To Increase Latinx Graduate Students and Professors, Twenty Universities Come Together

Published By
Diverse: Issues In Higher Education
Published On
June 15, 2022

For years, it had bubbled under the surface, popping up in conversations at conventions between university presidents, a theoretical, “Wouldn’t it be neat, if..?” Now, the idea has come into fruition: The Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities (HSRU).

HSRU is made of up 20 founding universities, hailing from nine different states. All twenty are R1 research institutions, meaning they have met certain benchmarks to produce research. These R1 schools are also federally recognized as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), which means that their student populations are at least 25% Latinx. Together, they share two ambitious goals: double the number of Hispanic graduate students and increase Latinx representation in the professoriate by 20%, all by the year 2030.

Together, these 20 institutions will work to build a national network for Latinx graduate students, helping them find solidarity and belonging.

Currently, fewer than 6% of graduate students are Latinx, according to HSRU, and almost two-thirds of all postsecondary faculty in America are white, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

“The fact that Latino student enrollment in higher education has increased to about 20%, and faculty representation hasn’t changed much—we’re still between 5% and 7% now—it shows an opportunity here to accelerate students through graduate level so they can become the professors,” said Dr. Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education!, an organization focused on improving Latinx student success in higher education.

HSRU has already received grant support. The Andrew E. Mellon Foundation gave $5 million for a project called “Crossing Latinidades: Emerging Scholars and New Comparative Directions,” which will support Latinx humanities students and scholars as they prepare for professoriate roles.

“[The Alliance] sends a message that there are institutions, leaders, and communities committed to advancing the success of others in our community and that is a worthwhile investment,” said Santiago. “Especially for those who don’t see themselves as graduate students or professors, that this is a goal you can or should consider. There’s a message here about the value of Latinos in education that I don’t think we hear enough.”