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Saturday, September 18, 2021

UC Davis partners with educational program to increase Latino/a faculty nationwide

CHELBERT DAI / AGGIE
CHELBERT DAI / AGGIE

UC Davis to become Hispanic Serving Institution by fall 2018

UC Davis will be participating in the Pathways to the Professoriate, a nationwide educational preparatory program, to increase the number of Latino/a professors in the humanities at U.S. colleges and universities.

The program is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with a 5.1 million dollar grant. Pathways to the Professoriate will prepare 90 students from Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) for Ph.D. programs over a five-year period.

The program will work with three HSIs — Florida International University, University of Texas El Paso and California State University, Northridge — and five research institutions — New York University,  UC Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University and UC Davis. Additionally, UC Davis is set to become an HSI by fall 2018.

The selected 90 undergraduate students will take part in cross-institutional conferences and intensive summer research programs, while also receiving mentoring. The program will also include support for applying to and enrolling in graduate school.

“We are going to tailor a program for students’ needs. [This will] help [students] develop skills for graduate school, understand the graduate application, develop professional skills and [participate in] mentorship,” said Josephine Moreno, the UC Davis campus coordinator for Pathways to the Professoriate.

Pathways to the Professoriate will be a “pipeline” program, Moreno said, which provides equitable access to education for underrepresented and underprivileged communities to move through the “pipeline” to graduate and professoriate. She hopes the program will “find leaks in the pipeline,” or setbacks against a Latino/a scholar’s path to a Ph.D.

“We need diverse faculty and to do so, we need diverse graduate students and diverse education,” Moreno said.

Moreno said the program will take place over two years while students are still undergraduates to gain mentorship with two faculty members — one from an HSI and one from a research institution.

UC Davis faculty members that have been recruited for the program include Andrés Reséndez, history professor; Erin R. Hamilton, assistant professor of sociology; Claudia Sánchez-Gutiérrez, assistant professor of Spanish; and Desirée Martín, associate professor of English.

With the student population currently 21 percent Latino/a, UC Davis will soon be an HSI. The program intends to diversify faculty to reflect the ethnic and cultural identities of the student body.

“I think an increase of Chicanx and/or Latinx professors in the humanities departments is incredibly important,” said Ricardo Martinez, a third-year political science and philosophy double major and ASUCD senator via email. “Having faculty and staff representative of the student body is imperative to the success of Chicanx/Latinx students here on our campus.”

UC Davis Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter said the campus will benefit from Pathway to the Professoriate.

“We’ve been making slow progress on our own stated need — to have a diversified faculty that reflects our student body, to have research conducted by a diverse a group as possible — but we need to accelerate that progress,” Hexter said in a press release. “Having our faculty work with scholars from a broad array of institutions can change how hiring decisions are made.”

Johnny Sanchez, a second-year biology major and member of Nu Alpha Kappa, a Latino fraternity at UC Davis, expressed his support for this program.

“I think it’s a great idea that illustrates the university’s compassion for expanding diversity. It only allows the university to grow and allows new insights and ideas to be brought in,” Sanchez said.

Written by: Yvonne Leong – campus@theaggie.org

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