18th Annual Continuums of Service Conference

"Seeking Solutions to Complex Challenges Through Inquiry and Engagement"


Jose Calderon - Pitzer College

Jose Zapata Calderon is Emeritus Professor in Sociology and Chican@ Latin@ Studies at Pitzer College, President of the Latino and Latina Roundtable, and a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Education.  He received his B. A. from the University of Colorado in Communications, and his MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of California Los Angeles. As an immigrant and the son of immigrant farm workers,, he has had a long history of connecting his organizing and academic work with immigrant rights organizing, student-based service learning, participatory action research, critical pedagogy, and community-based coalition building. After graduating from the University of Colorado, he devoted fourteen years to community organizing efforts, particularly in Northern Colorado. While working on his PhD at UCLA between 1984 and 1991, he helped organize multi-racial coalitions to defeat an English Only movement in the city of Monterey Park and to elect various local leaders to political offices.  In recent years, he has connected his academic work and research with community organizing in California’s Inland Empire region. Between 2004 and 2006, he was the inaugural hold of the Michi and Walter Weglyn Endowed Chair in Multicultural Studies at Cal Poly Pomona University.  In the American Sociological Association, he has served as chair of the Latino/a Section, honored with its “Founder’s Award” in 2014, and served as part of the Program Committees for the 2010 and 2011 Annual Meetings.  For his work in building partnerships between communities and higher education, the California Campus Compact has honored him with the Richard E. Cone Award for Excellence and Leadership in Cultivating Community Partnerships in Higher Education.  In January 2009, he was presented with the “Unsung Hero and Dreamkeeper Award” by the California Alliance of African American Educators The United Farm Worker’s Union has also honored him with the Si Se Puede” award for his life-long contributions to the farm worker movement.   More recently, for his organizing efforts, he was awarded the Ambassador Nathaniel and Elizabeth Davis Civil Rights Legacy Award.  As a community-based activist intellectual, he has published numerous articles and studies including: “The Commonalities in Our Past Transform Pedagogy for the Future” in The Pitzer College 50th Anniversary Engaged Faculty Collection: Community Engagement and Activist Scholarship, 2014; “Latin@s and Social Movements in the Obama Years” in Camino Real, 2013; “One Activist Intellectual’s Experience in Surviving and Transforming the Academy in Transforming the Ivory Tower: Critical Analyses of Sexism, Homophobia, and Racism in the Academy, University of Hawaii Press, 2012; “Civic Engagement, A Tool for Building Democracy in Teacher Education and Practice” in Journal of Texas Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, 2011; “Perspective-Taking as a Tool For Building Democratic Societies in Diversity and Democracy; “Linking Critical Democratic Pedagogy, Multiculturalism, and Service Learning to a Project-Based Approach” in his edited book Race, Poverty, and Social Justice: Multidisciplinary Perspectives Through Service Learning; “Organizing Immigrant Workers: Action Research  and Strategies in the Pomona Day Labor Center", in Latino Los Angeles, (edited by Enrique C. Ochoa and Gilda Laura Ochoa), 2006; Lessons From an Activist Intellectual: Participatory Research, Teaching, and Learning For Social Change," in Latin American Perspectives, January, 2004; “Inclusion or Exclusion: One Immigrant’s Experience and Perspective of a Multicultural Society,” in Minority Voices, edited by John Meyers, Allyn and Bacon, 2004.