From collaborating with the next county over to building relationships below the equator, BYU enjoys many partnerships that have greatly benefited the Latin American studies program. These relations have allowed for more conviviality through conferences and workshops, more funding through grants and scholarships, and more hands-on interaction through internships and study abroad experiences. Following are four examples of how BYU stands out in Latin American studies.
Working with the U
Thanks to the success of the Intermountain Consortium for Asian and Pacific Studies (IMCAPS), which is funded by a Title VI grant as a National Resource Center (NRC) run by BYU and the University of Utah, these two institutions of higher learning once again joined forces to apply for an NRC grant to be used for Latin American studies. The Intermountain Consortium for Latin American Studies became a reality in 2014 after receiving the coveted $6.6 million
Working together, Jeffrey M. Shumway, current Latin American studies coordinator at BYU, and his counterpart, Claudio A. Holzner, director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the U of U, have created a synergy of opportunities based primarily on less-commonly taught languages (LCTLs). These opportunities are enhanced by the faculty, who use their strengths and research across many disciplines to broaden students’ experiences with LCTLs.
About 65 percent of BYU students speak a second language, classes are consistently offered for fifty-eight languages—thirty-two more with sufficient interest—and 126 languages are spoken on campus.
In addition to providing scholarships, the grant allows BYU to fortify the Latin American studies program, add to the Harold B. Lee Library’s resources, and provide outreach to primary- and secondary-education students. “One of the big pushes is to get Latin American studies material into classrooms from kindergarten through twelfth grade and also into community colleges,” Shumway noted. “Last April we hosted a conference in Salt Lake City, inviting high school world history teachers to a session on game-based learning. About twenty teachers from across the state came to hear from experts, and they received materials to begin implementing this into their curriculum.” BYU has also helped develop the Latin American curriculum at Salt Lake Community College.