PLU students in the Hispanic Studies Program are challenged to think critically in an increasingly global world and to see the complexity of Hispanic cultures from many perspectives. The understanding of a language includes the understanding of the cultures and peoples who speak it. We aim at educating students to become more effective participants in the global community of the twenty-first century by promoting awareness and sensitivity to Spanish language and Hispanic cultures. The leaders of the Hispanic Studies program know how to leverage opportunities with innovative thinking and creativity.

Commitment to HISP student population

The Hispanic Studies program is committed to serving our rapidly growing Hispanic student population. According to a 2007 Census Bureau report, Spanish has become the second most commonly spoken language (after English) in the United States, and over twenty of the approximately thirty-eight million foreign born residents in the U.S. – over 52% – are of Latin American origins. As Karl Stumo indicated at a recent Program Leaders’ meeting, this growth portends a projected 76% increase in populations that self-identify as Hispanic, and 28% decrease in those who self-identify as white non-Hispanic, within PLU’s primary marketing region by 2028.
In addition, more and more students come to PLU with direct exposure—in communities, neighborhoods, the workplace, churches, and schools—to Spanish and persons of Latino descent. And whether it’s their personal history, intellectual curiosity, economic pragmatism, or a desire to serve, an increasing number of them develop a commitment and a need to master the Spanish language and to learn more about its diverse cultures and literatures.