Hispanic heritage month

Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries-Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Also, Mexico declared its independence on September 16, and Chile declared its independence on September 18.

“It’s not every year that we can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by hiring a distinguished scholar, but this year, we are pleased to kick off the festivities by introducing the UGA and Athens community to a new professor, Pedro R. Portes,” said Paul Duncan, Assistant Director of UGA’s Latin American & Caribbean Studies Institute. Portes has been named to The Goizueta Foundation Distinguished Chair of Latino Teacher Education.

Portes, who was a professor of educational and counseling psychology at the University of Louisville before coming to UGA’s College of Education, is an expert in cultural identity development as well as parent-child interaction and cognitive development.

In his new position, Portes will help lead Latino educational and research efforts on the UGA campus and across Georgia. He also will provide vision and leadership for UGA’s Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education, a unit based in the College of Education. CLASE helps facilitate the educational achievement of Latino youth so they complete their K-12 education, and it supports access to post-secondary educational opportunities. It provides professional development and research-based knowledge about how best to improve Latino educational achievement to Georgia educators.

Additionally, UGA is offering new undergraduate major in Latin American and Caribbean studies. The new interdisciplinary program of study is administered by LACSI, which is housed in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and aims to produce students with high levels of language competence and in-depth understanding of the societies, cultures, politics, and economies of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean. LACSI also will continue to offer its undergraduate certificate in Latin American and Caribbean studies.

Hispanic Heritage Month activities run through October 15. For a complete listing of all UGA and Athens community events, see the LACSI Web site linked above.