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Domino R. Perez, Director BUR 552, Mailcode F9200, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 471-4557

Victor B. Sáenz

Associate Professor Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Victor B. Sáenz

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Biography

Victor B. Saenz, PhD, is an associate professor in the Higher Education Administration program within the Department of Educational Administration (EDA). He is also a faculty associate with the Center for Mexican American Studies. Prior to UT-Austin, Dr. Saenz was the research manager for the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) at the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute, coordinating several national data collection efforts and studies of college students. In 2005, he received his PhD from UCLA in Higher Education and Organizational Change with a focus on access, equity, and diversity issues. His current research interests include: Border higher education issues; diversity & desegregation; college access and college readiness for Latina/o, first-generation, and low-income college students; policy issues in higher education; assessment issues in higher education. Dr. Saenz was a Spencer Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellow while at UCLA. He received an M.A. in Education from UCLA in 2002. He also received a Masters in Public Affairs (1999) and a B.A. (1996) in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Saenz was recently named by Diverse Magazine (June, 2009) as one of "25 to Watch, Diversity Leaders in Higher Education." He was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.

Interests

Higher Education Policy Issues; Educational Benefits of Racial/Ethnic Diversity; Desegregation Issues; Access, Transition, and Retention Issues (Especially Latino Males in Higher Education); Policy Impacts of Affirmative Action and Remedial Education Policies; and Assessment Issues in Higher Education (Learning Outcomes).

MAS MAS362 • Mexican Amer Policy Stds Smnr

35890 • Spring 2010
Meets M 500pm-800pm SZB 416
show description

Saenz Syllabus, MAS 362, Spring 2010       1 of 9
 
 
Professor’s Note:
I reserve the right to alter, change, and delete the course materials in this course syllabus due to any unforeseen
circumstances or to enhance the educational objectives of this course.
Mexican American Policy Studies Seminar (MAS) 362
SPRING 2010
 
Instructor        
Victor B. Saenz, PhD  
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Administration  
Office: SZB 310Q
(512) 475-8585
vsaenz@mail.utexas.edu
 
Meeting Times:  Mondays, 5pm to 8pm
   Class Location:  Sanchez 416
 
Office Hours:    Wednesdays, by appointment
 
 
COURSE DESCRIPTION & GOALS
 
This course examines public policy and the policymaking process in the United States and
Texas, specifically in relation to Mexican-American and other Latina/o communities. The
course begins by examining the public policy process and providing an overview of policy
theory, goals, actors, and research approaches. In terms of issues for this course, we will pay
special attention to the public policy goals of access, equity, and diversity, especially within an
educational context. With this context in mind, the course will primarily be devoted to public
policy issues focused on Latina/o populations in the United States. We will cover academic and
popular articles on Education policy issues, Affirmative Action, workers rights issues, the
English Only movement, electoral politics, Immigration reform, and the growing importance of
Latina/o participation in these public policy debates at the local, state, and national levels. The
course will further examine both historical trends and comparisons with other racial/ethnic
groups (White Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans).  
 
At the end of this course, you will have gained a thorough knowledge base on the public policy
process at various levels of government, and you should also have enhanced your understanding
of the pressing policy issues facing the U.S. Latina/o community.  You will become more
competent in writing brief policy memos on a variety of issues, and you will have increased your
critical consciousness on current issues affecting the Latina/o community.  
 
Finally, an underlying assumption to this course is a belief that college students can engage as
agents of social change.  This same view may be applied to how we think about knowledge and
the role a college student plays in the construction of his/her own knowledge.  As such, at the
heart of this course is a desire to challenge students to be active participants in the construction
of their own knowledge.  Students must come to see themselves as capable of creating meaning
from what they read, observe, and experience in their social worlds.   
 
 
Saenz Syllabus, MAS 362, Spring 2010       2 of 9
 
 
Professor’s Note:
I reserve the right to alter, change, and delete the course materials in this course syllabus due to any unforeseen
circumstances or to enhance the educational objectives of this course.
REQUIRED TEXTS (2) & OTHER READINGS  
 
There are two (2) required texts for this course. Please purchase these books no later than the
second week of classes. You can purchase them through the University Co-op or through other
bookstores or online outlets (e.g., Amazon, Borders, etc.).  
 
Author Title Publisher Ed. ISBN
Birkland, Thomas A.
An Introduction To The Policy
Process: Theories, Concepts, And
Models Of Public Policy Making
M.E. Sharpe 2nd 0765614898
Garcia, John A. Latino Politics in America Rowman &
Littlefield 1st 0847691659
 
Additional articles and book chapters are from various sources.  In an effort to minimize your
expenses for the readings, I have made most required readings available to you in electronic form.  
These readings can be accessed via the course blackboard website, and they will be denoted with
a “BB” in the course syllabus.  
 
In addition to the assigned readings for the course, students are strongly urged to keep up
to date with current events and policy issues through a daily reading of national or regional
news outlets, including paper sources (e.g., New York Times, Washington Post, Dallas
Morning News, or the Austin American Statesman) and online news sources (e.g., CNN.com,
MSNBC.com, or FoxNews.com). Also, be sure to bookmark education websites such as The
Chronicle of Higher Education (www.chronicle.com) and Education Weekly
(www.edweek.org).  
 
 
COURSE ASSIGNMENTS & GRADING
 
Course Attendance/Participation (5%)
This course requires insightful, respectful, and engaged discussion that demonstrates that
you have a critical understanding of the readings. To help facilitate discussion, students will
turn in, at the beginning of each class, one question about the readings for each week. Each
student will be a discussion leader or co-leader for one class in the semester, which will
make up part of your participation grade.
 
Weekly Discussion Leader (5%)
Each student will be required to choose a specific week in the semester to be the discussion
leader for that week’s assigned topics. You will be expected to prepare notes or an outline of that
week’s readings (to share with class) as well as offer some guiding questions throughout our
discussion for your assigned week.  
 
 
 
Saenz Syllabus, MAS 362, Spring 2010       3 of 9
 
 
Professor’s Note:
I reserve the right to alter, change, and delete the course materials in this course syllabus due to any unforeseen
circumstances or to enhance the educational objectives of this course.
Memos (3) (10% each)
The memo assignment is designed to be a concise and efficient write-up of a pressing policy
issue of relevance to the course. The instructor will offer students suggestions on potential
topics or prompts to employ as part of the assignment. Each memo is designed to be three
to four (3-4) pages in length (5 pgs for MA students), and they should be written as a
common memorandum.   
 
A memo (or policy memo) is a document that provides analysis and/or recommendations
for a particular audience regarding a particular issue or problem. A well-written memo
reflects attention to purpose; it is well organized; and it has a clear, concise style, and it
advocates for a particular course of action or policy stance. It is not simply a summary of a
topic or issue.  You should have an audience in mind for your policy memo (typically a
policymaker), and you need to think carefully about the needs and expectations of your
audience. For example, if your audience is an elected official seeking analysis on a highly
technical matter, you should generally assume that the official lacks substantial technical
expertise. You will need to define technical terms and provide enough background about
the situation you are discussing that such a “lay” audience can grasp your arguments. On
the other hand, if you are writing for a technically trained audience, you will waste time
and energy providing background information that your readers already know.
 
 
Midterm Exam (25%)
A mid-term exam will be taken in-class during Week 10.  The comprehensive exam will
consist of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and short- and long-essay questions, and it will
cover all course readings, discussions, and handouts reviewed up to that point.  The exam
counts for 25% of the overall course grade.  No make-up exams will be given, no exceptions.  
Please don’t forget to bring your own BLUE BOOK for this mid-term exam.  This is a closed
book, closed note exam. I will allow you to use a laptop for the exam, although no one will
be allowed to use the internet or other electronic files as a resource. SEE: UT Honor Code.
 
Final Policy Analysis Paper & Presentation (35%)
The final policy analysis paper will identify and discuss a policy problem relevant to the
course content. Each student will select a policy issue from within the Latina/o policy
discussions that we will have throughout the semester.  A list of topics may also be provided by
the instructor.  This policy analysis paper should summarize the issue (the background, history,
current status within policy world), highlight at least 5 pieces of relevant sources (beyond the
class readings) related to the issue (the sources may come from newspapers, magazines, journals,
books, etc.), suggest strategies/recommendations for approaching the issue in the future, and
discuss where you envision this particular policy issue headed in the future as it affects the
Latina/o community.  The paper should be between 8-10 pages in length (double-spaced, 1”
margins, 12 pt. font) and citations should be appropriately referenced both in the text and in an
attached reference page (not part of your page count).  No late papers will be accepted, no
exceptions.   
 
Saenz Syllabus, MAS 362, Spring 2010       4 of 9
 
 
Professor’s Note:
I reserve the right to alter, change, and delete the course materials in this course syllabus due to any unforeseen
circumstances or to enhance the educational objectives of this course.
The paper must site resources using a recognized reference format such as APA or MLA.  A 2-
page paper abstract of your chosen policy issue is due April 12th.  The final research paper is
due in class on May 3rd, 2010, the last class day (unless otherwise noted by instructor). Also,
all students will be required to present their paper to the class in a 5-7 minute presentation using
MS Powerpoint or any other presentation software. This paper and presentation constitute your
final assignments for this class, as there is no final exam.  
 
Grading Summary
Below is a table summary of all of the components of this course that will make up your
final grade. Please note that the weights for these grading items are not negotiable.  
 
Assignment    Weight for Final Grade   Due Date
 
Course Attendance/Participation  5%     Ongoing
Weekly Discussion Leader   5%     Ongoing
Memo #1      10%      02/08/10
Memo #2      10%      03/01/10
Midterm (Week 10)    25%      03/29/10
Memo #3      10%      04/19/10
Final Policy Paper  
Paper Abstract (2 pgs.)    5%     04/12/10
Final Paper (8-10 pgs.)  25%     05/03/10**
           Presentation (in class)    5%     05/03/10**
TOTAL     100%
** NOTE: Date may have to be postponed until 5/10/10 (based on my conference schedule). If the date is changed to the
May 10th, then you will also have an extra week to complete your final policy analysis paper.
 
 
MAS 362 – COURSE POLICIES
 
By taking this course and accepting this syllabus, you agree to all the following course
policies:
 A seminar requires active and respectful participation by each student in every
class. This is not a lecture class. Students will read the assignments before class and
be prepared to discuss and critique them. Please prepare for every week  
 This seminar meets once per week. Attendance is therefore required at each meeting.
Two unexcused absences will lower your final course grade by an entire grade.  
 A sign-in sheet will be passed around at the beginning of each class and collected
during the first break. This will be your only opportunity to sign-in.
 Missed classes can only be excused due to illness certified by a doctor, for family
emergencies certified by the Dean, or for official university events or activities with a
letter from the appropriate university authority.
 Students who require special provisions for exams or class because of a disability
should notify the professor before the need arises. Students may request more
information from the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities at 471-6259.
Saenz Syllabus, MAS 362, Spring 2010       5 of 9
 
 
Professor’s Note:
I reserve the right to alter, change, and delete the course materials in this course syllabus due to any unforeseen
circumstances or to enhance the educational objectives of this course.
 Late assignments will not be accepted and make-up exams will not be allowed except
for verified illness or documented family emergency as noted above.  
 This syllabus is subject to change by the instructor at any time to enhance the
educational objectives of the course.  
 
 
UT Honor Code
The core values of the University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership,
individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the University is expected to uphold
these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community.
 
 
 
WEEKLY TOPICS, READINGS, and ASSIGNMENTS
 
 
Week 1 01/18/10 NO CLASS (MLK Holiday)
 
 
Week 2 (01/25/10):  Intros, The Policy Process, & Class Activity
 
Handout:  
John A. Garcia, Latino Politics in America. Chapter 1, “An Intro to Latino Politics”,
read pgs. 1-6.
 
 
Week 3 (02/01/10):  Latina/o Demographics, Subgroups, & Leadership  
 
READ: John A. Garcia, Latino Politics in America
--Chapter 3, “Culture and Demographics” (31-51)
--Chapter 4, “Latino Subgroups in the US” (52-72)
--Chapter 8, “Latino Organizations & Leadership” (146-165)
 
--Tienda, M. (2009, March). Hispanicity and educational inequality: Risks, opportunities and the
nation’s future. (BB)
--Hernandez v. Texas, Handbook of texas online abstract (BB)
--Latino film maker recognized by state lawmakers for new PBS documentary. Rio Grande
Guardian. Aguilar, J. (2009, February 11). (BB)
--Website, Pew Hispanic Center: “A Statistical Portrait of Hispanics at Mid Decade”
http://pewhispanic.org/reports/middecade/
 
*Possible Guest Speaker: Juan Garcia
 
 
 
Saenz Syllabus, MAS 362, Spring 2010       6 of 9
 
 
Professor’s Note:
I reserve the right to alter, change, and delete the course materials in this course syllabus due to any unforeseen
circumstances or to enhance the educational objectives of this course.
Week 4 (02/08/10):  The Public Policy Process, Part I
 
DUE: Memo #1 & Presentation, “Adopt” a Latino Organization
 
READ:  
--Birkland, Chapters 1, 2, 3, & 4
--Sanchez, G. R. (2006). The role of group consciousness in political participation among Latinos in the
United States. American politics research, 34(4), 427-450.  (BB)
 
 
Week 5 (02/15/10):  The Public Policy Process, Part II
 
READ: Birkland, Chapters 6 & 9
*Film: A Class Apart
 
 
Week 6 (02/22/10):  Immigration Policy  
Guest Lecturer – Patricia Lopez (UT doctoral student)
 
READ: John A. Garcia, Latino Politics in America
--Chapter 9, “Immigration and Latino Immigrants” (166-186)
 
READ (BB):
-- Pew Research Center, America’s Immigration Quandary  
--Samuel P. Huntington, “The Hispanic Challenge.”
--Raul Yzaguirre & Roberto Suro, “Responses to Huntington”
--MALDEF and LULAC, “Responses to Huntington”
--Taking Hate out of Immigration Debate, New American Media
-- Tovar, H. (2009, September 7). E-mails on illegal immigration are eye-opening. LA Times.  
-- Editorial. (2009, February 1). The nativists are restless. The New York Times.  
 
* Possible Guest Speaker: Dr. Angela Valenzuela, UT-Austin
 
 
Week 7 (03/01/10): Immigration Policy in Texas  (continued)
DUE: Memo #2, Write to an Elected Official
 
READ  (BB)
--Shapleigh, “Lifting the Lamp Besides Texas’ Door”
--Cortez, “Educating America’s Immigrant Children: Policies, Challenges and Answers”
 
Guest Speaker: Immigration Law Clinic students
 
 
 
Saenz Syllabus, MAS 362, Spring 2010       7 of 9
 
 
Professor’s Note:
I reserve the right to alter, change, and delete the course materials in this course syllabus due to any unforeseen
circumstances or to enhance the educational objectives of this course.
 
Week 8 (03/08/10):  Education & Language Policy
 
READ (BB)
--Richard Valencia. “The Plight of Chicano Students: An Overview of Schooling Conditions
and Outcomes.”
--Latinos and Early Childhood – Fact Sheet
--Latinos and Elementary Education – Fact Sheet
--Pew Hispanic Center: “Hispanic Attitudes Toward Learning English”
http://pewhispanic.org/files/factsheets/20.pdf
--Institute for Language and Education Policy, English only movement
-- Ludwig, M. (2009, July 14). Local marketers plotting campaign to change Hispanics’
education beliefs. San Antonio Express News.  
-- Rodriguez, R. D. C. (2009, October 23). Leticia X is human  
-- Russell, A. (2007, August). In-state tuition for undocumented immigrants: States’ rights and
educational opportunity.
 
*Possible Guest Speaker: Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig
 
 
SPRING BREAK: (03/15/10 – 03/19/10)  
 
 
Week 9 (03/22/10):  Education Policy, Part II (Higher Education Issues)
 
READ (BB)
-- Santiago, D. A., & Reindl, T. (2009). Taking stock: Higher education and Latinos.  
-- The changing pathways of hispanic youths into adulthood. Fry, R. (2009, October 7), Pew
Hispanic Center  
--Latinos and Secondary Education – Fact Sheet
--Latinos and Undergraduate Education – Fact Sheet
--Leaks in the Chicana/o Education Pipeline
--Saenz, “Latina/o Freshman Trends”
-- Gonzales, R. G. (2009, April). Young lives on hold: The college dreams of undocumented students.
College Board.  
--Johnson, J., & Rochkind, J. (2009). With their whole lives ahead of them: Myths and realities about
why so many students fail to finish college.  
 
*Guest Speakers, ENCORE team
 
 
Week 10 (03/29/10):  MIDTERM EXAM (in class, closed book)
 
 
 
Saenz Syllabus, MAS 362, Spring 2010       8 of 9
 
 
Professor’s Note:
I reserve the right to alter, change, and delete the course materials in this course syllabus due to any unforeseen
circumstances or to enhance the educational objectives of this course.
 
Week 11 (04/05/10):  Health Policy
 
READ  (BB)
-- Sinn, J. (2009, December 7). Paradox Lost. Study on Latino health.  
--David Hayes-Bautista. 2003. “Illness and Wellness: The Latino Paradox.” In Latinos and
Public Policy in California.
--Fact sheet on Latino youth and health care access  
--National Council of La Raza: “Critical Disparities in Latino Mental Health”
--LCHC: “Mexican Immigrants are Generally Healthier, but Have Less Access to Needed
Health Care.” http://www.lchc.org/documents/MexicanImmigrantsGenerallyHealthier.pdf
 
*Possible Guest Speaker: Dr. Octavio Martinez, Hogg Foundation
 
 
Week 12 (04/12/10): Federal Policy Issues Affecting Latinos
DUE: Final Policy Analysis Paper Abstract
 
READ  (BB)
--Rodolfo de la Garza and Jerónimo Cortina. 2005. “Latinos as Foreign Policy Actors: Myth
or Reality?” Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy.
--“Latinos in the Military” Pew Hispanic Center,
http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/17.pdf
-- U.S. DOD: “DoD Aims to Attract More Hispanics to Its Work Force”
http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Oct2004/n10122004_2004101208.html
 
*Film: Mun2 Latinos in the Military
 
 
Week 13 (04/19/10): State (Texas) Policy Issues Affecting Latinos
DUE: Memo #3, Write memo for a State Agency Head or Director  
 
READ  (BB)
-- Orrenius, P., Zavodny, M., & Kerr, E. (2009, Summer/Fall). Getting to the bottom of Texas’
Latino pay gap.  
--LIF Policy Agenda
--TAMACC Legislative Agenda
-- Taylor, S. (2008, November 17). Peña: Like the mesquite tree, South Texas lawmakers thrive in
adverse conditions. Rio Grande Guardian.  
--FILM: “Mexican American Legislative Caucus: The Texas Struggle for Equality &
Opportunity”, Texas State University – San Marcos
 
* Possible Guest Speaker: Ms. Brie Franco
 
 
Saenz Syllabus, MAS 362, Spring 2010       9 of 9
 
 
Professor’s Note:
I reserve the right to alter, change, and delete the course materials in this course syllabus due to any unforeseen
circumstances or to enhance the educational objectives of this course.
 
Week 14 (04/26/10): Local/Urban Policy Issues Affecting Latinos
 
READ  (BB)
--Report on Austin Hispanic/Latino Quality of Life  
 Announcement (AAS article)
 Editorial (AAS)  
--Hispanic study tries to paint bigger picture against the backdrop of a changing city. Austin
American Statesman.  
 
* Possible Guest Speaker: Mr. Bobby Garza
 
 
Week 15 (05/03/10): Final Presentations
 
** NOTE: Date may have to be postponed until 5/10/10 (based on my conference schedule).
If the date is changed to the May 10th, then you will also have an extra week to complete
your final policy analysis paper.  
 
DUE: Final Policy Analysis Paper & Presentations
 
 

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