Launch of the Hispanic-Service Research University Alliance

A group of 20 research universities, including Hispanic-saving institutions, have formed an alliance to recruit more Hispanic doctoral students and faculty members into their programs.

The newly formed Hispanic Serving Research Universities Alliance announced at a launch event in Washington, D.C. on Thursday that it aims to double the number of Hispanic doctoral students and increase the number of Hispanic faculty in these institutions by 20 percent by 2030.

The leaders of these universities will share their progress tracking data and collaborate on grant proposals for joint projects to meet those goals.

Heather Wilson, president of the University of Texas at El Paso and chairman of the alliance, noted that Hispanics make up 17 percent of the U.S. workforce but less than 6 percent of doctoral students nationwide.

“It’s not good enough,” Wilson said at the event. “No group is better positioned than us to expand the scope of opportunity and change the face of higher education in America, not just in a discipline, but in all disciplines: humanities and arts, engineering and science, health and law and business. We believe we are better off together.” Strong. “

This group includes all universities with “very high research activity,” or R-1 classification, and federally designated HSI status. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Fall 2020 data, the alliance’s universities are spread across nine states and together serve 254,399 Hispanic students, accounting for 33 percent of their total student population. In the 2019-20 academic year, institutions have collectively graduated 1,451 Hispanic doctoral students, accounting for 13 percent of their total doctoral graduation.

“I think it’s a big deal,” said Antonio Flores, president and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. The announcement shows that leaders of Hispanic-serving research universities acknowledge that “there are not too many professors in their institution who look like the students they serve” and are committed to building a stronger pipeline.

A study published in Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy The number of permanent Latino faculties increased by less than 1 percent between 2013 and 2017, and they now account for about 4 percent of the total faculty nationwide. Meanwhile, Hispanic students accounted for about 20 percent of students nationwide in 2017, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.

Even if the coalition succeeds in increasing the institution’s Hispanic faculty by 20 percent, Flores hopes the gap between Hispanic students and faculty members will widen as Latino communities in the United States grow faster and more Hispanic students enter K-12 schools.

“I think their goals are admirable and their intentions are definitely on the right track, but I think the numbers have to be much higher,” Flores said. “I think we have a lot more to offer, but it’s not just about those institutions. It depends on everyone who wants to ensure a professor and a PhD. Graduates reflect the country’s population and the higher education student population. It’s not just HSI. “

Coalition leaders have already launched two programs focusing on attracting potential and current doctoral students: the Hispanic Serving Institution’s Computing Alliance, which aims to guide Hispanic students interested in computer science toward a PhD. Field programs, and the Crossing Latinides Humanities Research Initiative to support cross-regional research on the Latino community and run year-round mentorship programs for second- and third-year PhDs. Student of Latino Studies. Anthropology students from different campuses will be associated with mentors and will help improve their network and research and writing skills for a Summer Institute program.

“Everything is interconnected. It’s like a puzzle,” said Olga Herrera, managing director of the mentoring and research program. “They will be open to academic research, academic writing. They will have mentors.

He said the program would provide multiple opportunities to connect students and “strengthen their CVs.”

Cynthia Lariv, Chancellor of the University of California, Santa Cruz, says one advantage of multiple university alliances is the ability to create programs that connect Hispanic graduates from specific fields and help them feel less isolated. For example, Lariv says, a given campus may have only one or two Latin doctoral students in its chemistry department, but the alliance could potentially connect Latin chemistry students across the country.

“Bringing together people who can support each other and build a network of colleagues that will last a lifetime and throughout their careers আমি I think that’s a really important idea,” he said.

Wilson said another advantage of the alliance is the regular opportunity to exchange best practices. He noted that the University of Texas at El Paso has found that Hispanic students who participate in undergraduate research programs and build strong working relationships with faculty members and administrators are more likely to attend graduate school. These results may prove useful to other university leaders.

Javier Reyes, interim chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago, believes the alliance could have an impact on universities with smaller Hispanic populations. As Alliance universities graduate more Hispanic doctoral students, he hopes that some of them will be hired as professors at non-HSIs, giving those institutions the power to consider the graduate education of Hispanic students.

“We won when this effort now provided a broad set of PhDs. Only enroll students in institutions that are not Hispanic-service providers “because then” any Hispanic student, any Latin student, can see themselves in higher education across the spectrum of the country’s great universities, “he said.

He noted that the increase in the number of Hispanic faculty members could diversify the leadership of higher education, as some of these scholars rose through ranks and became administrators.

Kim Wilcox, chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, says the alliance indicates a new level of awareness among higher aid leaders.

“Ten years ago, there was very little talk about student success in America, the upward dynamism,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then. We didn’t have this kind of conversation about the doctorate, about the Latin representation in the faculty, about the importance of knowledge but about the importance of role models for all those students. I’m not so excited about projects and goals, which is good. I am more enthusiastic about changing the national dialogue. This is the real opportunity. “

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