UTEP Celebrates Continued Commitment During Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week
Last Updated on September 13, 2021 at 12:00 AM
Originally published September 13, 2021
By Pablo Villa
During a week devoted to recognizing the contributions of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) throughout the nation, The University of Texas of El Paso promotes its efforts as a national leader in shaping the future of higher education by hosting in-person and hybrid events, including an introduction to the University’s Hispanic Servingness Research Council.
The events are part of the wider National Hispanic-Serving Institutions week celebration being observed Sept. 13-19, 2021, which coincides with National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated Sept. 15-Oct. 15.
On Tuesday, Sept. 14, Anne-Marie Nuñez, Ph.D., a professor of educational studies at the Ohio State University, will deliver a livestreamed address at the Blumberg Auditorium in the University Library (Zoom link and more information available here). Nuñez’s research on ways HSIs foster student success offers a valuable framework for serving Hispanic students in higher education. Nuñez works with the UTEP-led Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI) to explore how departments in the CAHSI network support Hispanic and underrepresented students to succeed in computing fields.
The newly established Hispanic Servingness Research Council will outline its mission and goals during an interactive panel discussion at noon Wednesday, Sept. 15, in the Blumberg Auditorium.
The events for the week will culminate with the annual El Grito ceremony — the commemoration of the Mexican cry for independence — at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, at Centennial Plaza. All events are free and open to the UTEP community.
Other events in celebration of Hispanic Heritage month will continue through mid-October.
“Through this work, we seek to benefit and increase the quality of education and experiences for everyone on campus. In other words, servingness is not a zero-sum game,” said Lucia Dura, Ph.D., co-chair of UTEP’s Hispanic-Servingness Working Group.
UTEP is one of 569 HSIs in the country. The federal designation of HSI was defined by the Higher Education Act and stipulates an institution must have an undergraduate Hispanic enrollment of at least 25%. HSIs include private, two- and four-year, and nonprofit degree-granting institutions.
Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week acknowledges the critical role HSIs play in educating and empowering Hispanics. The celebration is organized by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, an organization that works with members of Congress each year to recognize the contributions of HSIs in their communities.
UTEP has had a Hispanic student majority since 1986 and met the threshold to become a Hispanic-Serving Institution in 1992, the year the designation was first recognized by the Higher Education Act. With a Hispanic student population of 83% and intentional implementation of inclusive excellence, UTEP stands as an exemplar among HSIs. It is one of only 17 HSIs designated as an R1 top tier doctoral research university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. In 2019, UTEP was one of nine institutions of higher education to earn the inaugural Seal of Excelencia in Education, a certification that recognizes a high level of commitment to serve Latino students.
In 2020, UTEP established a Hispanic Servingness Working Group to work with campus units to build and strengthen the University’s identity as an HSI and further elevate its national profile; recommend intentional approaches and services that further support holistic student success; and establish related accountability measures. Hispanic servingness is a multidimensional and conceptual way to understand what it means to move from simply enrolling Hispanic students to actually serving them.