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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

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UH joins HSRU, aims to increase Hispanic opportunity


Some of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities' goals include doubling the amount of Hispanic students enrolled in doctorate programs and increasing the amount of Hispanic professors by 20 percent. | Christopher Charleston/The Cougar

Some of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities’ goals include doubling the amount of Hispanic students enrolled in doctorate programs and increasing the amount of Hispanic professors by 20 percent. | Christopher Charleston/The Cougar

With 2.1 million Hispanic residents, the city of Houston is home to one of the largest Hispanic populations in the U.S. The University’s demographics reflect this as well, with roughly a third of its students identifying as Hispanic or Latino, UH’s Latino community is the eighth largest of any university nationwide.

In its most recent effort to cater to this community, the University announced that it will be joining the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities. UH will become one of the seven founding universities in Texas alongside schools such as the University of Texas, UTSA and Texas Tech.

The organization defines themselves as “a voluntary association of universities that are both Hispanic-Serving Institutions as defined by Title V of the Higher Education Act and in the top 5 percent of universities in the United States for research,” according to the HSRU website.

The organization’s goals include doubling the amount of Hispanic students enrolled in doctorate programs, as well as increasing the amount of Hispanic professors by 20 percent. Both of which the HSRU hopes to achieve by 2030.

Pursuant to these goals, the Alliance will implement a variety of data-sharing and research based strategies to better serve the Hispanic community. The HSRU is predicated on cooperative action between the 20 member universities nationwide that have joined the Alliance.

“Our network is stronger than we are as individual institutions acting alone, and that by working together we are more likely to reach our common goals,” according to the HSRU website. 

In addition to increasing the number of Hispanic professors and PhD students, the Alliance also hopes to address the underrepresentation of Hispanic students enrolled in STEM programs. The HSRU will be working in collaboration with the National Science Foundation in order to find ways to better engage Hispanic students in STEM disciplines.

Joining the HSRU comes as yet another step in a previous efforts taken on behalf of the University to better serve its Hispanic student body. Aside from the scholarships and resources UH has made available to Hispanic students in recent years, in February of this year the board of regents also approved the new Bachelor of Arts in Mexican American and Latino/a applied studies, an undergraduate degree program focused on the experiences and contributions of the Latino community in the U.S.

UH President Renu Khator will be serving on the board of the Alliance, alongside several other high ranking faculty members from other universities also a part of the alliance.

“By uniting these research powerhouses, we can truly make a difference and improve Hispanic representation in the highest levels of research across the country while also creating a diverse pipeline to fuel the workforce,” Khator said in a statement. “At the University of Houston, one-third of our students are Hispanic and we have made great strides in serving this historically underserved population, but more needs to be done to expand educational opportunities in doctoral programs and among our faculty ranks.”

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