New program to bring opportunity of international study

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Sam Houston State University will become an even bigger center for cultural and international studies next spring after the Southwest Council Of Latin American Studies (SCOLAS) relocates from Baylor University.

“The United States Southwest has been and will remain the scene of the greatest contact between Hispanic and Anglo cultures,” said Debra Andrist Ph.D., the chair of Foreign Languages and a SCOLAS member. “The region’s long Hispanic heritage has helped create a prominent role for scholars of languages, history and cultures, and for that reason, SCOLAS has enjoyed one of the largest bases for any regional Latin American conference in the United States since l968.”

According to Andrist, SCOLAS is an interdisciplinary organization that deals with Latin American-related issues. SCOLAS hosts annual conferences in the southwestern United States and abroad; after the March 2009 conference in Santo Domingo, SCOLAS will move to SHSU. It will remain here for at least five years.

SCOLAS is coming to SHSU during a time when many of SHSU’s colleges are providing more opportunities for multicultural and international studies, especially Latin American studies. According to Andrist, the School of Music is planning a Latin American music major, Foreign Languages and Business have a relationship with the Puebla Field School as a study abroad opportunity and several colleges are planning a Latin American studies program.

While SCOLAS is housed at SHSU, Rafael Saumell-Muoz Ph.D. will be the executive director, Enrique Malln Ph.D.will be then web master and

Andrist will serve as The Bulletin/El Boletn newsletter editor.

According to Muoz, SCOLAS is going to bring recognition to our university, professors and students. SHSU will become an important link for regional, national and international education agencies and scholarly institutions.

Andrist said that SCOLAS will bring increased international visibility and recognition, and opportunities for art, musical and cultural presentations to SHSU.

According to Andrist, SHSU faculty have been benefiting from SCOLAS and attending SCOLAS conferences for many years.

“While there are undoubtedly others, I have been a member since coming to Texas in

the early 1980s,” Andrist said. “In the past, Spanish professors, Dr. Rafael Saumell Muoz and Dr. Joaqun Rodrguez Barbar have been [members].”

Other SCOLAS members are Dr. Caroline Crimm, a history professor, and Dr. Ulyses Balderas, a business professor. Balderas and Andrist presented a panel together at the last SCOLAS conference in March. SCOLAS members come from many different disciplines and colleges; it is not just foreign language.

“SHSU is on the cusp of many collaborative initiatives having to do with Latin

America,” Andrist said. “Housing this organization is an honor and opportunity for us.”

For more information about SCOLAS, visit their current website at http://www.baylor.edu/SCOLAS. After the move, SHSU will host the SCOLAS website, but it is still part of Baylor for now.