UH to introduce Mexican American and Latino/Latina Applied Studies B.A. degree next Spring

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you plan to attend the University of Houston in the Spring of 2023, there will be a brand new degree program for you to consider.

The university will offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mexican American and Latino/Latina Applied Studies.

The program will focus on the experiences and contributions of the Latino community.

The school's system board unanimously approved the program during a meeting on February 24.

Dr. Jeronimo Cortina, an associate professor at UH, says there has been a strong demand for bilingual workers in the United States, which has doubled in the last five years.

"I'm very excited," said Cortina. "When we started designing this major, it was not the traditional way academics decide what is best."

"We went out and asked people in the community, people in the business community, and said, 'What kind of student would be most successful for your business?' They gave us these characteristics that later we took and designed the curriculum."

Dr. Cortina said the high demand includes the need for low-and high-skilled positions, specifically in Texas.

The university said the labor demand for bilingual and multicultural employees is solid in industries whose business model involves higher than average human interaction.

Dr. Cortina says his team recognized that demand. The Houston area has the largest Hispanic/Latino community in Texas and the third-largest in the country.

The university says 88% of the students surveyed overwhelmingly agreed that UH should offer a major in Mexican American and Latino/Latina Applied Studies.

"The response was very high in terms of acceptance and doing it. Now, I guess the hard work starts implementing it," said Cortina.

The University of Houston is ranked the second-most ethnically diverse major research university globally.

Dr. Cortina says the logic behind that new major started when he and his team saw a need in the labor market.

Dr. Cortina says the hope is that the degree will prepare graduates for the business world.

"The way that we designed the curriculum is for them to learn, obviously, but also to become creative thinkers to become critical thinkers, and to use the tools we provide at the University of Houston to be applied in the real world setting in terms of the labor market, Dr. Cortina said.
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