In the fall of 2017, Texas Tech University became eligible for Hispanic-serving Institution status, with the enrollment of Hispanic students reaching 27%, reported professor and director of the Harris Institute for Hispanic & International Communication, Kent Wilkinson.
On March 1, the Thomas Jay Harris Institute for Hispanic & International Communication celebrated this milestone by hosting a Distinguished Lecture Dinner featuring University of Houston professor, Nicolas Kanellos, Ph.D.
"Dr. Kanellos has 40 years' experience in teaching, researching and publishing related to Hispanics in the United States," reported Wilkinson. "He is founder and publisher of the oldest and most prolific Hispanic publishing house in the U.S., Arte Público Press in Houston."
Additionally, Kanellos is the director of a research program, Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage, which aims to bring forth information that will allow Hispanic students and communities to build upon the achievements of the past.
"When I was coming up through the educational system, there was virtually nothing available or in classrooms or the curriculum that dealt with Hispanics' long presence and considerable contributions to American history and culture," said Kanellos. "My team and I, as well as scholars across the country and abroad, are driven to fill in these gaps in our education and national culture. Our mission is to provide not only the original texts to further this mission but also to create the scholarly context to understand them and accord them their due place in American culture."
While visiting Texas Tech, Kanellos will focus his presentation on the history of his research program, the methods he and his team use when recovering the past, and the Inter University Program for Latino Research that he will begin leading in June of this year.
Kanellos hopes that students will complete their college careers with two ideas in mind. The first is that knowledge is socially and politically built and the second is that students can play a role in building it.
"Faculty in the College of Media & Communication want our students to thrive, professionally and personally, in an increasingly diverse U.S. society and in international contexts," Wilkinson said. "Harris Distinguished Lecturers are experts in various aspects of Hispanic and international communication and have ample professional experience as well. The lecture series, which is endowed by the late Thomas Jay Harris, dovetails nicely with Texas Tech's current Quality Enhancement Program: 'communicating in a global society.'"
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