men women standingNew Mexico State University Borderlands and Ethnic Studies graduate certification students stand with Dulcinea Lara, Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Director of Ethnic Studies. From left, Reymond Manuelito, Dulcinea Lara, Stevie Paz, Natalia Martinez, Carlos Avila, Haley Stewart, Delia Torres. Not pictured: Teaching Assistant, Cynthia Wise. (NMSU Photo by Amanda Adame)The Borderlands and Ethnic Studies program at New Mexico State University, which is being piloted this Fall, is offering a multidisciplinary graduate certification that aims to educate graduate students - including local teachers - to build their capacity to help students explore issues that divide us as a nation.

Director of the program, Dulcinea Lara, points to headlines that demonstrate the increasing polarization of viewpoints across the country resulting in xenophobia, hatred, inhumane treatment of refugee and migrant populations, as well as mass shootings such as the recent tragedy in El Paso. 

nmsu borderlands ethnicstudies fall pilotThe Borderlands and Ethnic Studies program at New Mexico State University, which is being piloted this fall, is offering a multidisciplinary graduate certification that aims to educate graduate students - including local teachers - to build their capacity to help students explore issues that divide us as a nation. (NMSU Photo by Amanda Adame)“We are trapped into thinking about phenomena in simplistic binarisms: ‘right or wrong’ ‘good or bad’ ‘legal or illegal.’ We have lost our ability to think critically and creatively when addressing minor or major issues. This makes us a decadent society-- both arrogant as well as in decay,” said Lara, NMSU associate professor of criminal justice and director of ethnic studies. “We cannot move forward with any healthy outcomes until we break with our dualistic thinking patterns and learn to view issues from multiple and infinite sides. The notion that there are ‘two sides to every story’ is incredibly limiting.”

“Once we open up past these psychological and intellectual barriers, we can start to understand why young white boys are enraged to the point of massacre. We can start to understand why migrants are fleeing beloved hometowns to make incredibly treacherous journeys. We can start to understand the hatred, fear, anxiety, and desire to divide and conquer based on race, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, etc.”

NMSU developed the program in response to a resolution passed by the Las Cruces School District, which promotes development of an ethnic studies curriculum for all K-12 schools. 
In response, NMSU created a 15-credit graduate certificate offered through the Department of Criminal Justice in the College of Arts and Sciences.

While a major goal is to prepare current and future public school teachers for a holistic way of teaching, the program also addresses a growing need for knowledge in the areas of cultural competency and problem solving among diverse populations in fields such as law enforcement, health, law and policy, business and social entrepreneurship. The course is available traditionally and also online, which allows access to teachers and graduate students across the country. 

dulcinea lara Dulcinea Lara hosts lecture as her students listen and take notes. (NMSU Photo by Amanda Adame)Lara says other states are also creating mandates for ethnic studies in K-12 schools. “The problem is there are not enough teachers equipped to provide this education in the first place. I’m excited the online portion of the program can offer cohorts of teachers from various places in the United States the opportunity to get this certificate and promote this field of education.”

Carlos Avila, a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Zia Middle School in Las Cruces and current student in the program, says this education will help teachers and students inside and outside the classroom. “This program is so important because we need to understand social structures and power dynamics in our world. We all need to be aware so we can challenge the norms of our society.” 

The certification may be taken as part of a master’s or doctoral program at NMSU. In addition to Lara, Manal Hamzeh, professor of interdisciplinary studies/gender & sexuality studies, Nicholas Natividad, criminal justice associate professor, and Donald Pepion, college professor of anthropology, are among the core faculty for the program. 

According to Lara, the documented success rate for students enrolled in ethnic studies courses Kindergarten through college in other states and school districts is an added benefit. 

“There’s a correlation between the number of ethnic studies classes a student takes and graduation rates, success rates, and increased GPA, because the idea is that an ethnic studies program creates a better sense of wholeness and a better-formed and prepared student in general.”

Offering this certification to train teachers, K-12, Lara said, is an important first step toward helping the next generation of people living in the U.S. better understand each other. 

“To help students recognize and navigate viewpoints that may not match their own and to work with others ‘unlike themselves,’ we can build a more well-rounded and healthy society.”

For more information about the Borderlands and Ethic Studies Program, contact Lara at dulcinea@nmsu.edu.

Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates

Welcome to Three Times Weekly Updates! You will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.
You can unsubscribe anytime. We never share or rent your email to anyone.

Fire Alerts

Editor's Note

FILLED: Classified for Silver City church seeking office manager. Check back often for new classifieds.

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at https://www.grantcountybeat.com/about/submissions. They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as the editor.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds. Check periodically to see if any news ones have popped up. The former software failed us, so it's just a category now, with prices posted. Send your information to editor@grantcountybeat.com and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. It's a software problem, not easily fixable, other than showing fewer articles per summary page. If you are a frequent visitor, you might not mind fewer articles per page, but if you only come once in a while, you likely want to see more articles to browse. Write me at editor@grantcountybeat.com to let me know your feelings on this issue. 

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists.Recent additions  include one about end of life options, Compassionate Care.

The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  


All articles and photos indicated by a byline are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was sent to the Beat and written by someone not affiliated with the Beat

Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ad on the Beat.

Newsletter: If you subscribe to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option on the left side of this page, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News.

Feel free to notify editor@grantcountybeat.com, if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat. 

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change.

Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—www.grantcountybeat.com