Chicano Latino Student Affairs
Maria Aguiar Torres, Dean of Students
I grew up in the Coachella Valley and graduated from Coachella Valley High School. I come from a large Mexican family that worked in the fields as farm workers. I am a first-generation college student, and received my undergraduate degree in Spanish Literature from UC Riverside. My M.A. degree is in Spanish from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, and my areas of specialization included Chicano Literature, Bilingualism and Sociolinguistics. My doctoral work is from Claremont Graduate University in Higher Education Administration, specializing in college retention.
I was fortunate to be in college during the Chicano Civil Rights movement. As an undergraduate, I was able to work with the United Farm Workers Union (UFW), and helped organize in the Coachella Valley and San Diego County. I was a student delegate to the planning committee that developed the Plan de Santa Barbara that served as the blueprint for the establishment of Chicano Studies Programs. I participated in the Chicano Moratorium and the anti-war movement. I am a strong supporter of social justice groups and have been involved with a number of community based organizations.
I have taught at San Diego State University (SDSU), NMSU in Las Cruces, and currently at Pitzer College. I have presented lectures, academic papers and workshops at national conferences and professional organizations. Through my affiliation with the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI), I served as one of the primary researchers on the high school and college retention project and co-authored a chapter in the anthology, The Broken Web: The Educational Experience of Hispanic American Women.