Twenty of the nation’s top research universities – including UNLV – today announced the formation of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities to increase opportunity for those historically underserved by higher education.
The 20 universities represent every university that has been both categorized as R1 (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.
“Finding solutions to today’s increasingly complex research challenges requires insight from diverse perspectives and diverse professionals," said UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield. "To get there, we must develop initiatives that inspire students from underrepresented communities to consider careers in higher education and support them every step of the way. By working together, this alliance of powerhouse universities has the research and institutional capacity to make a real impact for current and future Hispanic students and scholars.”
The HSRU Alliance aims to achieve two key goals by 2030:
- Double the number of Hispanic doctoral students enrolled at Alliance universities. As of Fall 2021, UNLV had 181 enrolled Hispanic doctoral students.
- Increase by 20% the Hispanic professoriate in Alliance universities. UNLV currently has 70 full-time instructional faculty who identify as Hispanic or Latino.
“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. No group is better positioned than we are to expand the pathway to opportunity,” said Heather Wilson, president of the University of Texas at El Paso and chair of the Alliance. “We believe we are stronger together than as individual institutions acting alone.”
Representing nine states, the 20 HSRU Alliance universities together enrolled 766,718 students in the Fall of 2020; of those, 33% (254,399) were Hispanic . In 2020, the combined research spending of these universities totaled more than $5.9 billion.
The Alliance universities are engaged in thousands of research projects in the arts and humanities, STEM, health sciences, social sciences and other fields with world-changing outcomes. In 2019-20, Alliance universities produced 11,027 doctoral graduates, of which 13% (1,451) were Hispanic.
“With Hispanics making up less than 6% of U.S. doctoral students, we must be intentional about creating opportunities for Hispanics,” said 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.”
Prior to the formal announcement of the HSRU Alliance, the universities began working together on several initiatives. The first project, funded by a $5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation, will conduct cross-regional research and train doctoral students in Latinx humanities. A second initiative, funded by the National Science Foundation, expands opportunities for Hispanic students in computer science.
The Alliance began during the pandemic through conversations and distance-enabled meetings among presidents and chancellors, as well as faculty and administrators coordinated by the University of Illinois Chicago. The effort took hold and grew into a determination to formalize the relationship announced today.
In 2015, UNLV became the first four-year institution in Nevada with Hispanic enrollment of 25 percent, meeting the U.S. Department of Education’s definition of an Hispanic Serving Institution. Currently, more than 30% of UNLV's students identify as Hispanic or Latino, and In 2021 the university ranked as the nation's most diverse for undergraduates by U.S. News & World Report.
In addition to UNLV, universities in the Alliance include Arizona State University; City University of New York Graduate Center; Florida International University; Texas Tech University; University of Arizona; University of New Mexico; University of Texas at Arlington; University of Texas at Austin; University of Texas at El Paso; 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; and University of North Texas.
Learn more about the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities at HSRU.org.