Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


New Chicana/o, Latina/o Bachelor’s Degree at UW-Madison this fall

Chicana/o and Latina/o studies previously only offered as certificate
Riley Steinbrenner

This fall, University of Wisconsin students will be able to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Chicana/o and Latina/o studies. Previously, this was only offered as a certificate.

Director of the Chicana/o and Latina/o studies program Ruben Medina said in an email statement to The Badger Herald that this new degree comes after 30 years of growth in the department, with a recent surge in demand for Hispanic students wanting to study their history and culture.

In 2013, 47 students were seeking a certificate in Chicana/o and Latina/o studies (CLS). In 2022, that number was 174 students, according to Medina.


“Issues facing U.S. Latinx communities have been at the forefront of many national conversations,” Medina said. “This naturally makes students want to get beyond the headlines and learn in-depth what is going on.”

Medina also said the curriculum expansion within the program, the increased number of affiliate faculty for the program and the increase in hiring of faculty members were all large motivators pushing for a bachelor’s degree program as well as a certificate program option.

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In an email statement to The Badger Herald, Assistant Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies Aurora Santiago Ortiz said some of her students had never taken a course with a Latina professor before her class. This, she said, she takes very seriously.

“Having faculty that reflect students’ ethnic and cultural backgrounds is important!” Santiago Ortiz said.

The major was approved in March by the UW Board of Regents. Medina said the approved proposal was drafted in 2019 by the Chican/o & Latin/o Studies Curriculum Committee, which he was the chair of at the time.

Santiago Ortiz said the CLS program is also a site for community building.

“Through their events, gatherings, mentorship, CLS fosters a sense of belonging and community that is not always present at such big state institutions,” Ortiz said.

According to Medina, UW is the first institution of higher education in Wisconsin to approve such a major to his knowledge and definitely is the first in the UW System.

The major is a 30-credit program, whereas the certificate is 15 credits. The major includes six introductory humanities credits and nine upper-level humanities credits in cultures and histories.

It also includes nine in “individuals, peoples, societies” which will classify as social sciences, and six in “serving Chicanx and Latinx communities” which can range in credit fields from applied social sciences, to education, counseling psychology and many more, according to Medina.

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Medina said his next goal — along with other faculty, students and staff — is to achieve a departmental status at UW.

Chicana/o and Latina/o studies follow in the footsteps of African American Studies at UW.

“Like CLS, that pioneering department exists because of student demand, and African American Studies has been a great example for us. We appreciate their leadership over the years,” Medina said.

For inquiries about this new major, direct questions to Rachelle Eilers, the advisor for the major r[email protected].

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