People

Latinx & Undocumented Student Support Group

Mondays, 2:00pm –3:00pm, starting Week 4

Location: Counseling Center

This support group is offered to create a safe, affirming, and confidential space for Latinx-identified students who would like to explore their multiple identities, discuss ways of balancing multiple roles on and off campus, address subtle and overt forms of discrimination, and connect with one another for mutual support and sense of community. Drop-ins are welcome, no sign-up required. 

For more details, contact Dr. Eric Garcia: egarcia3@uoregon.edu

Grupo de Apoyo para Estudiantes Latinx e Indocumentados

Día y hora: Los lunes 2:00 – 3:00pm, empezando la semana 4

Ubicación: Counseling Center

Este grupo de apoyo esta ofrecido para crear un espacio seguro, de afirmación, y confidencial para estudiantes que se identifican como Latinx o indocumentado quienes quieren explorar sus multiples identidades, discutir maneras de equilibrar sus roles multiples dentro y fuera del campus, abordar diferentes formas de discriminación, y conectar uno con el otro para apoyo mutual y un sentido de comunidad. No hay que registrar. 

Por más detalles, contactar al Dr. Eric Garcia: egarcia3@uoregon.edu

See also: https://cllas.uoregon.edu/lets-talk-from-the-uo-counseling-center/

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Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019 Academics, Human Rights, Immigration, Students No Comments

Kristin Yarris featured in the inaugural “UO Authors, Book Talks” series

November 6, 2019
5:00 pmto6:30 pm

Knight Library
Browsing Room

https://around.uoregon.edu/content/faculty-books-be-featured-uo-authors-book-talks-series

Around the O, October 17, 2019—Kristin Yarris will be the first faculty member featured in the inaugural “UO Authors, Book Talks” series that begins next month.

Kristin Yarris

Yarris, an associate professor of international studies, will read excerpts from her book “Care Across Generations,” followed by a discussion on the pivotal roles Nicaraguan grandmothers play in intergenerational care and transnational migration.

The debut for Yarris and “UO Authors, Book Talks” will be Nov. 6 in the Knight Library Browsing Room. The event is a recognition of University of Oregon faculty members and their books.

The second “UO Authors, Book Talks” will take place Feb. 12 in the Browsing Room. It will feature Kirby Brown, associate professor of Native American literatures, and his book “Stoking the Fire: Nationhood in Cherokee Writing, 1907-1970.”

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate scholarly work than to put a spotlight on our faculty authors,” said Patrick Phillips, UO’s provost and senior vice president. “UO authors provide a tremendous impact with their original scholarship, and their dedicated efforts enhance the reputation of the entire university by showing the world the important contributions we make to a wide variety of fields.”

The events are sponsored by the Office of the Provost, UO Libraries, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Yarris, who also directs the UO Global Health Program, spent a year in Managua, Nicaragua, working with Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes, a migrant justice organization. The work included taking testimonials from migrants who returned home and their family members to develop ways to better protect Nicaraguans working in Costa Rica and Mexico through changes in policy.

Through these testimonials, Yarris was able to meet 24 families and work with many of them to produce material for her dissertation, which later turned into the book. “Care Across Generations”takes a close look at grandmother care in Nicaraguan transnational families.

University Communications sat down with Yarris to discuss her experiences and her book. Portions of the interview have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Q: How did you find yourself in Nicaragua?

A: When I was a public health student at UCLA, I taught medical Spanish and was able to meet students who made service learning trips for medical students to go to Latin America. I went with them to Honduras once and then twice to Nicaragua as a translator for volunteer medical brigades. Through that work, I met nonprofit health organizations in Nicaragua, was able to understand the historical and cultural context better, and wanted to go back.

I got involved with a social justice organization, Witness for Peace Southwest, which advocates for change in U.S. policy toward mainly Latin America and the Caribbean. I was a volunteer and then became a member on their board of directors. That opened up opportunities for me to work in Managua.

Q: Did you receive any other cultural misconceptions around your book and the roles of grandmothers?

A: One thing that has been challenging for me — in writing the book, talking about the book, in teaching my students — is U.S. students, audiences or publics tend to jump to the conclusion that awful patriarchy exists (in other places) and we have it so good (in the U.S.) where there are no problems with gender and equality, which obviously isn’t true.

What I’ve tried to do in the book is be sensitive in talking about the layers of social, historical, cultural, economic and legal configurations that leave grandmothers particularly vulnerable to being threatened by children’s fathers who take the remittances mothers send home and why that might be happening.

Q: Would you mind explaining the relationship with fathers more?

A: It’s hard because it’s a real thing. Feminists in Nicaragua have this saying, “El machismo mata,” which means machismo kills. Which is true; there are very high rates of femicide. Women die at high numbers in Nicaragua at the hands of intimate partners, husbands, the fathers of their children. Yes, it’s a real thing. But I also don’t want to paint all Nicaraguan men with that brushstroke that they’re violent or don’t care about their children, because obviously that isn’t true.

There have been misconceptions about men, their roles, and why I didn’t talk to more men. The truth is, often they weren’t around. The households are matrifocal. I tried to get men’s voices, but the truth is that most of the care in these families is done by women.

The other misconception that I’ve had to be careful to not fall into the trap of is that mother migrants abandon their kids. I go through painstaking measures in the book to not paint mothers that way. I try to describe the factors pushing mothers to migrate and the steps they take to send remittance home for their kids. All of the mothers in my book care about their kids and are thankful their mothers can care for them. They’re waiting for when the “grand bargain” pays off, and they can be with their kids again.

Q: As you continue your work in academia, are you seeing your book complement the research you are conducting?

A: Yes, definitely. After the book, my next project was funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation studying transit immigration in Central America through Mexico. The research questions I asked were less about families in migration but still about the role of migration and family care.

I spent a few summers in Sinaloa, Mexico, looking at how women were informally mobilizing along freight train lines to provide care for families in migrant situations. I’m currently working on a local project looking at networks of volunteers, refugee asylum seeker resettlements and sponsorship work in Lane County.

Q: You touched on this, but given our political climate, have you faced challenges discussing migration with students?

A: I’ve been glad that I teach classes on migration, that I have a book on migration and that my book is ethnographic. When students and other people read ethnographic work about migrants and their families, it humanizes things in a way that politics, media or tweets dehumanize and desensitize people.

Human stories help people and students ask questions like, “Why is it so hard for people who are here lawfully to bring their children with them lawfully?” They don’t realize that it is so difficult, it takes 10 years or other miscellaneous reasons why people are leaving to create a better life for their children.

—By Jessica T. Brown, University Communications

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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019 Affiliated faculty, Books No Comments

Let’s Talk: from the UO Counseling Center

Let’s Talk is a program that is offered by many university counseling centers across the US with the purpose of decreasing mental health stigma along with reducing barriers and increasing access to support services, particularly for underrepresented and marginalized students. Let’s Talk offers brief informal consultations for students on a drop-in basis in satellite locations in order to help students address specific needs and to support those that might be hesitant to come to the UCC.

There is no need to schedule an appointment, and students are seen on a first come, first-served basis. The UO Counseling Center will have Let’s Talk Monday through Friday from 2pm-4pm. Updated information about Let’s Talk and available counselors are posted on our website (locations/times might change in future terms). https://counseling.uoregon.edu/letstalk

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Thursday, October 10th, 2019 Students No Comments

Graduate Student Mixer

November 20, 2019
2:00 pm

EMU 023
Lease Crutcher Lewis Room

Save-the-Date for our annual fall mixer with CLLAS staff and graduate students. More info to follow.

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Saturday, October 5th, 2019 Events, Graduate students, staff No Comments

Former CLLAS student employee now working for FEMA

Kelsey Madsen, (Master of Public Administration, UO, 2018) former employee/intern at CLLAS, has recently accepted a position with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) as a Program Delivery Manager within the Public Assistance Program.

Part of her new position will be helping our local community through the grant process in response to February’s snow storm.

After this local grant process, Kelsey will be moved to the next federally-declared disaster to help other communities through their post-disaster phase. She is very happy to have worked with CLLAS through her graduate degree in the PPPM Department because she feels as though the experience directly prepared her for this new position interacting with the local community while administering grants.

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Wednesday, September 4th, 2019 staff, Students No Comments

COE research helps bilingual children find classroom success

This article appeared in Around the O July 29, 2019. Researchers involved in this study include several CLLAS-affiliated faculty.

Interviewing a mother in the dual language lab

School by itself can be challenging enough for kids, but when you add in the extra hurdle of also learning English, it adds another layer of complexity to things.

Children who are bright might be misclassified into remedial classes because of poor assessment practices that don’t take into account their dual-language experiences. Other kids who have learning disabilities might not get identified as such and miss out on the instruction they need.

Several College of Education faculty members are trying to address these issues as the Spanish-speaking population continues to grow in Oregon and beyond. They’re working to help schools better help these students, more quickly identify those who need additional attention, and find the best methods to teach them English while simultaneously teaching skills they’ll need to succeed in and outside of the classroom.

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Ultimately, the goal is to more seamlessly phase bilingual students into mainstream classrooms rather than marginalize them on the fringes, while also supporting the primary language spoken at their homes.

“The roots of bilingual education are that linguistic diversity is a benefit not just to an individual but also to communities, our country and society as a whole,” said Ilana Umansky, an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership.

“We’re helping dispel myths that somehow these kids are naturally at risk,” added Lillian Duran, an associate professor in the Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences. “They’re not. They just speak a different language, and that in itself does not make you at risk. Our educational system creates risk.”

Ilana Umansky

When children enter a school district, parents often fill out questionnaires that ask what language is spoken at home. Any answer other than English triggers an English proficiency test. How children perform on that test could very well determine the trajectory of their lives.

But what about the kids who fall just short in that test and are classified as English-language learners compared with those who just barely pass? Umansky explores the effect of labeling kids as “English-language learners.”

“A lot of opportunities we offer kids are stratified based on race and English-language proficiency,” Umansky said.

Her research explores ways to support greater equity for students, particularly for those who come from immigrant backgrounds and that have a primary language other than English.

Umansky looked at thousands of kids who fell onto both sides of that tipping point. She found that kids who are classified as English-language learners do worse over time — by a small margin — than kids who just meet English requirements and move forward in regular classrooms.

“That’s pretty troubling,” Umansky said. “English-learner services are supposed to help kids, not hurt them.”

Stephanie De Anda

Stephanie De Anda has personal experience growing up in a Spanish-speaking household. As the oldest of three children, the degree of Spanish fluency decreased with each of her two younger siblings as each was exposed to more English at a younger age.

What languages kids hear from birth is a big part of De Anda’s research. She studies how kids connect words in one language to words in the other and how they form those links.

“This has a clinical application for us because we think if we can understand how these languages interact, then maybe we can leverage that in therapy,” said De Anda, an assistant professor in the Communication Disorders and Sciences Program and co-director of the Early Dual Language Development Lab. “So when these kids come to us with a delay, we can say, ‘Oh, I can support your Spanish in hopes it will also help your English and vice versa.’”

There’s a sense of urgency when it comes to supporting academic outcomes when working with kids learning English. Research shows 65 percent to 75 percent of children with early reading problems continue to read poorly.

Of children with reading problems, 10 percent to 15 percent drop out of high school, and 2 percent eventually complete a four-year college program. De Anda’s research focuses on identifying kids with early language delays and impairments and finding interventions that work best to make them successful in school.

“This has always been important, but we’re just starting to put resources toward it,” De Anda said.

Lauren Cycyk

By 2050, one in three children are projected to be Latino, and Oregon has one of the fastest-growing Latino populations in the nation. Schools need to be ready to address their needs. That’s where Lauren Cycyk’sresearch steps in.

Cycyk, an assistant professor in the Communication Disorders and Sciences Program and co-director of the Early Dual Language Development Lab with De Anda, looks at ways to incorporate and involve a student’s community in the process of helping them overcome language or learning disorders prior to entry.

“Language disorders are nondiscriminatory,” Cycyk said. “Learning disorders are nondiscriminatory.”

About 10 percent of children have language-learning difficulties. Her work ensures that early education and special education practitioners work with them in ways that respect children’s culture and language while also incorporating their family early in the process.

“For many families, their home educational systems are very different than ours in the U.S.,” Cycyk said. “It’s simply giving them the key to the black box: ‘Here’s how it works in our educational system, so let’s think about how we can encourage your participation so your child is successful.’”

College of Education

Lillian Duran

Schools regularly test students to gauge their strengths and weaknesses. But when you assess a students’ skills in a language they are still learning, does that really gauge what they know about math, reading or writing?

Lillian Duran is working on ways to more accurately test kids’ skills and then catch them early. She develops assessments for preschoolers that measure their language and early reading skills, such as familiarity with the alphabet.

“Most measures we have right now are only in English,” Duran said. “When you have children who enter a program at 3, 4, 5 years old who have primarily been exposed to Spanish, those measures are a poor reflection of actual ability levels. They can historically score very low on measures of English language and literacy and yet still have very high skills in Spanish.”

Duran’s assessments help identify kids who would benefit from extra support so they’re ready for kindergarten and ensure students aren’t underestimated simply because they don’t speak English.

Duran developed her assessments by working with more than 900 preschoolers across the U.S. She’s now working on another measure to monitor progress, which she expects to be available next year.

“The need is only going to increase,” Duran said. “Just think of the resources we’re pouring into remediation when we should be putting resources into prevention and enrichment activities.”

David Liebowitz

In the 1960s and 1970s nearly 500 school districts were ordered to implement some form of a desegregation policy so schools’ racial makeup would more closely resemble that of their overall district.

In the 20 years between 1990 and 2010, however, 215 school districts were released from their desegregation orders, and the outcomes weren’t all positive, David Liebowitz found in his research.

Liebowitz, an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership, compared districts that had been released from their desegregation orders with other districts that had not been released or were released at a different time. Districts that were released saw an increase in dropout rates among black and Latino students of 3 percentage points.

“There’s good evidence that desegregation policies improved schools and long-term life outcomes for black and Latino students,” Liebowitz said. “My study looked at what happened at the end of that period when desegregation ended, and it appears to have produced negative outcomes.”

Liebowitz, who joined the College of Education faculty in 2018, is building on his findings by looking for ways Oregon school administrators can better support Latino students in schools, and his work exemplifies that of his fellow College of Education colleagues, especially as it applies to Oregon.

“There’s not lot of quality evidence out there on what actions and behaviors school leaders can take that are most predictive of improved student outcomes,” Liebowitz said. “That’s a really great question to answer in the Oregon context.”

By Jim Murez, University Communications

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Monday, August 12th, 2019 Affiliated faculty, Research, Schools No Comments



Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies Gift Fund

Access the above link for giving to the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies Gift Fund. Online gifts may be made using the form available at this link; all gifts are processed by the University of Oregon Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization responsible for receiving and administering private donations to the University of Oregon.

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2019 Judge Yassmin Barrios Lecture / photos by Jack Liu

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