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Ruben Martinez - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Ruben Martinez

Professor of Sociology and Director of the Julian Samora Research Institute | Michigan State University


Ruben Martinez is an expert in race and ethnic relations, education of ethnic minorities, and environmental justice.



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Martinez's research interests include neoliberalism and Latinos, diversity leadership in higher education, institutional and societal change, education and ethno-racial minorities, youth development, Latino labor and entrepreneurship, and environmental justice. Martinez is the editor of the Latinos in the United States book series with the Michigan State University Press. He has numerous publications, including three co-authored books: Chicanos in Higher Education (1993), Diversity Leadership in Higher Education (2007), and A Brief History of Cristo Rey Church in Lansing, MI (2012); one edited volume, Latinos in the Midwest (2011); and two co-edited volumes: Latino College Presidents: In Their Own Words (2013), and Occupational Health Disparities among Racial and Ethnic Minorities: Formulating Research Needs and Directions (2017).

Industry Expertise (3)



Writing and Editing

Areas of Expertise (5)

Race in America

Institutional Change

Ethnic Minorities

Diversity Leadership

Latinx Voting Habits

Education (3)

University of California - Riverside: Ph.D., Sociology 1984

Arizona State University: M.A., Sociology 1978

University of Southern Colorado: B.S., Behavioral Science 1976

News (3)

Hispanics, Asians fuel Michigan population rise

The Detroit News  online


Hispanics and Asians are much younger than whites in Michigan and they will have "more and more impact on the sustainability of the economy," said said Dr. Rubén Martinez, professor of sociology and director of the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University.

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Multiracial Families Find Lansing Welcome



Ruben Martinez is a professor of sociology and director of the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University. His work focuses on institutional and societal change. He sees these cultural shifts as a sign of the expanding diversity of the United States. “Mixed-race and mixed-ethnic youth are increasing in number, and they are much more tolerant, less likely to be engaged in the old way of thinking about races,” said Martinez...

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Michigan’s Latino Population Has Growing Pains, Report Shows

MSU Today  


“Latinos are a core segment of Michigan’s overall population. They contribute to the state’s economic security and cultural diversity,” said Rubén Martinez, director of the JSRI. “It is imperative that policies, initiatives and services address their needs. It will position Michigan for a brighter future”...

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Journal Articles (4)

The impact of neoliberalism on Latinos

Latino Studies

2016 The neoliberal movement and its policies of the past four decades have negatively impacted the entire nation. This essay provides an overview of American neoliberalism and its elements, with particular emphasis on how it is imbued with and frames powerful racist currents, and how it has impacted Latinos. An examination of the impact of neoliberalism on Latinos shows persistently high levels of poverty, declining household income and declining levels of wealth. Neoliberal policies that reduce funding for education lead to program cuts that negatively impact Latinos. In K-12, bilingual education programs and other multicultural education programs continue to be under attack. Undocumented immigrants are increasingly incarcerated in private prisons and civil and human rights generally continue to be diminished by practices allowed under the Patriot Act. The essay concludes with a critical discussion of neoliberalism and the public good in American democracy.

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A Latino Scorecard for Higher Education : A Focus on Texas Universities

Journal of Hispanic Higher Education

2012 A Latino scorecard is presented for higher education institutions using an index of eight measures for resources, effectiveness, diversity, equity, affordability, and access. It is applied to public 4-year institutions in Texas and shows that institutions located in South Texas and those with higher resources do better relative to Latino students. The scorecard can inform Latino parents on how institutions perform relative to Latinos and provide objective information on performance to colleges and universities to institutions.

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The Diversity Rationale in Higher Education: An Overview of the Contemporary Legal Context

Social Justice

2003 While U.S. society portrays itself as rooted in a history of equal opportunity, institutionalized forms of discrimination limit the life chances of minority populations in the United States. The social struggles of the 1960s resulted in the formation and expansion of social policy interventions intended to promote equal opportunity for socially oppressed groups.

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Leadership Practices and Diversity in Higher Education : Transitional and Transformational Frameworks

The Journal of Leadership Studies

2002 Diversity has deep roots in American society and a tenacious hold on its social fabric. Institutions of higher education have not been very responsive to the issues raised by rapidly growing diverse communities in the United States. The institutions' response to diversity is not unexpected given that higher education is relatively conservative about changing its institutional practices.

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