Update on El Instituto’s Future

Contributed by Charles R. Venator-Santiago.

As some of you may know, El Instituto has been asked to join in the creation of a new interdisciplinary department that seeks to combine all the Non-Departmental Units, including the American Studies Program, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative, the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, the Africana Studies Institute, and the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute. The idea is to create one department that can consolidate all resources in one place. The administration has committed to providing generous support for the creation of a new department during its first three years. Some of the goals of this initiative include hiring full-time faculty that could define this new department as their tenure home. All institutes and programs would become content areas within a new interdisciplinary department. This would mean that El Instituto would cease to exist as an autonomous institute and would become a content area within a new interdisciplinary department. As of the time of this writing, El Instituto faculty has voted to remain an autonomous institute or not join the new department. The Provost’s Office has informed us that “units that decide not to join the new department should be aware that there are no central plans to continue growing those units outside of this new department structure.” I am not sure what the future holds for El Instituto, but I am committed to an open and transparent discussion of the issues. More to come in the future.