Professor Armando Ibarra receives local award for work with Latinx community

Lantinx people lined up on a stage receiving awards

Armando Ibarra, professor at the UW–Madison School for Workers, received the Hispanic Achievement of the Year award from Madison-area Spanish-language music and talk radio station La Movida.

“This award honors leaders who exemplify the highest standards of their profession, demonstrate leadership and invest time and resources into their community,” says Lupita Montoto, account executive & promotions director at La Movida radio. “We at La Movida are proud that this year Dr. Ibarra received this recognition. For all his achievements and endless contributions to the Latino community, he definitely deserves it.”

Armando Ibarra headshot
Armando Ibarra, professor at the UW–Madison School for Workers; Photo above courtesy La Movida with Ibarra fourth from right

Ibarra joined the School for Workers faculty in January 2011. He’s also taught for the UW–Madison Chican@ & Latin@ Studies program since 2011 and held the director position there from July 1, 2018 to June 31, 2021. His research and fields of specialization are working communities of Latin American descent in the U.S. and beyond, social movements, community development, international labor migration and community-based participatory applied and action research. The life lessons from his experiences as an immigrant, seasonal farm worker, first-generation college student and labor organizer continue to influence his professional approach and worldview.

He received the award based on his community involvement with organizations in Dane County. For example, he is a member of the Latinx Consortium for Action, and through Voces de la Frontera has conducted community-based participatory research and advocacy.

Ibarra is a founding member of Voces de la Frontera’s Essential Workers Rights Network. He co-directed an important and unique study called “Voices of Wisconsin Workers – A Community Engaged Study of Essential Workers During the Pandemic.” He’s also developed a curriculum that teaches essential workers workplace safely, COVID-19 mitigation, immigrant and worker rights, and leadership development.

In addition, Ibarra is doing applied research with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Legal Action of Wisconsin Farmworkers Project, among a variety of other efforts locally and across the state.

“My work is really outward-facing – it is meant to be used by community partners to facilitate the decision-making processes,” Ibarra says. “I don’t consider myself a leader, but a professional within the university that works alongside the community to advance knowledge and better integrate Latinx needs in the greater community.

“It’s an opportunity to build scholarship and knowledge about the Latinx population across the state. What is the population, what are their challenges and what can we do to fully integrate people? We are creating these deep and institutional relationships that translate into service or advocacy in the Latinx community. We are carrying out the Wisconsin Idea in its entirety and giving communities a place at the table.”

La Movida is the largest Spanish-speaking news and entertainment service in the area. Ibarra received the Hispanic Achievement of the Year award at the 11th Annual Hispanic Heritage Luncheon: Celebrating Hispanic Achievements & Contributions in September in observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

For more information on Ibarra’s work, see his website.