Borderlands and Ethnic Studies searches for a new home in HEST


David Castañeda

Head of the CMI and Journalism department Amy Lanasa questions the high prices of building renovations. Nov. 3, 2022.

The NMSU Borderlands and Ethnic Studies program is working to move into the College of Health, Education, and Social Transformation. Leaders of the proposed bill that would facilitate this transition think that the relocation provides a better fit for the functionality and representation of the program’s goals. 

The Proposal to Reorganize and Relocate Borderlands and Ethnic Studies (Proposition 01-22/23) would reorganize the Interdisciplinary Studies Department into the Borderlands and Ethnic Studies Department (BEST) and relocate it from the College of Arts and Sciences to the College of Health, Education, and Social Transformation (HEST). At their latest meeting on Nov. 3, the NMSU Faculty Senate motioned to postpone the vote on the proposition until their next meeting on Dec. 1. 

Amy Lanasa, faculty senator and primary sponsor of the proposal, clarified that the motion to postpone the discussion and vote was made to allow more overall participation and input from faculty members. 

“The faculty who are really involved in the department that’s making the request to move into the College of HEST, would like to have the opportunity to be fully participatory in the process and involve the faculty in the College of HEST who haven’t had a chance to discuss what it means to take this department in,” Lanasa said. “They haven’t had a chance to vote on it as a faculty.” 

Dulcinea Lara, professor and Department Head of Borderlands and Ethnic Studies, explained the significance behind the movement of BEST into HEST. 

“The fit has to do with being closer in proximity to the field of education, but we also work with all applied fields,” she said. “The other thing is, with the HEST College, there’s the social transformation arm, and we really feel that we could help build that out as Borderlands and Ethnic Studies.” 

She also mentioned that the ethnic studies program has been working very closely with the New Mexico Public Education Department. Lara said that many members of the College of Health, Education, and Social Transformation are working on curriculum, trans-languaging, and preparing teachers – a major reason why BEST is aiming to move into the college. 

Senate chair Gaylene Fasenko listens to the senate’s concerns. Nov. 3, 2022. (David Castañeda)

Jeanette Haynes Writer, professor in the School of Teacher Preparation, Administration, and Leadership (TPAL) and affiliated faculty member with BEST.  

“We are focused as faculty on student recruitment and retention, specifically with historically underrepresented students that are Hispanic, African American, and Native American,” Haynes Writer remarked that the Borderlands and Ethnic Studies program has already been collaborating with education faculty in the College of Health, Education, and Social Transformation. 

“We are very much into community engagement, as well as combining our research in on-the-ground application,” she said. “That would be considering quality of life aspects for students and communities within New Mexico, as NMSU is working as a land grant institution for the constituents of New Mexico.” 

Lara highlighted that scholars in the field of ethnic studies have been working to tell stories that have been omitted from curriculum at local, state, and national levels. 

“The work that we’re doing in ethnic studies is important for NMSU students,” Lara said. “It’s important for us as academics and researchers.” 

She said that the BEST program is looking forward to more opportunities for discussion with members of the HEST College in the upcoming weeks. 

“We’re very grateful for more time to connect with our colleagues in the College of HEST and have open dialogue, have conversations about the intersections of our work, the intersections of our courses, and the ways that Borderlands and Ethnic Studies can amplify the work that’s happening in HEST,” Lara said. 

BEST will host a town hall meeting on Friday, Nov. 11, to provide a space for HEST faculty members to ask questions, clarify concerns, and gain more information on the proposal. 

“It’s an opportunity, really, to look at the process and the protocol that we have followed,” Haynes Writer said. “There’s some questions around resources, so we can address those as well.” 

Lara feels confident that after the BEST department has more conversations with HEST colleagues, they will be “on a good foundation together.”

“I think that time will really show that we are here in good faith, that we are here to serve NMSU students primarily and the communities of New Mexico at large,” Lara said. “Our work really amplifies the strategic goals of the university.” 

The full resolution can be found here: ​​ 

Facebook Comments