Welcoming new Americans : a perspective from South Dakota
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At a historically turbulent juncture, this presentation has two aims. Firstly, it directs attention to the lack of representation of Latinx people in research. It points at rural and urban Latinx communities in South Dakota, which remain overlooked despite the Pew Research Center identifying it as having the fastest growing Latino/a population among all states from 2000 to 2014. Secondly, this presentation advances practices in the humanities at South Dakota State University (SDSU) that support newcomer populations to help them integrate into their communities. Through community partnerships, the Department of Modern Languages and Global Studies has sought to reinsert the humanities in the land grant mission. Answering Lou Anna Simon's call to action in "Embracing the World Grant Ideal", we argue that liberal arts disciplines must find ways to participate in the outreach of the applied and professional fields. We must maintain the land grant's commitment to fostering inclusiveness and finding opportunities to work with diverse peoples. Finally, we must make connections between local and global communities, because the global has already reached us. To put some very basic numbers behind this claim, there are currently 18+ languages and 24 nationalities on the Tyson Fresh Meats floor in Dakota Dunes alone, and there are many more examples around us of a more multicultural and multilingual society. As such, if the university is to accomplish its land grant mission, it must serve new Americans; and must include the following five areas of critical engagement: English as a Second Language, Translation Services, Legal Support, Workforce Development, and Diversity and Intercultural Competence. This portion of the presentation illustrates how the Department of Modern Languages and Global Studies has focused our efforts in each of these critical areas.
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