The Hispanic Theological Initiative was established to create and nurture a community of Latina/o scholars and prepare a new generation of faith leaders for religious community and scholars for the academy. The Hispanic Theological Initiative manages the Hispanic Theological Initiative Consortium, consisting of 24 PhD-granting institutions across the nation. To fulfill its intention, HTI provides graduate students with mentoring, networking, editorial opportunities, and dissertation fellowships. These various resources have helped Latina/o students cope with the lack of supportive environments, financial resources, and feelings of marginalization and isolation during their graduate studies. At the commencement of their doctoral studies, HTI fellows are teamed with a seasoned Latina/o scholar in their field of study and denomination, once the student has obtained ABD (All-But-Dissertation) status, the HTI fellow is assigned a seasoned editor to support the writing of their dissertation.
With the support of the 24 consortium member institutions, the mission and vision of HTI revolves around three major goals:
- Increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of Latina/o PhD students across the nation by uniting and leveraging institutional resources (human, financial, and infrastructural).
- Increase the presence of Latina/o leaders and faculty-especially, tenured faculty in seminaries, schools of theology, and universities.
- Provide a forum for exchange of information, ideas, and best practices to engage the contributions of Latina/o faculty and students in theological and religious education.
Since its inception in 1996, HTI has:
- Supported 48 masters, 185 doctoral, and 10 post-doctoral fellows; out of the 48 masters fellows, 11 of them continued onto PhD studies
- 111 PhD fellows have completed their doctorates on an average time to degree of 5.5 years and HTI maintains a retention rate of 97%
- HTI has engaged 77 tenured and tenured-equivalent professors as mentors of HTI fellows; and for the 2017-2018 academic year, 44 HTI fellows are in the pipeline
HTI culminated its 20th Anniversary with a $1.5 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. This gift will provide 10 dissertation fellows (ABD) each year, with a $25,000 fellowship for the next five years.