for the creation of the new department.
  • 1976: Chicano Studies established in the School of Education. The initial focus of the program was on student recruitment and retention.
  • 1976-79: Budget support for Chicano Studies first became available in the academic year 1976-1977. However, the first Program Director was not appointed until the beginning of academic year 1979-80. Prior to August 1979, Assistant Professor Richard Ruíz, Educational Policy Studies, chaired a committee charged with submitting recommendations to the Chancellor regarding Chicano Studies development.
  • 1979-80: Dr. Adalberto Aguirre, was appointed Program Director at academic staff level. He resigned his position at the end of the academic year. 

The 1980s

  • 1980: Walter Lane served as interim Program Director. Mr. Lane administered the Program from temporary offices at the old Education Building. He served until 1981.
  • 1981: José de Paz, M.A., was appointed Program Director. He assumed leadership of the program at the newly established offices at 175 Science Hall and he served until 1982. 
  • 1981: In the fall of 1981, Dr. Prospero Saíz offered the first Chicano Studies course titled, Comparative Literature 379: Literacy Group Experiences – The Chicano. The course was team taught by Drs. Ketchum, Ruiz, Saíz, Tienda, and De Paz. 
  • 1983: Ismael Rodriguez served as interim director during the summer of 1983.
  • 1983: Mario Compean appointed Chief Program Administrator and he served until 1988.
  • 1988: Chicano Studies was transferred to the College of Letters and Science from the School of Education in August 1988.
  • 1988: Diego Vigil became the Director of Chicano Studies and he served until 1989.
  • 1989: Mario Compean became Acting Director and he served until 1991.

The 1990s

  • 1990: Dr. Richard Flores (Anthropology) hired as Assistant Professor and appointed Acting Director.
  • 1991: Dr. Richard Flores became Program Director and he served until 1992.
  • 1991: The following Assistant Professors joined the faculty: Rubén Donato (Educational Policy Studies), Ben Marquez (Political Science), and Rubén Medina (Spanish).
  • 1992: Chicano Studies certificate created.  It was the first certificate in an ethnic studies created at the University of Wisconsin ethnic studies program.
  • 1992: Dr. Rubén Donato became Program Director and he served until 1993.
  • 1993: Jim Escalante became Program Director and he served until 1995.
  • 1996: Dr. Shaun Kanaiaupuni (Sociology & Chicano Studies) hired as an Assistant Professor in Sociology and Chicano Studies.
  • 1995: Chicano Studies moved into its new offices in Ingraham Hall.
  • 1995: Dr. Ben Marquez (Political Science) became Program Director and he served until 1997.
  • 1997: Dr. Prospero Saíz became Program Director of Chicano Studies and he served until 2000
  • 1997: Dr. Dionne Espinoza hired as an Assistant Professor in Women’s Studies and Chicano Studies.
  • 1998: The name of the program was changed from Chicano Studies to Chicana/o Studies. 

The 2000s

  • 2000: Dr. Rubén Medina (Spanish & Portuguese) became Program Director and he served until 2003.
  • 2002: Dr. Professor Camille Guerin-Gonzalez hired as full time faculty member in Chicana/o Studies.
  • 2003: Dr. Camille Guerin Gonzalez became Program Director and she served until 2006.
  • 2003: Dr. Mary Beltran hired as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Arts.
  • 2003: The program newsletter Regeneración and Concientización an academic student journal were launched.
  • 2005: The program’s name was changed to the Chican@/Latin@ Studies Program.
  • 2006: Dr. Alberta M. Gloria became Program Director in 2006 and she served until 2008.
  • 2006: The Regent Salas Academic Activist Scholarship was created.
  • 2008: Dr. Sandy Magaña became Program Director. She served until 2011.
  • 2008: Sylvia Garcia, who had picketed the UW as a student to advocate for Chicano Studies in 1974, rejoined CLS as the program administrator.
  • 2009: Dr. Birgit Brander Rasmussen hired as an Assistant Professor.

2010 to today

  • 2011: Petra Guerra became Associate Director.  She served until 2013.
  • 2012: Frieda Zuckerberg became the Chican@ Latin@ Studies Program Student Advisor and she serveduntil 2014.
  • 2013: Camille Guerin-Gonzales became Program Director.
  • 2014: Dr. Ben Marquez became Program Director in the spring of 2014.
  • 2014: Dr. Alberta M. Gloria became Program Director in the fall of 2014 and she served until the spring of 2015.
  • 2014: Rachelle Eilers became the Chican@ Latin@ Studies Program Student Advisor.
  • 2015: Dr. Ben Marquez become Program Director in the fall of 2015.

Our Program has experienced both struggles and successes.  It is with great appreciation that we honor the persistent energies and commitment of those who have worked and continue to do so to make the program the success it is today.