Becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution discussed during series

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The members of the Office of Equity, Inclusion and Multicultural Affairs sponsored the Hispanic Serving Institution critical conversation series to discuss the different approaches to serving Hispanics at MSU by incorporating research and open discussion into the conversation Oct. 15 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Dillard 189.

Syreeta Greene, director for the Office of Equity, Inclusion and Multicultural Affairs, said, “I think it’s an important conversation to be able to have as an emerging HSI to try to be the most effective in what we do in educating and serving Hispanic students.”

Hispanic Serving Institution is a federal definition that relates to the percentage of full-time enrolled Hispanic students–25 percent or more.

“We need to think very critically and we need to look at the ways in which we educate, serve and support Hispanic students,” Greene said to 15 attendees at the discussion. “It’s not enough just to receive the designation, we actually need to be in the business of serving students.”

University administrators predict a higher number of Hispanic students are projected to enroll, resulting in additional federal funding.

Mario Ramirez, interim director for student involvement, said during discussion “Serving students relates to what resources the university has available through MSU and the government for Hispanic students and their families, rather than just enrolling the students without offering help.”

Advising programs, STEM programs and technology are ways the government could fund help to the university for more resources, but Greene said she wants the community and university to understand how to serve together.

“There is so much more that we can do as a university to truly serve our students,” Norma Ramirez, assistant director of residence life and housing, said. “It’s one thing to have them [Hispanic students] enrolled and here, but how do we [faculty] really need to take those steps to serving them inside and outside the classroom.”

More than 10 staff members took interest in learning how to serve Hispanic students and attended the discussion.

“Faculty directly impacts the student experience, and students are here to get degrees,” Norma Ramirez said. “A lot of our faculty are not primarily Hispanic. The more we can take a step back and ask ourselves how we can better serve students, the more we can become a positive part of their experience.”

Greene said serving Hispanics was a team effort and raised awareness of what could be done now and in the future to advance our university to a higher standard.

“Everyone has the power to help serve, engage and be a part of the community,” Norma Ramirez said. “We are stronger and more united together when we are working on a common goal.”

Additional facts:

  • Texas has 47 Hispanic Serving Institution’s
  • 18 percent of 2016-17 enrollment were first time student Hispanic Serving Institutions
  • United States has 492 HSI’s, only 15 percent of all colleges and universities
  • 21 states host HSI’s
  • 193 HSI’s offer graduate degrees
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