Trinity launches Latinx major, architecture minor | Trinity University
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Trinity launches Latinx major, architecture minor

Monday, July 22, 2019
Student takes picture in Madrid

Programs will be offered to all students starting Fall 2019

by Jeremy Gerlach

Trinity has created two new courses of study that will strengthen and celebrate the University’s ties to the community.

Starting fall 2019, Trinity will offer a major in global Latinx studies, an interdisciplinary program that explores the Latinx experience from past to present; and a minor in architectural studies that will draw from multiple programs in art, art history, and urban studies.

Duane Coltharp, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, says both new offerings will place students in the heart of these fields in both theory and application.

“The Latinx major brings our academic focus on all things Latinx to the fore. It’s a way of saying that this is a significant and central part of our academic identity,” Coltharp says. “And the Architecture minor allows us to demonstrate and explore the real-world significance of the liberal arts.”

Students in Monterrey, Mexico

Global Latinx Studies

The global Latinx studies major will build on the foundation of Trinity’s already thriving Mexico, the Americas and Spain (MAS) program, and will be housed in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

This course of study is comprised of an interdisciplinary analysis of the Latinx experience from past to present, and includes modern languages and spans the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. This program will be accessible and welcoming both to bilingual students and those who may not speak Spanish.

Spanish professor Rita Urquijo-Ruiz says this new major is an ideal move for a university located in the heart of San Antonio.

“Trinity is located very strategically, in terms of geography. We are part of San Antonio, a city that is close to Mexico and a gateway to Latin America,” Urquijo-Ruiz says. “And because this is a majority-Latinx community, we have a great opportunity in our hands for students to learn about Latinx Studies not just in the classroom, but out in our city as well.”

Trinity students will have access to a wide range of internships, and a world of arts, music and cultural experiences right here in the Alamo city. But beyond, international experiences such as programs in Mexico, Central America, Cuba, and in Spain, await.

This major will also connect San Antonio to Trinity through events open to the University and this community. MAS faculty will continue to lead conversations through lectures and activities such as the Alvarez Seminar and Latinx Heritage Month in partnership with Trinity’s Diversity and Inclusion Office. 

“This major,” Urquijo-Ruiz continues, “is going to further solidify those connections between the community and the University.”

Student works on urban design project

ARCHITECTURAL STUDIES

Trinity’s strengths in architectural history, studio art, urban studies, and engineering science, along with its San Antonio location, have long made it an ideal place to study architecture. 

Now, through the minor in architectural studies, Trinity students will explore aspects of architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, historic preservation, and architectural history.

Kathryn O’Rourke, art history professor and director for the minor, says the program will work in concert with several other departments.

“We’re lucky to have such strong offerings in architecture, art, and urban studies, along with engineering,” O’Rourke says. “That’s so unusual for a small, liberal arts college.”

And not many small, liberal arts universities are designated as a national historic district or listed on the National Register of Historic Places for their architecture, or have strong ties to a generational architect such as O’Neil Ford, as Trinity does.

O’Rourke and Coltharp advise students that the minor can help lay the groundwork for studying architecture in graduate school, and that Trinity faculty can help them develop an academic program that will make them competitive applicants. Regardless of career path, academic interest or niche, O’Rourke says the minor will help Trinity students discover connections between the past and present, and to see the city and world around them differently.

“There’s so much happening in San Antonio right now with growth and urban planning,” O’Rourke says. “We’re looking forward to getting our students out into the city. To have a minor like this at Trinity, it just makes so much sense.”