Indiana University Northwest (IUN) recently received designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). This federal designation is awarded to institutions with an undergraduate full-time Hispanic student population of at least 25% and allows IUN access to new grant opportunities to improve the lives of its students better.
“We are thrilled to receive this designation,” said Vicki Román-Lagunas, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs in an IUN press release. “As a Hispanic-Serving Institution, we will have access to support that helps strengthen our commitment to engaging our students and the broader community in high-quality teaching and scholarship.”
“Our Latino population has been increasing over the past few years,” James Wallace, IUN’s director for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, said. “We’ve been teetering on the edge, and have finally pushed over.”
To qualify for HSI designation, an institution must report a 25% Hispanic population for two consecutive semesters. While IUN reached the 25% mark in fall 2019, they had to wait until spring 2020 to receive their designation.
“The most diverse of all IU campuses, IU Northwest’s student body is 25 percent Hispanic and 16.5 percent African American,” Cynthia O’Dell, associate executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, said. “The campus recognized several years ago that our student demographics were changing and so began to discuss how we could become an institution that offered the appropriate support to our Latinx students. A task force formed with representatives campus-wide to inventory our existing support as well as identify gaps in support. This group continues to meet to move these processes forward.”
“Two years ago, when we were around 23%, we formed an HSI planning committee, which included colleagues from academic affairs, student affairs, marketing, admissions, and student representation. This group discussed the implications of campus climate, assessed the needs of our student population, and explored the sorts of federal and national resources for which we would be eligible to apply,” Wallace said. An initial product of the committee’s work includes a home page in Spanish located at iun.edu/espanol.
IUN is now eligible to apply for both the Title III - Part A - Strengthening Institutions (SIP) and the Title V - Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI), which will boost the institution’s capacity to develop resources serving all students on campus.
According to Wallace, IUN fully intends to take advantage of the HSI designation and use the funds to further support their students through academic and student support resources.
“According to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, this new designation would make IUN one of only two HSI’s within the state of Indiana,” Wallace said. “We embrace the opportunity to provide a high-quality education to meet the needs of all our students.”
For more information on HSIs, please click here.