Welcome to the Department of Mexican American Studies

Current Department Head,
Dr. Anna Ochoa O'Leary

The Department of Mexican American Studies is committed to social science and  applied public policy research on Mexican Americans. As the leading public policy research center addressing issues of concern to this minority group in Arizona, the Department works collaboratively with key community agencies in promoting leadership and empowerment of Mexican Americans within the state and the nation, producing knowledge and expertise on race, ethnicity, and immigration issues. The Department achieves these goals through its applied research agenda, through its publications, and through the comprehensive curriculum it offers students at the University of Arizona. As an intellectual center, it disseminates information to a broad audience, which includes elected officials, educators, students, policy makers and other researchers.

As a public land-grant institution, the University of Arizona provides an accessible environment for discovery where distinguished undergraduate, graduate, and professional education are integrated with world-class basic and applied research and creative achievement. The University prepares students for a diverse and technological world while improving the quality of life for the people of Arizona, the nation, and the world. The University of Arizona is among America's top research universities (based on NSF total research expenditure data) and is one of approximately 60 select institutions recognized by membership in the Association of American Universities. Compared to other top research universities, the University of Arizona is unusually accessible to students of modest means and wide-ranging backgrounds.

A Brief History of the Department of Mexican American Studies

In 1968 a group of Mexican American faculty members at the University of Arizona came together to form the Mexican American Studies Program in response to student and community demands for change. By 1975 it became the Mexican American Studies Committee. Then, on March 22, 1981, the Mexican American Studies & Research Center was formally inaugurated. Two years later, the Center received state funding and began to realize its interdisciplinary research program. The need for a Center was a result of the failure of higher education to perform the necessary research on Mexican Americans in Arizona and throughout the country. In its short history, the Center has served as an extension of the University into the state's Mexican American and non-Mexican American communities. In 2009, during the University transition period, the Center became a full-fledged department.

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