Latino Male Educational Crisis Is Focus of June 24 Symposium at The University of Texas at Austin

Educators, community members, policymakers, researchers and Latino male students will gather at The University of Texas at Austin on June 24 to discuss the educational crisis facing Latino males.

Latino male students are vanishing from the American education pipeline, especially at the postsecondary level. Proportionally fewer college-age Latinos are enrolling in college, and the degree attainment gaps between Latino males and females are growing.

The Latino Male Symposium is hosted by Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success), an initiative of The University of Texas at Austin's Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE). The symposium will be held from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Texas Union Ballroom.

"The Department of Education, the Coordinating Board, the College Board, TG and numerous other national and state organizations have made the issue of males of color in education a priority," said Dr. Victor Saenz, director of Project MALES, an assistant professor in higher education administration and a faculty fellow in the DDCE.

"So, the aim of our symposium is not only to continue to raise awareness but to enlist the support and advocacy of multiple stakeholders. Ultimately, we will use this platform to build support from our partners across the community and educational spectrum to address this growing crisis facing Latino males and other males of color in Texas and beyond."

The symposium also provides an opportunity for the Project MALES team to promote the program which was begun in late 2010. The impetus for this project was a grant from TG which supports a joint research effort between Saenz at The University of Texas at Austin and two colleagues at the University of Florida, Associate Professor Mary Ann Clark and Assistant Professor Luis Ponjuan. The research component of the project examines the experiences of Latino males in college. Project MALES also includes a pilot project providing mentoring for Latino males on the UT campus and at middle schools and high schools in the Central Texas region.

Sessions during the symposium include interactive panels from researchers and practitioners, including a presentation by Saenz and Ponjuan. The two wrote "The Vanishing Latino Male in Higher Education," which was published in the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education in 2009, and both have been active in educational circles nationwide to raise awareness of the plight of Latino male students in education. Dr. Shaun Harper, associate professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, will give a keynote address during the luncheon. Harper is an expert in race and gender disparities in higher education and is the author and editor of several books and more than 50 peer-reviewed papers.

There are a limited number of registrations available for the symposium. Register online at UT Latino Male Symposium.

The symposium is co-sponsored by Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Eleventh District and the Center for Mexican American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

For more information, see the Project MALES Web site.