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VOLUME 29, NUMBERS 1 & 2, 2016

Special Issue: Latinas/os and a Spirit of Dedication and
Commitment towards the Community
Elizabeth T. Murakami
Invited Guest Editor
Texas A&M-San Antonio

Frank Hernandez
Invited Guest Editor
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin
This special issue of the National FORUM of Applied Educational Research focuses on
the work of Latina/os involved in education. Following our special issue on Latina/o leaders in
the Educational Administration special issue, this compilation of articles bring together the
dedication and commitment of those working towards educational attainment and goals. In their
testimonios, we find teachers, administrators, graduate and doctoral students, along with scholars
inform about the challenges and successes of Latina/os and their impact in education.
The nature of Applied Research involves a complex circle of acquired and developed
epistemic knowledge and the empirical research study of the application of such knowledge.
Excellence in applied research includes the informed nature of research, and an analysis of its
applicability. Especially in education, the value of applied research has demonstrated that the
application of research knowledge creates a possibility of experimenting with such knowledge in
different contexts. The reflection of these experiments enriches our research knowledge
especially if we can learn not only from the replication of methods but the variability of
results. Furlong and Oancea (2013) argue that some researchers still challenge the validity of
applied and practice-based research in education. However, the authors show that the quality and
relevance of direct evidence is revealing and applicable to further research.
For Latinas/o educators, reflecting on existing research involves a critical analysis. Their
experiences in schools and collegesfoundational spaces for knowledge and use of research,
may not have been always positive. Nevertheless they persevered becoming educators
themselves, bringing with them lessons about how to adapt and improve educational conditions,
especially for students of color. They reveal important leadership characteristics that meet the
needs of, not only Latina/o students, but all the students in their care. Our goal with this issue is
to recognize the accomplishments of these Spanish-speaking communities and generate an
understanding of the Latino participation in American education.
The important connections between the root knowledge of these educators and their
lessons create possibilities for future generations. Their experiences growing up in America, the
development of a personal and professional identity, their training, preparation, and care in the
development of pedagogies that connect back to the community are some of the topics the
scholars in this issue address.


VOLUME 29, NUMBERS 1 & 2, 2016
The articles in this special issue share testimonies and narratives about the role of
education in the lives of Latina/o students, professors, and administrators. From experiencing
conflict with the dominant culture in schools and personal experiences as a public school teacher
to Latina mothers involvement in education and community building, these authors provide us
with several important perspectives. Further, by discussing discrimination and deficit-thinking,
the importance of preparing teachers in higher education towards culturally relevant sensitivity,
and the encouragement needed to push teachers towards earning graduate degrees, these authors
leave us with several moving lessons. Guajardo and Garcia, the authors of the final article in this
issue, contend that at the heart of teaching, learning, leading, and inquiry lies the community.
The Latina/o scholars, practitioners, and community leaders bring courage, hope, and resilience
in their participation in schools. We hope that through the contributions of these authors, you
develop a new understanding about the contribution of Latinas/os in education.
Furlong, J., & Oancea, A. (2013) Assessing quality in applied and practice-based research in
education: Continuing the debate. London, England: Routledge.
Elizabeth T. Murakami, PhD is a Latin-American born Professor and Director of Programs in
Educational Leadership in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&MSan Antonio. Her research focuses on successful school leadership and social justice at national
and international levels, including research on leadership dynamics and identity, gender, race,
and the academic success of Latin@ populations from P-20 to advanced professions in
Frank Hernandez, PhD serves as Dean for the College of Education at The University of Texas
of the Permian Basin. With 25 years of educational experiences both in K-12 and higher
education, Dr. Hernandez has focused his research on leadership for social justice, Latinos and
school leadership, racial identity development, and LGBTQ inclusive environments for students,
teachers, and leaders.