University of Houston: University of Houston Joins New Alliance to Increase Hispanic Opportunity

The University of Houston is among 20 of the nation’s top research universities to join the newly-formed Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities (HSRU Alliance) aimed at increasing 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.

The HSRU Alliance aims to achieve two key goals by 2030:

Double the number of Hispanic doctoral students enrolled at Alliance universities
Increase by 20% the Hispanic professoriate in Alliance universities
“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,” said Renu Khator, University of Houston president. “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.”

Representing nine states, the 20 HSRU Alliance universities enrolled 570,109 undergraduate students in the fall of 2020; of those 36% (202,492) 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 2021, Alliance universities produced 6,090 total doctoral graduates and 9% (559) were Hispanic.

“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.”

Prior to the formal announcement of the HRSU 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.

“By improving Hispanic representation in academia, this Alliance will change the face of higher education,” said Kim Wilcox, chancellor of the University of California, Riverside. “We can bring diverse perspectives into the research conducted by our exceptional faculty, creating opportunities for purposeful careers both in and outside of academia for Hispanic students.”

Universities in the Alliance include:

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

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