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UTEP Awarded $7 Million to Support Hispanic-Serving Institutions Across the Country

EL PASO, Texas (Sept. 27, 2023) — The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso has been chosen to become a center of thought leadership for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the country, thanks to a new $7 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso has been chosen to become a center of thought leadership for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the country, thanks to a new $7 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Anne-Marie Núñez, Ph.D. (pictured), is the grant’s principal investigator.
The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso has been chosen to become a center of thought leadership for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the country, thanks to a new $7 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Anne-Marie Núñez, Ph.D. (pictured), is the grant’s principal investigator.

The new grant, known as NODE (Network Opportunities for Developing Equitable and Effective Evaluation at HSIs), is a six-year investment that will position UTEP to provide the first full portrait of the effectiveness of all grants funded by the NSF HSI program. Anne-Marie Núñez, Ph.D., executive director of the Diana Natalicio Institute for Hispanic Student Success, is the grant’s principal investigator. She, along with UTEP co-principal investigators Azuri Gonzalez, Ed.D., and Amy Wagler, Ph.D., are tasked with building capacity for institutions to evaluate and research ways to strengthen and document the success of NSF HSI-funded projects.

The grant will establish the Hispanic-Serving Institution Center for Evaluation and Research Synthesis (HSI-CERS) at UTEP — the only center of its kind in the nation.

“As America’s leading Hispanic-serving 山ּ, we look forward to expanding the impact UTEP has on Hispanic student success across the country,” said UTEP President Heather Wilson.

HSIs graduate a disproportionately large share of Hispanic STEM degree earners compared to all higher education institutions. Yet, due partly to the historic under-investment in HSIs, Núñez said, these institutions have traditionally lacked the capacity to conduct evaluation or research about their best STEM practices.

Through the grant, UTEP will develop evaluation and research approaches that assess how past, current and future NSF HSI-funded programs are serving Hispanic and other minority students in STEM fields.

“With the number of HSIs increasing three-fold since they were first federally designated about three decades ago, it’s gratifying to see the increased investment in and recognition of these institutions’ contributions to the postsecondary and science enterprise,” said Núñez, who is a leading scholar of HSIs and diversity in science.

NSF HSI Program Director Sonja Montas-Hunter added, “HSI-CERS will further strengthen HSIs in their journey to become servingness-centered institutions which will result in long-lasting STEM student success.”

In addition to leading the HSI-CERS grant, UTEP will help coordinate a second $7 million grant awarded by the NSF that focuses on building community and collaborations among current and potential HSI awardees. The second grant, formally known as The UNIDOS Network Resource Center for Community Coordination (HSI-CCC), will be led by Florida International 山ּ while UTEP; Valencia College; California State 山ּ, Sacramento; and the 山ּ of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras will serve as co-principal investigators. Meagan Kendall, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UTEP College of Engineering, is the co-principal investigator on the HSI-CCC grant.

UTEP is the only university to be involved in the leadership of , for HSIs. UTEP is also a founding member of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities, of which President Heather Wilson is the inaugural chair.

The Natalicio Institute is named in honor of Diana Natalicio who served as the 10th president of UTEP from 1988-2019. The institute serves as a national platform for researchers, thought leaders, philanthropists and policymakers to develop knowledge, evaluate policies and programs, advance innovation and cultivate resources critical to Hispanic student success. 

About The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso

The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso is America’s leading Hispanic-serving university. Located at the westernmost tip of Texas, where three states and two countries converge along the Rio Grande, 84% of our 24,000 students are Hispanic, and half are the first in their families to go to college. UTEP offers 171 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs at the only open-access, top-tier research university in America.

Last Updated on September 27, 2023 at 12:00 AM | Originally published September 27, 2023

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