February 11, 2021

HACU awarded grant to strengthen pathways to STEM graduate education for Hispanic students

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) has been awarded an NSF INCLUDES Planning Grant: A Collaboration of Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Organizations to Strengthen Pathways to STEM Graduate Education for Latinx Students. The award amount of the grant is $99,996.

“Everyone at HACU is very excited to have been awarded this NSF INCLUDES planning grant,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores. “We look forward to co-developing a framework that strengthens and expands the STEM talent pipeline at Hispanic-Serving Institutions, from community colleges to research intensive universities, and that remarkably increases Hispanic doctoral graduation rates in STEM fields to meet the national needs.”

The project will include a leadership team of experts from HACU and two Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs): The University of California, Santa Barbara and The University of Arizona. As part of the project, a collaborative infrastructure will be built among partnering HSIs. The planning grant will be used to lead regional meetings across the country, engage approximately 150 HSI leaders, practitioners, faculty, and national organizations in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in order to strengthen the educational and workforce pathways in STEM.

“It is my hope that this effort brings together the HSI community so that we can co-construct viable and highly networked paths forward to strengthen pathways for our students,” said Marla Franco, assistant vice provost, HSI Initiatives at the University of Arizona.

The planning grant will include representation from all segments of higher education, including two-year, four-year, public and private institutions. The outcomes of this planning grant are expected to lay the foundation for the implementation of future research and programmatic strategic initiatives at scale among HSIs nationally.

"On behalf of the University of California system, UC Santa Barbara is honored to partner with HACU to strengthen the capacity for STEM education and graduate degree attainment among the HSI community in the United States through this innovative INCLUDES planning effort," added Barbara Endemaño Walker, special assistant to the executive vice chancellor for diversity initiatives.

The NSF INCLUDES planning grant is funded by the NSF’s Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science program (NSF INCLUDES), a comprehensive national initiative to enhance U.S. leadership in discoveries and innovations by focusing on diversity, inclusion and broadening participation in STEM at scale. The planning grant is also funded by the NSF’s Hispanic Serving Institutions program; and the HSI program provides support to enhance the quality of undergraduate STEM education and to increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of students pursuing associates or baccalaureate degrees in STEM.