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Two professors unite, issuing call to improve Latino faculty representation

Juan Carrillo, a faculty member at the School of Education, is one of two professors at the center of this story about how well Latino/a professors feel they are accepted at U.S. universities.

“When I first came to North Carolina, I felt isolated in the academic community,” Carrillo told the newspaper. “It seemed like Latinos were hidden behind trees — it became so much harder to find communities where Latinos were out and about, engaging in public spaces.”

The story points out that nine of the top 10 states with the fastest growing Latino/a populations from 2000-2011 were in the South. North Carolina saw growth of 120 percent.

At the same time, Latino/a faculty representation at Duke and Carolina remain under the 4 percent national average, the paper said.

Carrillo told the paper that his experience at Carolina has been generally positive, noting his bonds with students.

Carrillo, whose research includes work examining how some Latino males overcome societal pressures in the U.S. to achieve academic success, has worked to help strengthen the Latino/a community at Carolina. He has also worked as co-principal investigator in the evaluation of the Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate program within Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, focusing on the impact of mentoring relationships on Latino male students.

His efforts were recognized by Carolina students last year when they named him the 2014 Chiron Award recipient, an honor that recognizes excellence in teaching and devotion to students.

Carrillo told USA Today that universities have more to do to build Latino/a representation on their campuses.

“The challenge is that institutions tend to hire people who look like the people who are already in them,” Carrillo said. “Our goal is to change that mindset, and to not just increase the numbers, but also to increase the range of experiences that come with faculty diversity.”

Read the USA Today story here.