Latino or Hispanic-serving colleges and universities have risen 94% in the last 10 years, from 293 in 2010 to 569 in 2020, according to a recent report by Excelencia in Education.
Now 20 of the largest Latino-serving colleges are forming a new alliance to double Latino doctorates and increase the number of Latino professors by 20% by 2030.
The Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities, announced June 2022, aims to help increase Latino representation in higher education. Latinos make up less than 6% of US doctoral students and only 5% of college faculty.
“Hispanics are the largest minority group in the United States and are now 17% of the workforce, yet they continue to be underrepresented in higher education,” Dr. Heather Wilson, Chair of the Alliance, said in a news release. “No group is better positioned than we are to expand the pathway to opportunity.”
Endless Possibilities for Latinos in Higher Education
Equitable Latino representation among doctoral students offers many benefits, such as more career opportunities both in and outside of academia.
For example, Latino doctoral students could go on to increase Latino representation in other much needed areas, such as oncology.
Equitable Latino representation among college professors also touts important benefits. These include increased performance and graduation rates among undergraduate Latino students, who are far less likely than their white peers to complete their degree, and more likely to still be enrolled beyond six years on their path to a degree.
While finances and life events play a role in degree completion, Latinos may also struggle to earn their college diploma due to a lack of diverse instructors.
A 2014 study showed that if faculty more closely resembled the diversity of their students, performance gaps of minority students at community colleges can close 20% to 50%.
Diversity among faculty may help minority students “feel seen, understood, and confident to continue in higher education,” Jacqueline Centeno wrote in a Forbes article.
Considering Latinos will comprise one-fifth of all college students by 2025, the formation of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities is a much-needed win to help more Latinos graduate into successful careers.
“By improving Hispanic representation in academia, this Alliance will change the face of higher education,” said Dr. Kim Wilcox, Chancellor of the University of California, Riverside.
Which 20 Universities Are in the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities?
Arizona State University
City University of New York Graduate Center
Florida International University
Texas Tech University
The University of Arizona
The University of New Mexico
The University of Texas at Arlington
The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at El Paso
The University of Texas at San Antonio
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Riverside
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of California, Santa Cruz
University of Central Florida
University of Colorado, Denver
University of Houston
University of Illinois Chicago
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
University of North Texas
The 20 Alliance universities together have a 33% Latino student population.
Alliance universities conduct thousands of research projects in the arts and humanities, STEM, health sciences, social sciences and other fields. In 2019-2020, Alliance universities produced 11,027 doctoral graduates, of which 13% (1,451) were Latino.
“With Hispanics making up less than 6% of U.S. doctoral students, we must be intentional about creating opportunities for Hispanics,” said Dr. Michael Amiridis, outgoing Chancellor for the University of Illinois Chicago. “We believe this Alliance will make rapid progress in advancing Hispanic student enrollment in doctoral programs and broadening pathways to the professoriate by building on our strength as Hispanic serving research universities.”
Learn more about the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities at HSRU.org.
More Higher Education Opportunities for Latinos
Programs such as Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training, led by Salud America! director Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez of UT Health San Antonio, can also help more Latinos succeed in higher education.
Éxito! recruits 25 Latino students and health professionals annually for a culturally tailored curriculum to promote pursuit of a doctoral degree and cancer research career.
“Because academia doesn’t have a lot of Latinos in it, doesn’t have a lot of people of color in general, but specifically Latinos, it’s very difficult to really understand all of the processes. And so I think this program really helped make the playing field a little bit more equitable for certain communities,” Dr. Benjamín Aceves said of Éxito!
You can support Latino higher education, too.
Select your county and get a Health Equity Report Card by Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio. In your report card, you will see maps, data, and gauges to compare health equity issues, including education levels, to the rest of your state and nation.
You can email your Health Equity Report Card to local leaders to stimulate community change. Use the data in your materials or share on social media to raise awareness.
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