Jesse M. Vazquez is Professor and Chair of the department of Graduate Educational and Community Programs at Queens College. Since 1975, he has served as Director of the college’s Puerto Rican Studies Program. Professor Vazquez is a founding Council member of the Puerto Rican Studies Association as well as Past President, past Vice President, and current board member of the National Association for Ethnic Studies. He was also a founding member of the advisory board of the CUNY – University of Puerto Rico Exchange Program (Center for Puerto Rican Studies), and an early and consistent participant in a New York statewide group of Latino educators called the Puerto Rican Council for Higher Education (PRCHE). This group was gradually transformed into a CUNY approved disciplinary group for Puerto Rican and Latino Studies.
After taking an undergraduate B. A. degree in sociology/anthropology, with a concentration in psychology, Professor Vazquez completed his Master in Science degree in 1967 in counseling at New York University. He then received his doctoral degree in counseling in 1975, also from New York University. His doctoral dissertation focused on the measurement and significance of ethnic (Puerto Rican) identity and its impact on the development of rapport in the counseling process.
For the past twenty five years, Professor Vazquez has continued to explore issues of ethnicity and culture in education and the teaching process and engaged in a series of activities which sought to integrate some of these ideas into university policies and practices, and in the curriculum. In the early 1980’s, together with a co-principal investigator, he won a grant from the US Department of Education under Title VII of the Secondary Education Act. This grant permitted Queens College to begin its first effort in training teachers in bilingual-multicultural education. In 1982, Professor Vazquez was awarded an individual fellowship grant from the Fund for Post Secondary Education – The Mina Shaugnessy Scholars Award. Professor Vazquez was also a participant co-developer in the College’s initial Mellon Grant (1987-88) that supported the development of the World Studies curriculum. Collaborative work with colleagues in Latin American Studies (G. Priestley) and Africana Studies (A. Habtu) won Queens College funding support, which enabled us to organize and launch a seminar series in Caribbean Studies. The CUNY-Caribbean Exchange Program funded the series in 1993. In 1995-96, Professor Vazquez, with faculty from the Queens College Asian/American Center and Urban Studies, and with support from the Aaron Diamond Foundation and CUNY, launched an interdisciplinary community-oriented pilot project called the Neighborhood Studies Program. From 1994 to 1996, he worked as a Co-Principal Investigator with S. Aronowitz, R. Bologh, and F. Kirkland (and earlier with Edmond Gordon and Frank Bonilla) in a Ford Foundation project, which sought to develop and establish a doctoral program in Intercultural Studies at the Graduate Center. This consortium included wide support and participation from CUNY faculty and graduate students from six interdisciplinary areas of study.
Professor Vazquez’s publications, among others, include some of the following titles: “Puerto Ricans and the counseling process: The dynamics of ethnicity and its societal context; The myths and tired old clichés about ethnic studies” (Chronicle of Higher Education); Education and community: Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in the schools and universities; Embattled scholars in the academy: A shared odyssey; The public debate over multiculturalism; Language and ideology; Ethnic studies and the new multiculturalism; The canon and Puerto Rican Studies; The co-opting of ethnic studies in the American university.
Professor Vazquez has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses at Queens College. These include Puerto Rican and Latino ethnic identity; Multicultural issues in psychological counseling; self awareness in counseling; Education and the Puerto Rican and Latino community; Field courses in Bilingual Settings; Group Counseling techniques and theory; individual counseling skills and other courses in Counselor Education as well as in Puerto Rican Studies.