26
September
2022
|
10:52 AM
America/Chicago

What Is Hispanic-Servingness, Anyway?

Fall 2022 President’s Distinguished Lecture Series Opens With ‘Hispanic-Serving Institutions Past, Present, & Future’

Summary

By Marie Jacinto

Presenter Dr. Anne-Marie Núñez put that question to the test during the first lecture of the Fall 2022 President’s Distinguished Lecture Series on Sept. 19, entitled “Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) Past, Present, & Future,” as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Núñez, Executive Director, Diana Natalicio Institute for Hispanic Student Success, The University of Texas at El Paso, was joined by Dr. Patrick L. Valdez, Former Chancellor and Professor of Education, The University of New Mexico–Taos, for the presentation. In introducing the two luminaries in the area of Hispanic student success, President Blanchard stressed the importance of this topic for UHD, which is an HSI with a student body that is 53% Hispanic. Dr. Daniel Villanueva, Vice President of Enrollment Management, acted as emcee for the event.

Valdez spoke on the history of Hispanic-Serving Institution policy formation, noting that the Higher Education Act of 1965 was created to open the halls of higher education to a diverse set of students who had been historically underrepresented at postsecondary institutions. With a number of trailblazers leading the way over the years, it was not until 1992 that the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) served as a leader in the effort to persuade Congress to formally recognize HSIs and target federal appropriations to these institutions. Created in 1986, HACU is the membership association for HSIs.

Núñez defined “Hispanic-Servingness” as an organizational identity that not only promotes Hispanic student’s outcomes but does so in ways that affirm and support Hispanic students’ cultural and familial backgrounds. Student success must go beyond individual responsibility to focus on organizations and systems of higher education. She suggested that multidimensional student success could be fostered through these means:

  • Academic (curriculum, collaborative learning, peer tutoring, research experiences)
  • Financial (scholarships, internships, on-campus jobs)
  • Social (relational pedagogy, validation, confianza)
  • Cultural
  • Career (professional clubs, internships, conferences)

Núñez and Valdez agreed that student success for HSIs varies from institution to institution because of cultural diversity within the Hispanic community, and ultimately, success boils down to each institution understanding and truly serving its students.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates more than 15,000 students, boasts more than 64,000 alumni, and offers 46 bachelor’s degrees, 11 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences & Technology. For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and awarded UHD a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution, and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.