Campus News

LACSI director, faculty working to take institute to ‘the next level’

Richard Gordon

Richard A. Gordon, who joined the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences as director last July, brims with enthusiasm when he talks about LACSI’s past successes and future potential.

“When I came to UGA last year, I found a vibrant organization that has already accomplished amazing things,” Gordon said. “Clearly, these achievements owe just as much to the commitment and creativity of LACSI’s diverse faculty, as to the leadership of past directors including Brent Berlin, Doris Kadish and Robert Moser.

“LACSI is now poised to become a national model for interdisciplinary research, teaching, public service and outreach projects,” he also said. “I am looking forward to working with faculty, staff, students and community members to take LACSI to the next level.”

LACSI has grown steadily over the past two semesters and now has more than 150 core faculty and affiliates from all of UGA’s colleges and professional schools.

To share the vital work being done by LACSI’s faculty with UGA and the surrounding community, the institute hosts monthly “Cross-Disciplinary Conversations” at the bright yellow house, known as the Casa Amarilla, at 290 S. Hull St., across from Holiday Inn. These 15-minute lectures, followed by 45 minutes of open discussion, address specific research projects or current issues of broad importance.

LACSI offers an array of academic programs: a graduate certificate, an undergraduate major, minor, and certificate, and the Portuguese Flagship Program.

Building on this solid foundation, LACSI is ready to take the next step in its development.

Since his arrival, Gordon has worked with LACSI faculty coordinators to form a series of new initiatives grounded in innovative research, instruction, service and outreach, including:Language Without Borders; Latin American Indigenous Languages; Latin American and Latino Cultural Ambassadors Initiative; K-12 Service and Education Initiative; Ethnobotanical Garden Initiative; Latin American Sustainable Agriculture; Latin American and Latino STEM Education; and Southern Latino Research.

LACSI’s new website highlights these initiatives and explains how to get involved through collaboration and giving.

Before coming to UGA, Gordon was a faculty member at Ohio State University. His research focuses mainly on historical film and social identity, and investigates the capacity for cinema to influence how people understand the social groups to which they belong.