New Latino studies certificate, minor at IUPUI reflect Indianapolis' changing demographics

  • May 8, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis’ Hispanic population, which more than doubled between 2000 and 2010 now constitutes 10 percent of the city’s population, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Statewide, the Hispanic population grew 82 percent in the same 10-year period.

Indianapolis’ changing demographics inspired the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to begin a new 18-credit Latino studies certificate program this academic year; a minor is also available. The program is designed for students interested in studying Latino history and culture and the current role of the Latino community and its contributions in the United States.

The program helps prepare students for a more progressively globalized and competitive market and equips them for a wide range of careers in administration, public policy, journalism, law, education and community organizing.

“Because the certificate and the minor draw upon existing courses already offered in the School of Liberal Arts and other schools and departments at IUPUI, students will have great flexibility in fulfilling their requirements,” said Rosa Tezanos-Pinto, associate professor of Spanish and program director.

Students opting for a certificate in Latino studies may choose two elective courses from a broad, growing list of approved interdisciplinary courses.

“Currently, this list comprises 22 different programs in several different units, with more expected in the near future,” Tezanos-Pinto said.

The IUPUI RISE initiative challenges undergraduates to incorporate research, international studies, service or experiential learning into their degree programs. The new Latino studies certificate fulfills that challenge by promoting community collaboration in cross-disciplinary civic engagement projects. Two of the required courses, LATS L101 Introduction to Latino Studies and LATS L228 U.S./Latino Identity, incorporate civic engagement projects.

“Promoting civic engagement and partnership with local Hispanic-serving organizations is at the core of the program,” Tezanos-Pinto said. “We are in the process of compiling a database of local partner organizations to serve as sites for our students’ civic engagement projects. We already have seven partners and are hard at work collaborating with others.”

IUPUI has also experienced significant growth in its Hispanic and Latino student body, parallel to trends in Indianapolis and Indiana. In fall 2006, IUPUI enrolled 493 Hispanic/Latino undergraduate students, according to the 2013 IUPUI Diversity Report.  In fall semester 2012, 1,076 Hispanic/Latino undergraduate students were enrolled, representing an increase from 2 percent to 5 percent of the total undergraduate student population.

“This new program exhibits the best features of liberal arts programs at IUPUI,” said William Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. “It is rigorous, relevant and multidisciplinary, and it advances our values of diversity and community engagement. We are glad to add it to our offerings for IUPUI students.”

For more information about the Latino studies program, please contact Tezanos-Pinto at

Indianapolis? changing demographics inspired new Latino studies certificate at IUPUI.

Indianapolis? changing demographics inspired new Latino studies certificate at IUPUI.

Print-Quality Photo

Media Contacts

Diane Brown

  • Indianapolis
  • Office 317-274-2195

Genevieve  Shaker

  • IU School of Liberal Arts
  • Office 317-278-1058
  • gshaker@iupui.edua