Moving Beyond Hispanic Enrolling While Becoming Hispanic Serving at William Paterson University

Francisco Díaz

Recent changes and disruptions to teaching and learning at our university related to the pandemic were preceded by a demographic shift in our student body resulting in our University becoming both a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and Minority Serving Institution (MSI) in 2015.  Servicing approximately 10,000 students in Northern New Jersey, William Paterson University has a student population comprised of 60% Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), a composition which consists of students who self-identify as 35% Latinx, 19% Black, and 6% Asian.

The shift in our student population revealed structural and pedagogical concerns that led to the development of several task forces aimed at addressing and understanding how to better serve our increasingly diverse student population. Among them was the HSI task force, who among others, received charges by our University President, Richard Helldobler, asking us to recommend ways and strategies that our higher education institution could move beyond being a Hispanic enrolling institution towards becoming a Hispanic Serving one.

Forming an intentional group to address equity

Our HSI task force, which consisted of three faculty, and four staff, one who is an A.V.P., and two student representatives, all who identify as Latinx and bilingual, represented a variety of lived experiences, from a variety of countries including: Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Peru and the United States.  Together, we took up the charge of understanding the Latinx student experience and making recommendations for institutional change.  Our shared Latinx backgrounds as a task force placed us in a unique position to take up our charge and marked a shift in our university’s structural approach towards institutional improvement—the intentional grouping of Latinx faculty and staff to address issues of equity for Latinx students.

The need for our task force was significant as we understood that Latinx students had been historically underserved on our campus, and nationwide, and as a result were underperforming as evidenced by key university indicators such as 4- and 6-year graduation rates and retention rates year to year.&n

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Thasunda Brown Duckett Named President of TIAA

Thasunda Brown Duckett will succeed Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., as TIAA’s president and CEO starting May 1, the company announced last week.

Duckett is currently chief executive officer of consumer banking at JPMorgan Chase. She will become the second Black woman CEO to helm a Fortune 500 company currently, following the appointment last month of Rosalind Brewer to run Walgreens. Before Duckett and Brewer, there had been only one other Fortune 500 Black woman CEO, Ursula Burns who ran Xerox, plus Mary Winston, who served as interim CEO at Bed, Bath & Beyond. “Thasunda is widely recognized as an exceptionally dynamic and inspirational leader,” said Ronald L. Thompson, Chairman of the TIAA Board of Trustees. “She brings invaluable experience leading and growing large, complex businesses, setting and executing strategy, improving client experience and attracting and developing talent. Equally important, she is deeply mission-oriented, with values that reflect those of TIAA, including a passion for financial inclusion and empowerment. Duckett began her career at Fannie Mae, leading affordable housing initiatives for people of color. She holds a B.A. in finance and marketing from the University of Houston and an MBA from the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University. “I often think about the day my father asked me to help him plan his retirement, and I had to tell him, ‘Dad, your pension is not enough,’” said Duckett. “Now, thanks to his work and sacrifices and the support of many others who have guided me
throughout my life and career, I am blessed to join TIAA, which has paid out over $500 billion of lifetime income and other benefits since its founding in 1918. I am extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to lead a company that has helped millions of people retire with ‘enough’ to live in dignity and excited about the opportunity to help TIAA chart its next 100 years.”

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Have California HSIs Boosted Latinx Success? Virtual Panel to Explore That Question

A March 2 virtual panel will explore just what impact Hispanic serving institutions (HSIs) have had on California’s Latinx student population over the past 25 years.

Titled “California Briefing on 25 Years of HSIs in Accelerating Latinx Student Success,” the panel is hosted by Excelencia in Education — a nonprofit dedicated to identifying and promoting best practices for Latinx student success — California State University, California Community Colleges and California State University, Northridge.

The event is one of a series of state-themed virtual panels — all free and open to the public — exploring the role HSIs have played in specific states over the course of 25 years. Separate panels focusing on Texas and Arizona will be held on March 23 and March 25, respectively.

Confirmed speakers for the California panel include:

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, D-Calif. Sarita Brown, Co-Founder and President, Excelencia in Education Deborah Santiago, Co-Founder and CEO, Excelencia in Education Joseph Castro, Chancellor, California State University Erika D. Beck, President, California State University, Northridge Eloy Oakley, Chancellor, California Community Colleges Jeff Green, CEO, The Trade Desk Peter Taylor, CSU Trustee and President of the ECMC Foundation

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