Skip to main content

National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) has announced that September 11-17 is National Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) Week. This week is established to recognize the contributions of HSIs in their communities and within higher education. 

Observing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week

The Race & Ethnic Studies Institute is proud to join HACU, an association committed to Latinx higher education success, in the observance of HSI Week. During this week, HACU-member HSIs are encouraged to increase awareness and heighten the important role HSIs play in improving access and advancing equity for traditionally underserved students. 

In observance of HSIs Week we will be hosting a special lecture, State Systems and the Advancement of Servingness at Emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions, led by Dr. Ishara Casellas Connors, Dr. Darrel Wanzer-Serrano and Mariana Rodriguez. Join us on September 13 at 12:30 PM in LAAH 453 and learn about the construction of servingness within a state system. This is particularly relevant for those interested in Latinx education policy and HSIs. All students, staff, and faculty from Texas A&M are welcome to attend. 

Continue reading for a brief overview of HSIs, the research we’re engaging in related to HSIs and books that we recommend to expand your knowledge on the subject. Join the conversation by using #HSIsWeek.

An Overview of Hispanic-Serving Institutions 

An HSI is defined as an institution of higher education that – 1) is an eligible institution and 2) has an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25% Latinx/Hispanic. This designation provides schools with access to apply for additional funding to improve enrollment and graduate rates among Latinx/Hispanic students. 

There has been an increase in the number of institutions designated as HSIs. In fact, HSIs are the largest and fastest-growing share of minority serving institutions. The federal government established a specific criteria for becoming HSI-eligible but there is no federal requirement for having infrastructure in place for serving Latinx/Hispanic students. The concept of servingness is multidimensional and a conceptual way to understand what it means to move from simply enrolling Latinx students to actually serving them. 

HSI Research Initiative 

In recognition of Texas A&M University’s designation as a HSI, we’ve formed the HSI Research Initiative. This initiative is designed to support transformative and translational research opportunities. We believe that Texas A&M has an opportunity to be a national leader for research-intensive HSIs because as a university, we spend more on research than any other research-intensive HSI in the country. We aim to be the hub for HSI-oriented research both in the College of Arts & Sciences and across the university. As of the start of the 2023-2024 academic year, HSI Initiative projects include the following: 

The Emerging Visions of Learning, Voices, & Equity at HSIs (EVOLVE HSIs) Study

Initially funded by the RESI Interdisciplinary Faculty Seed Grant, this project uses discourse tracing method to analyze the communications of three emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions (eHSIs) in the University of Texas System: UT Austin, UT Dallas, and UT Tyler. This research draws from institutional websites, personal correspondence, and constituent interviews to frame this research. 

The Anti-DEI Legislation Impact Study at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (ADLIS-HSI)

This developing project seeks to measure the impact of recent legislative efforts across the country (including, but not limited to, Texas and Florida) to defund DEI programs, practices, and infrastructure in public four-year (particularly research-intensive) HSIs. This study asks, how do these contemporary legislative efforts aimed at public higher education institutions affect faculty perceptions of their job security, their job satisfaction, and their decision-making process about their employment? 

HSI Related Books 

If you identify as an HSI novice, we recommend starting with the following texts to enhance your knowledge on the subject: 

Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) in Practice: Defining “Servingness at HSIs
Gina Ann Garcia, Editor

This book provides concrete examples of how HSIs are moving from simply enrolling Latinxs to actually providing a culturally enhancing and equitable experience for all students. 

Becoming Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Opportunities for Colleges & Universities 

Gina Ann Garcia, Author

The author presents an argument highlighting how HSIs have been undervalued as a result of being compared to white normative standards for postsecondary education institutions. 

Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Advancing Research and Transformative Practice

Anne-Marie Nunes, Sylvia Hurtado, and Emily Calderon Galdeano, Editors

This cutting-edge volume explores how institutions can better serve their students and illustrates HSIs changing organizational dynamics, potentials, and contributions to American higher education. 

Transforming Hispanic-Serving Institutions for Equity and Justice

Gina Ann Garcia, Author

The author presents a framework for transforming HSIs, providing educators, decision makers, and leaders with a blueprint for organizing for racial equity, social justice and collective liberation.