CV and Letter of Introduction

A Villarreal CV March 2012

Sociology Department Chair
Monterey Peninsula College
980 Fremont Street
Monterey, CA 93940
avillarreal@mpc.edu
831-646-4164

Currently, I am teaching, writing new courses, and building programs of study at MPC, while trying to enjoy being an active and involved parent to my children, friend and companion to my spouse, and find time to complete final revisions and edit my doctoral dissertation, Latino Masculinities in Transition: Desire and Aspiration Among Mexican Descent Males at a Community College.  The study, based on forty interviews and six years of participant observation, examines the academic decision making, motivations, and barriers to success for Mexican males seeking to transfer to four-year universities, potentially the first in their families to achieve higher education degree goals.  My major findings reveal the ongoing importance of Mexican males within the regional labor structure of Santa Cruz County, as well as key narrative elements connecting individual desire, institutional practices, state policy, and national discourses of college opportunity.  In short, Mexican males show high rates of initial community college attendance, but some of the lowest transfer rates in the state.  My research points to several key interventions that could change these outcomes, not only for Mexican males, but also for underrepresented, first generation college students more generally.  I have several related research interests and future directions, listed on my CV.

For the Sociology Department at UC Santa Cruz, I have taught Socy 10: Issues and Problems in U.S. Society, Soc148S: Identity and Educational Inequality, and Socy 177: Urban Sociology.  I’ve also taught many courses in Sociology and English for area community colleges, including: Sociology of Latinas/os, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems,Mass Media and Society, Argumentation/Critical Thinking and Marriages and Families.  Finally, I have taught a graduate course at UCSC multiple times and ongoing, Education 207/281: Social Foundations of Education.  As an instructor, I teach sociological theory and method as active practices, connecting to students’ prior knowledge, and applying sociological understanding to compelling contemporary questions.  In all cases, the student and supervisor evaluations of my teaching have been consistently excellent.  Students comment that I am a dynamic, engaging, fair, consistent, organized, entertaining, and empowering instructor that they highly recommend to others.  I keep class time lively, and motivate students to achieve.

As a professional, I have been active in departmental affairs, on hiring committees, in the creation of new courses, and in the articulation of course content with Student Learning Outcomes and State Standards.  During the 2011/12 academic year, I acted as Coordinator of the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP), for the Chicano Latino Research Center (CLRC) at UCSC, where I was in charge of professionalizing twelve undergraduates seeking research and teaching careers.  I have acted as Graduate Student Representative for our Sociology Department.  At Sequoia High School, I helped prepare the Foreign Language Department’s share of the WASC accreditation process, and at Pájaro Valley High, I again was in charge of significant aspects of accreditation.  As Facilitator for School Site Council, I guided site-based management of important budgetary decisions.  I also served on a Data Collection Team, evaluating school programs.  I was chosen by the Sequoia Unified High School District to serve on a Literacy Council, identifying best practices and crafting policies to improve the teaching of writing across disciplines, particularly for English Language Learners.

I often stress that I am a product of public education, and the first in my family to attain a university education, characteristics that seem to connect me to many of my students.  As mentors have played a strong part in my own educational and professional journeys, I understand the importance of role models in the lives of students less familiar with academic pathways, and I hold a deep sense of social responsibility in offering similar guidance.  I’ve been fortunate in maintaining a bilingual/bicultural identity that has helped me relate to the diversity of students.

I cultivate and advocate for pedagogy that is relevant to students’ lives, engages them intellectually, and holds them to rigorous academic standards, while building professional relationships as a leader and colleague, with the goal of better connecting course offerings to the local population and lives of today’s students.  Wherever I touch down, I want to hit the ground running, and get involved with leadership, development and facilitation of current programs, and the general creation of a vibrant campus climate and community.  I have many ideas for dynamic course offerings, curriculum that builds transfer readiness, and learning communities that bridge disciplines and improve transfer rates.  I am also interested in the further development of service learning and participatory action research opportunities, to connect courses and programs to surrounding communities and institutions.

In June of 2011, I was invited to present research at several universities in Tokyo and Western Japan, and I will be publishing related articles, along with my collaborator, a professor from Chuo University.  Additionally, I have been asked to write an article on the education of Mexicans and other underrepresented groups in the U.S., for publication and eventual presentation in Japan.  This relationship is one I plan to continue developing, with potential opportunities for student exchange and faculty visits to Japanese institutions of higher learning.  Locally, I want to continue my research into transfer readiness and improving degree attainment for low-income, working class students of color and other first generation college students.

My intention is to share the optimism and positive energy that have endeared me to many of my students, model professionalism and commitment for colleagues and staff, collaborating and leading where I am needed, while providing dynamic sociological content and opportunity for critical thinking and reflection that may lead to action towards self transformation and democratic citizenship.  I am a passionate instructor, and motivating facilitator, committed to equitable, inspiring, multicultural education that serves the varied needs of all students.

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