UArizona joins alliance of nation's 20 largest Hispanic-serving research universities
The alliance's key goals include doubling its institutions' Hispanic doctoral student enrollment by 2030 and increasing the number of Hispanic faculty members by 20%.

University Communications
June 9, 2022

The University of Arizona and 19 other top U.S. research universities today announced the formation of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities, dedicated to increasing opportunities for a population that has been historically underserved by higher education.

The 20 universities represent every university that has been both categorized as R1 – a classification by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education that indicates a university has very high research activity – and designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education.

UArizona received its HSI designation in 2018. The annual designation is given to higher education institutions where undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25% Hispanic. Institutions must also meet certain criteria related to the enrollment of low-income students and university cost per student.

"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."

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 number of Hispanic faculty members in alliance universities

UArizona is among the nation's top doctorate-granting institutions for Hispanic or Latino students, ranking No. 7 out of the 384 institutions that awarded doctoral degrees to students in those populations, according to the National Science Foundation's latest survey of earned doctorates.

"The University of Arizona has a strong foundation for conferring doctorates to Hispanic students, and this collaboration will ensure we can build upon that foundation and go even further with our impact," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "In partnership with other R1 HSIs, we have the research and institutional capacity and leadership to make an intentional difference."

Representing nine states, the 20 HSRU Alliance universities together enrolled 766,718 students in fall 2020. Of those, 33%, or 254,399, were Hispanic, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. In 2020, the combined research spending of these universities totaled more than $5.9 billion, according to the National Science Foundation's 2020 Higher Education Research and Development Survey.

The universities in the alliance are engaged in thousands of research projects in science, technology, engineering and math – collectively known as STEM – as well as in the arts and humanities, health sciences, social sciences and other fields. In 2019 to 2020, the alliance universities awarded 11,027 doctoral degrees, of which 13%, or 1,451, were awarded to Hispanic students.

"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 HRSU Alliance, the universities began working together on several initiatives. The first project, funded by the Mellon Foundation, is focused on supporting more Ph.D. students in Latino humanities studies and guiding them to academic careers. A second initiative, funded by the National Science Foundation, expands opportunities for Hispanic students in computer science.

Planning for the alliance started during the pandemic through conversations and virtual meetings among presidents and chancellors, coordinated by the University of Illinois Chicago. The effort took hold and grew into a determination to formalize the alliance 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."

In addition to UArizona, universities in the alliance include:

  • Arizona State University
  • City University of New York Graduate Center
  • Florida International University
  • Texas Tech University
  • 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

Learn more about the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities at HSRU.org.

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Marla Franco

Assistant Vice Provost, Hispanic Serving Institution Initiatives