Overview

Since its founding in 1969, the Chicano Studies Institute has played a pivotal role in facilitating scholarly research on the Chicano/Latino population. Through interdisciplinary and field-specific research, faculty and students from all disciplines have worked to enhance our understanding of Chicano/Latino cultural practices, historical development, socioeconomic conditions, educational achievement, health issues, neighborhood contexts of youth development, inequalities and other pressing issues that affect Latinos. The Institute plays a pivotal role in facilitating faculty and graduate student scholarly research foremost through grant application-related services aimed at supporting proposal development and writing.  

The CSI administers two research grants programs. Through a competitive process, we award small seed grants to faculty across disciplines to facilitate the acquisition of extramural support by creating opportunities to collect pilot data, as well as enable projects to reach conclusion. Similarly, through our competitive Dissertation Research Grants program, doctoral students can apply for funding to support expenses related to their respective projects. At the completion of the award period, dissertation students present their work at a symposium hosted by the CSI Advisory Board Committee.

We support research excellence by providing computer lab space for our faculty seed grant award recipients for their graduate and undergraduate research assistants. The space affords opportunities for data collection, data entry, and transcribing. In addition, as part of the Dissertation Research Grant award, doctoral students have a separate computer lab space to work on their projects.

The CSI supports campus efforts to meet the needs of its growing Latino student population as part of its mission as a Hispanic Serving Institution.  Through our structured New Heights Graduate-Undergraduate Mentoring Program, first generation Latino graduate students serve as mentors to first generation ethnic minority undergraduate students to support their steps in getting involved in formal research mentoring programs and internships. Graduate students guide their mentees in their search for research opportunities and panels of ethnic minority faculty advise students on tangible ways to better connect with professors to increase their academic integration. The program also provides graduate students with professional development opportunities to help them grow and succeed in their roles as mentors.

The CSI houses the Center for Research on Latino Health, a center to promote research aimed at developing a better understanding of health issues pertaining to the Latino population. The specific aims are: (1) to foster a network for communication among faculty regarding Latino health issues; (2) to foster grant collaborations among health researchers to address the multiple and complex challenges posed by health disparities; and (3) to offer research opportunities to undergraduates who are considering careers in the health profession.

We are also dedicated to facilitating events or functions that promote awareness and understanding of the broader Latino experience. We hold a campus-wide competition for faculty to apply for small conference awards or fulfill requests from faculty to co-sponsor events (public lectures, seminars, conferences, art exhibits, symposia) that are open to faculty and students on campus and in some cases, to the public.

The Chicano Studies Institute was founded in 1969 as a response to student, community and faculty demands for the study of Mexican populations in the United States as outlined in the founding document, El Plan de Santa Bárbara, a conference held at UCSB that year. Conference participants developed a “blueprint” for Chicano Studies that addressed a pattern of historical neglect and the realization that research on this growing population, especially in the social sciences, was erroneous and biased. 

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