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Review: Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

by Vicki Urquhart

Who isn’t looking for a better job these days? More than 36 percent of 1,000-plus people polled by the U.K. career consultancy firm Penna Sanders & Sidney said that they spent part of the first day in a new job thinking about how to get a better one (Ragan Report, July 28). Given this statistic on first-day musings, it’s safe to say that most of us are regularly keeping abreast of new or better career opportunities. For a jobseeker in higher education, a periodical with a nationwide circulation, such as The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education (HO), can be a valuable resource.

For 13 years, HO has been tailoring its articles, reports, and commentaries to its Hispanic readership and others in the higher education community who are interested in Hispanic issues. When you subscribe for a year at $29.95, you receive 26 issues, and you’ll find a thick section of job ads in most issues. Community colleges and private universities are represented, and postings are almost exclusively for full-time faculty positions, but the section reflectshiring trends.

HO’s accompanying Web site at http://www.HispanicOutlook.com offers employment listings searchable by geographic area, and links to other employment resources on the Web.

A collection of short articles, research summaries, and personal essays fills each issue of HO. For example, one sample issue I read explored the achievement gap and Hispanic students’ failure to attain their educational and career goals. In simple, direct language, one editorialist calls for instructors to be vigilant about communicating students’ needs to other faculty members and emphasizes the importance of positive learning experiences for all students.

Underscoring the magazine’s recurring theme that positive educational experiences lead to future academic success, the editor includes human-interest stories of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic role models in a regular “Portrait” section. Profiles in 2003 included a piece about Lyman Locket, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at K-mart; a story on Ed Garza, mayor of San Antonio; and a profile of Angelo Falcon, a policy advocate with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Policy Division. The profiles are short, only a page or two, but they’re long on inspiration.

HO’s inclusion of statistical data and research summaries is possibly its strongest suit as a publication. The April 21, 2003 issue, for instance, summarizes research from The Higher Education Research Institute and describes findings from The American College Teacher, a series of surveys and reports that have been conducted every third year since 1989-90. The article, written by Angela McGlynn, a professor of psychology at Mercer County Community College, focuses on three factors identified in the research: (1) shifts that have occurred in faculty perspectives on undergraduate education, (2) the increased use of student-centered instruction, and (3) the increased faculty attention to diversity issues. McGlynn writes that the report includes the gender-based findings that women are more committed than men to diversity, and that more women are members of faculty now than in 1989 (p. 25).

In another feature article, HO reports on two recently released position statements from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)–one regarding teaching grammar and the other on gender-fair language. The article summarizes NCTE’s position that grammar should always be taught in context, and that gender-fair discourse should be promoted in the classroom. This last assertion is followed with advice on how to achieve a more gender-fair environment in the classroom. Contributing writers Tony Martinez and Alison Martinez also hit home when they cite David Bloome, NCTE president:

Postsecondary education needs a much greater proportion of full-time faculty. . . I think the teachers are motivated, but if you are an adjunct faculty member, teaching at several institutions, moving from one place to another and getting paid very little, it’s hard to participate in curriculum planning that is consistent class to class. It’s hard to engage in the kind of professional development that brings the faculty together. It is very hard to spend the kind of time you want to spend with students. (p.15)

Another editorial approach that HO employs is to publish special theme issues throughout the year. The January 3, 2003, issue focused on health-related themes, and featured interviews with and biographies of nursing professionals, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. Each year, HO’s readers also can expect to see a few regular annual listings, such as the Top 100 Colleges and Universities for recruiting and graduating Hispanic students, which is based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Finally, each issue is wrapped up with a short “think piece.” One recent piece discusses a persistent Catch 22–audiences attending diversity conferences generally consist of minorities; thus, the “others” who would most benefit from such a conference simply don’t attend.

And that brings us to the real mission of this magazine. In truth, HO is not aimed specifically at adjuncts, and you might think you’re too busy to read something that doesn’t directly apply to you. However, if you take the time to visit the magazine’s Web site or to pick up an issue, you’re likely to learn something. Understanding the reasons young Hispanic men and women are struggling to succeed in higher education and, ultimately, in life, is a very valuable teaching tool–particularly for faculty who teach in colleges and universities which serve large numbers of Hispanic students. That, in my mind, is time well spent.

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