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Student Affairs Celebrate First-Ever National HSI Week

September 16, 2015 - Dorene DiNaro

For the first time ever, this week has been proclaimedNational Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) week, by President Barack Obama. According to theproclamation, Hispanics are projected to account for almost one-third of our Nation's population by 2060 and ensuring they have access to the best education possible is important to securing America's success. The current enrollment at UNM consists of 11,235 Hispanic students (41% of the total UNM population).

As the state’s only flagship institution, the University of New Mexico is not only an HSI, but also boasts the Carnegie distinction of being a Very High Research Institution, and is extremely invested in providing programming which fits with these designations.

“UNM is only one of four institutions country-wide who are designated as both Hispanic Serving Institutions and Very High Research,” say Dr. Eliseo “Cheo” Torres, vice president for Student Affairs.  “This puts us in a very unique position in the way we are able to recruit, retain, serve and graduate our students.” 

The Division of Student Affairs currently offers many programs and services, which directly correlate to our unique distinctions including: STEM UP, STEM Gateway, and STEM Collaborative.  Consequently, UNM continues to explore various avenues to enhance the work that can be accomplished at our university, and has organized deans, faculty and staff to review the goals of UNM as a HSI, the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in the Future committee.  The committee is charged with developing an institutional plan to bring UNM to the forefront as an HSI leader, which has an inclusive, collaborative and successful program to address the needs of Hispanic students.  The committee is looking at addressing issues such as advocating for Hispanic students through the UNM HSI goals; establishing UNM as the leading HSI across the country; and expanding on current structure and leverage existing resources in a collaborative effort.  

As part of this National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week, Obama is asking public officials, educators, and all the people of our nation to celebrate with appropriate programs; ceremonies and activities that promote the many ways higher institutions and their graduates contribute to our country. 

Obama refers to the higher education systems as one of the “crown jewels” of our Nation, and believes that investing in it is a hallmark of America.  To that end, the Division of Student Affairs is doing its part to ensure the success of our students.

Please visit the AVPSS website for more information on specific HSI-focused programs.