Transforming Hispanic-Serving Institutions for Equity and Justice


What makes Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) uniquely Latinx? And how can university leaders, staff, and faculty transform these institutions into spaces that promote racial equity, social justice, and collective liberation?

Today’s book is: Transforming Hispanic-Serving Institutions for Equity and Justice (Johns Hopkins UP, 2023), by Dr. Gina Ann Garcia. In it, Dr. Garcia argues that in order to serve Latinx students and other students of color, these institutions must acknowledge how whiteness operates across the organization, from the ways that it is governed and how decisions are made to how education and knowledge are delivered. Diversity alone is insufficient for achieving a dynamic learning environment within higher education institutions. Dr. Garcia's framework for transforming HSIs into truly Latinx institutions is grounded in critical theories, yet it advances new ways of thinking about how to organize colleges and universities that are actively serving students of color, low-income students, and students from other minoritized backgrounds. This framework connects multiple important dimensions, including mission, identity, strategic purpose, membership, curriculum, student services, physical infrastructure, governance, leadership, external partnerships, and external influences. Drawing on over 25 years of HSI research, Dr. Garcia offers unique solutions for colleges and universities that want to better serve their students.

Our guest is: Dr. Gina Ann Garcia, who is a professor in the School of Education at UC Berkeley. Her research centers on issues of equity and justice in higher education with an emphasis on understanding how Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) embrace and enact an organizational identity for serving minoritized populations. She explores the experiences of administrators, faculty, and staff at HSIs and the outcomes of students attending these institutions. As an equity-minded scholar, she tends to the ways that race and racism have shaped institutions of higher education. She is the author of Becoming Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Opportunities for Colleges & Universities, the editor of Hispanic-Serving Institutions in Practice: Defining “Servingness” at HSIs, and the author of Transforming Hispanic Serving Institutions for Equity and Justice. She consults directly with HSIs to work towards organizational transformation; is a proud alumna of an HSI; and was a Title V Coordinator at Cal State University, Fullerton which drives and motivates her research and praxis.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, the producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in history, which she uses to explore what stories we tell and what happens to those we never tell.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler is the creator, show host, and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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