Championing Hispanic Higher Education Success: Fostering Excellence and Social Justice

Last week for the fourth year in a row, I attended the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Annual Conference. As a passionate advocate for higher education, I always thoroughly enjoy participating in this event. HACU provides an excellent conference program that addresses all levels of education as well as other important social, political and economic factors that influence the success of Latinos in higher education.

It is a fact: America’s success is directly tied to the educational success of Latinos/as.  That is why our country needs organizations like HACU.

With its mission “To Champion Hispanic Success in Higher Education,” HACU is the only national educational association that represents existing and emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).  In addition to strengthening HSIs, HACU provides other programs that support Latinx students and professionals in higher education.  Notably, HACU is based in San Antonio, Texas, one of my favorite cities!

HACU’s national conference provides a unique forum for sharing of information, ideas,  best practices, current research and new initiatives centered on the education of Latinos/as. The conference also seeks to promote and expand partnerships and strategic alliances for collaborations between HACU-member institutions and public- and private-sector organizations. Principally, the conference provides compelling sessions that cover a variety of topics that fall into six tracks:  grants and funding opportunities; partnership that work; executive leadership for presidents, CEOs and trustees; championing academic success for Hispanic students, research and practice; advocacy and policy; and international partnerships.

Although I enjoyed several session, my favorite this year was the “Town Hall:  The 2020 Presidential Election Its Impact on Latinos and Hispanic Higher Education.”  Moderated by Adela de La Torre, Ph.D., President San Diego State University, speakers included  Sonja Diaz, Esq., Executive Director, Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, University of California Los Angeles; Mark Hugo Lopez, Ph.D., Director, Global Migration and Demography Research, Pew Research Center; and Ted Mitchell, Ph.D., President, American Council on Education. Focusing on education, panelists made compelling arguments of why elections are so important, mainly because elected officials and their policies impact the quality of Latinx lives and communities. Two themes reverberated loud and clear throughout this discussion:

Leadership matters!
Latinos/as must vote!


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