On June 9, twenty universities announced the formation of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities which is dedicated to increasing opportunities for those historically underserved by higher education. These universities – including UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Riverside – were categorized as R1 or – very high research activity – by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education and designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education.
UC Riverside joins the new Hispanic Universities Alliance
UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox was among the speakers at the June 9th announcement at the University of Arizona Washington, D.C. Center for Outreach and Collaboration. He commented on the kind of impacts that would result from improving Hispanic representation in academia and forming this Alliance would have on the research conducted within these institutions.
In 2008, UCR was federally recognized as the first Hispanic Serving Institution within the UC system, having an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25% Hispanic. UCR has continued to serve its Latine community, and making higher education more accessible for underrepresented communities.
The HSRU Alliance intends to double the number of Hispanic doctoral students enrolled at Alliance universities and increase the number of Hispanic professors in Alliance universities by 20%. The 20 HSRU Alliance universities represent nine states and together enrolled 766,718 students in the Fall of 2020. According to the U.S. Department of Education statistics, 33% of enrolled students were Hispanic. The National Science Foundation calculated that the combined research spending of these universities in 2020 totaled more than $5.9 billion.
This nationwide effort to increase educational opportunity highlights the efforts already underway across the UC campuses to increase faculty diversity and support the success of students of underserved communities.
The HSRU alliance universities are engaged in thousands of research projects in the arts and humanities, STEM, health sciences, social sciences, and other fields. In the 2019-2020 academic year, Alliance universities produced 11,027 doctoral graduates, 13% of which were Hispanic.
The universities were already working together on several initiatives prior to the formal announcement of the HRSU Alliance. The Mellon Foundation funded the first project that focused on supporting more Ph.D. students in Latine humanities studies and guiding them to academic careers. The National Science Foundation funded the second initiative to expand opportunities for Hispanic students in computer science.
The conversations and distance-enabled meetings that occurred during the pandemic among presidents and chancellors, as well as faculty and administrators coordinated by the University of Illinois Chicago, formalized the relationships that proved to be vital for this alliance.