UCLA professor to deliver Oehler Lecture at VCU on ‘Latino Students: Challenging Myths and Reframing Assets’

By Brian McNeill, University Public Affairs, 804-827-0889

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018

Photo of Patricia Gándara

Patricia Gándara, Ph.D.

Patricia Gándara, Ph.D., a research professor at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and co-director of The Civil Rights Project at UCLA, will visit Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Education to discuss the challenges facing the Latino community and the educators who serve it. She will highlight assets that make changing demographics a win-win situation for Virginia.

Gándara’s talk, “Latino Students: Challenging Myths and Reframing Assets,” is the 2018 John and Mary Sue Oehler Lecture for Educational Leadership at the School of Education. The lecture series each year brings an internationally renowned speaker to campus to provide expertise on key issues in education.

The event is free and open to the public and will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on March 1 at the VCU Sports Medicine Building, 1300 W. Broad St.

“Dr. Gándara’s lecture could not be more timely given the current sociopolitical climate that includes immigration reform and DACA,” said Deborah L. Speece, Ph.D., associate dean of research and faculty development at the VCU School of Education. “Her expertise includes Latino students and education, overcoming barriers, and the impact of immigration enforcement on teaching and learning. For the Oehler Lecture, she will focus on rethinking stereotypes and reframing assets of Latino students.”

“For the Oehler Lecture, she will focus on rethinking stereotypes and reframing assets of Latino students.”

Gándara received her Ph.D. in educational psychology from UCLA. She has been a bilingual school psychologist and a social scientist with the RAND Corp. She has directed education research in the California legislature, and since 1990 she has been a professor of education in the University of California system. She also served as commissioner for post-secondary education for the state of California.

Her teaching and research interests include educational equity and access for low-income and ethnic minority students, language policy, and the education of Mexican origin youth; examination of the impact of restrictive language policies on students, schools and communities in the U.S.; pathways through California community colleges for underrepresented students; addressing the educational needs of secondary English learners; and policy options to meet the resource needs of California’s English learners.

Gándara is an elected fellow of the American Educational Research Association and the National Academy of Education. In 2011, she was appointed to President Barack Obama’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, and in 2015 received the Distinguished Career Contribution Award from the American Educational Research Association Committee on Scholars of Color. Her most recent books are "The Latino Education Crisis" (2009); "Forbidden Language: English Learners and Restrictive Language Policies" (2010); and "The Bilingual Advantage: Language, Literacy, and the U.S. Labor Market" (2014). She is currently preparing a manuscript on "The Impact of Immigration Enforcement Policies on Teaching and Learning in the Nation’s Schools."

The Oehler Lecture was created in honor of Dr. John S. Oehler, who served as dean of the School of Education from 1985-2002.

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