UCSC joins new alliance aimed at boosting Latinx doctoral students, professors


Dear Campus Community,

I am thrilled to announce that UC Santa Cruz is one of the founding members of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities. The group, officially launching today and comprising all 20 of the nation’s top research universities that are also classified as Hispanic-Serving Institutions, aims to increase opportunity for those historically underserved by higher education. Our collective goals are to double the number of Hispanic doctoral students enrolled at alliance universities by 2030, and to increase the number of Hispanic professors at the institutions by 20 percent.

This is an important effort, and I’m proud that our campus has committed to effecting real change in this area. Hispanics and Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States, yet they continue to be underrepresented in higher education. We have roughly 19,000 undergraduate and graduate students on our campus, with a quarter identifying as Hispanic or Latinx. We strive to be a student-centered university focused on advancing the success of our undergraduate and graduate students. Our campus holds the distinction of being one of only two members of the prestigious Association of American Universities designated both as an Hispanic-Serving Institution and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, highlighting our commitment to equitable educational access and research excellence. By joining with other universities, though, there is more that we can accomplish.

As R1 universities — designations given to universities with very high research activity — alliance members are well-positioned to train the next generation of Hispanic and Latinx scholars, who as a group are underrepresented in graduate programs. We can increase the number of Hispanic doctoral students with speed and at scale. In 2020, alliance universities produced 6,090 doctoral graduates, 9 percent of whom were Hispanic or Latinx. This is better than the national average, but it isn’t good enough. Because we educate so many of America’s undergraduates, we can broaden the pathway to graduate school and inspire more highly qualified students to continue their education to a higher level.

The universities we are joining in this push are research powerhouses like UC Santa Cruz, with a combined enrollment of more than 750,000 students. I believe deeply that we can make a real difference, improving Latinx representation in the upper reaches of higher education. That promises to improve the trajectories of thousands of individuals, families, and communities, and will undoubtedly result in more world-changing research outcomes. Over and over again, we have seen that a wider range of voices, viewpoints, and experiences leads to more discoveries and breakthroughs.

We have the ability, and the responsibility, to change the face of higher education, and I am excited that our campus will be a key player in this effort.


Cynthia Larive