Building Inclusive Communities: Improving Immigrant Access to Education, Health, Housing and Local Government

Fourth Annual La Crosse Area Latina/o Collaborative (LALAC) Workshop on Teaching, Service and Research

October 19, 2013 CANCELLED

Cleary Alumni and Friends Center, UW-La Crosse

Day of the Dead AltarLALAC Workshop

Since 2010, instructors, students, and community members from school districts, colleges and universities in the La Crosse region have held an annual workshop to share best practices in the pedagogy, research, service learning and international education programs in Latin American and Latina/o Studies. Past conferences have focused on the bicentenary of Latin American Independence, Human Rights, and Diversity.

The organizing theme for the Fall 2013 workshop is Building Inclusive Communities: Improving Immigrant Access to Education, Health, Housing and Local Government. 2013 witnessed an increase in Latina/o participation in the democratic process, leading political commentators to question the continued value of anti-immigrant rhetoric, and there is a national consensus about the need to reform the immigration process. The Obama administration has recently instituted a deferred action program that offers better work and educational opportunities to immigrant children.

Despite these national advances, communities in the Upper Midwest have yet to come to terms with the changing demographics. While only the influx of immigrants can keep small and mid-sized rural towns afloat, immigrants remain isolated, with few efforts made to incorporate them into the community. Immigrants—both authorized and unauthorized—face numerous and complex barriers that deny them and their families access to educational and social opportunities. Schools and health providers do not always reach out to the growing immigrant and domestic Latina/o populations—and existing outreach efforts do not include non-Hispanic immigrant populations. Immigrant populations are racially profiled and exploited by employers and landlords.

Community organizations and faith communities are eager to address these injustices, but lack experience or knowledge of best practices in outreach to immigrant communities. Institutions of higher education need to prepare the professionals of the future who can bridge the growing achievement divide between immigrants and local populations. By providing programming on these issues, colleges and universities can provide community leadership that not only allows institutions of higher education to showcase institutional commitments to inclusivity and service learning.

Our conference will highlight presentations on these developments, and will reflect on transformative opportunities in politics, society, aesthetics, literature and culture. Specific topics we would like to encourage include:

  • Contemporary issues of equity, inclusivity and diversity in scholarship of Latin America and U.S. Latino populations
  • Immigration, Exile, Transnationalism and Diasporas
  • Race and Ethnicity in Citizenship and Community
  • Immigrant Families
  • Immigrants in schools
  • Human trafficking and Human Rights Advocacy
  • Indigenous and Post-Indigenous immigrant cultures
  • Adult Literacy and Immigrant Cultural Literacy
  • Representations of Immigrants and Immigration in literary and mass media
  • Communities of Faith and the Immigrant
  • Social Justice and Stewardship
  • Service Learning Opportunities with Immigrants

In addition to facilitating roundtable presentations and conversations about teaching, service learning and inter-national education through the individual papers, presentations and panels, we invite formal conference papers and panels on related scholarly research.

This workshop intends to:

  • Strengthen ties within the Latin American Studies community in Southwestern Wisconsin, but also within neighboring states such as Iowa and Minnesota.
  • Share teaching ideas, course content, and learning modules about topics relating to citizenship, civic participation and community.
  • Allow those with a specific research interest in a particular Latin American topic to present and receive feedback on a working paper or research project.
  • Share experiences of service learning and international education programs in Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and the U.S.
  • Foster greater awareness about the growing presence of Latina/o and Immigrant populations in Southwestern Wisconsin, South-eastern Minnesota, and Northeastern Iowa. /li>

The workshop is open to all interested CLACS Regional Faculty Associates, community service organizations, immigrant advocacy groups, health and social services administrators, and secondary and post-secondary educators in Wisconsin and adjacent states interested in Latin American, Latina/o, and Iberian studies. We welcome scholars from various disciplines such as history, literature, art, social sciences, social work, education, political science, as well as professionals who do work in international studies with an emphasis on Latin America. Proposals on U.S. Latino populations are equally welcome. Selected papers focusing on teaching innovations and methodologies of globalization will be included in a special issue of Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis, an on-line, peer-reviewed, academic journal published out of Viterbo University (La Crosse, WI) dedicated to ex-ploring the deeper philosophical, political, social and ethical implications of education.

Deadline for individual paper, presentation, panel or roundtable proposals (2-3 papers and 1 commentator, 75 word summary of each presentation, 1-page c.v. for presenters): October 1, 2013. Notification of acceptance will be forwarded on October 4, along with the final conference program.

Please forward submissions electronically to: Karen DeSchepper at

Workshop Sponsors:

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Department of Ethnic and Racial Studies
Institute for Latino/a, Latin American and Iberian Studies (ILLAIS)
College of Liberal Studies
School of Education

Viterbo University

Latin American Studies Program (LASP)
Department of World Languages

AMOS, Inc.