Panelists at the 2006 NYLARNet Latino Immigration Policy Conference were Emmanuel Ness, Manuel Garcia y Griego, Susan Gauss and NYLARNet Director José Cruz

NYLARNet: Producing Knowledge and Results

By Amy Halloran, B.A.’90

With Latinos comprising 16 percent of New York’s 19.1 million citizens, policies regarding immigration, health, education and political participation have come to the fore in recent years. Thanks to the UAlbany-based New York Latino Research and Resources Network (NYLARNet), the state has a resource that informs both public discourse and the policy-making process relating to those issues.

Established in 2004, NYLARNet sponsors and conducts research focusing on Latinos in the Empire State. The nonprofit operates on a consortium model, with affiliates at UAlbany’s Center for Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies (CELAC) and at Columbia University’s Teachers College, Hunter College, City College and Cornell.

At NYLARNet, explained José Cruz, network director and associate professor of political science, “we conduct surveys, interviews, and analysis of primary and secondary sources, then use research papers or reports to suggest new policies or modifications to existing policies. Some of our work produces knowledge that, although not applied in a strict policy sense, is useful as a contribution to the understanding of broad historical questions and issues that impact our political culture.”

NYLARNet research also produces results. An assessment of Latino representation within the City University of New York faculty, Cruz noted, “led to the establishment of an office within CUNY to identify and recruit more Latino faculty within the system.” And doctoral candidate Jennifer Woodward, M.A.’08, who studied bilingual education in New York City schools, wrote a report that helped bring together state and local educators and politicians on a task force aimed at increasing academic services for Bronx students, especially English-language learners.

Jackie Hayes, M.A.’09, is working with Cruz and Joel Bloom, director of Assessment & Survey Research and research assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, on a survey she hopes will determine “if there are certain things that can be tailored in order to attract more Latino students into state jobs. On the state level, there are major disparities in Latino representation in government jobs,” said the Ph.D. candidate, who has also studied Latinas in the garment industry at home and abroad. Hayes enjoys the research process and may consider a career in nonprofit research.

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