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October 2019

HSI Newsletter | October 2019

Statement on Achieving HSI Designation for UC Davis

October 1, 2019 – UC Davis has fully embraced our journey toward achieving Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) designation as part of our ongoing commitment to the success of students and to our mission as a California public, research intensive and land grant university. Our enrollments of Chicanx/Latinx students have been steadily increasing since 2008, when UC Davis set its goal to become a HSI. In the past decade, the number of undergraduate Chicanx/Latinx students that UC Davis educates has more than doubled from 3,063 in 2008 to 6,715 in 2018.

While we are not yet a designated HSI according to the US Department of Education, we continue to move toward the goal! As our numbers of both domestic and international students have grown, UC Davis is proud that more than 25% of our degree-seeking domestic students are Chicanx/Latinx. Further, when analyzing our steady growth, we have more Chicanx/Latinx students than many designated HSIs, and we are pleased to join designated HSIs in serving thousands of Rising Scholars. Federal agencies have been acknowledging our effort, and we have been encouraged to continue the good work that built enthusiasm and excitement. UC Davis moves forward in this journey, and we are working to increase our enrollments of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students as we commit to reflect the demographics of our California.

Read the entire statement below.

At UC Davis

Latinx Staff and Faculty Association UC Davis Chapter 2019-2020 Board

Meet this year’s members:

Roxanne Grijalva, Chair
Dr. Lina Méndez, Ex-Officio
Carlos C. Garcia, Vice Chair
Erica Ávila (Millán), Treasurer
Aury Gutierrez-Zavala, Outreach Chair
Raul Mendoza, Fundraising Chair
Jenny Choc, Historian
Vince Cardenas, Secretary
Read more about the Board members here.

To learn about the UC Davis Health Latino Staff and Faculty Association please visit their website.

Student Success Initiative Advisory Committee Created to Close Opportunity Gap

Provost Hexter recently appointed an Advisory Committee to assist him in making funding decisions for programs designed to improve graduate rates and achieve equitable outcomes across our student body by closing the opportunity gap. Provost Hexter notes in his charge to this new committee that the recent Closing the Preparation Gap committee, Academic Talent Initiative (ATI), and HSI Taskforce report made a number of recommendations designed to achieve that aim. This new and next effort will build on the important work of those committees to provide the Provost and Chancellor with recommendations to fund future efforts, assess the equity outcomes of those funding decisions and ultimately make recommendations for permanent support for particularly successful efforts.  

Vision Presentations by Candidates for Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Two finalist candidates for the position of Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion are scheduled for official visits. You are invited to attend the public forums during which each candidate will deliver a vision presentation, followed by a moderated Q&A session. Boxed lunches will be provided for registered attendees.

They are scheduled as follows:

Candidate A – click HERE to register
DATE: Friday, October 4, 2019
TIME: 12:00 – 1:00pm
LOCATION: Center for Health & Technology (CHT) Building, Lecture Hall 1341
4610 X Street, Sacramento

Candidate B – click HERE to register
DATE: Tuesday, October 8, 2019
TIME: 12:00 – 1:00pm
LOCATION: Betty Irene Moore Hall, Room 1000 (School of Nursing)
2570 48th Street, Sacramento

2020 UC Chicanx/Latinx Leadership Summit Open for Registration

The UC Chicanx/Latinx Leadership Summit brings together faculty, staff and administrators for networking; gaining a greater understanding of the Chicanx/Latinx presence at UC; and developing strategies to engage UC's next generation of leaders. The 2020 gathering will be held in Berkeley, CA on January 9-10.  All UC staff, faculty and alumni are invited to attend Celebrating UC's Chicano/Latino Community, the first day of the UC Chicanx/Latinx Leadership Summit. Registration will open in late October. Attendance on the second day is limited to twenty UC staff and faculty from each campus.

Cirilo Cortez and Raquel Aldana have been serving on the Organizing Committee. To ensure an inclusive selection process, they put in place an application process for each campus. This application process is now open and will remain open until October 15 midnight. For UC Davis, they have also set up a selection committee that includes Cirilo and Raquel and representatives from staff and faculty from both the main campus and UC Davis Health.  If you are interested in being considered, please apply by visiting the event webpage to access the UC Davis specific form.  Please do forward this notice to any faculty or staff that you think should be encouraged to apply for this opportunity.


Fall Welcome Reception

Wed, October 9, 2019 | 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM | Student Community Center, Multipurpose Room

Please join the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion the Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science (CAMPOS) and the Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Social Science, Arts, and the Humanities (CAMPSSAH) as we head into another year of research, teaching, and public service, let's come together to welcome new leaders, celebrate accomplishments, and honor cultura.

Come meet the new Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull and the new Faculty Directors of CAMPOS: Dr. Mariel Vazquez and CAMPSSAH: Dr. Kimberly D. Nettles-Barcelón. Enjoy refreshments, live music, and good cheer. Graduate students, Postdoctoral Scholars, Faculty, and Staff are all welcome.

RSVP here.

2019 ADVANCE Scholar Award Symposium

Thu, October 24, 2019 | 11:00am - 2:00pm | Courtyard by Marriott Sacramento Midtown 

Please join the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in celebrating the achievements of our ADVANCE Scholar Award Recipients for their commitment to outstanding research and mentorship

Dr. Martínez-Cerdeño is an Associate Professor at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, the Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine, the Shriners hospital, and the MIND Institute. The goal of her laboratory is to determine the etiology and the pathology of some forms of autism. In addition, she studies the role of stem cells in the development, evolution, and pathogenesis of the mammalian cerebral cortex.

Dr. Jonathan Eisen is a Professor with appointments in the Genome Center, the Departments of Evolution and Ecology and Medical Microbiology and Immunology. His research focuses on the evolution, ecology, and function of microbes and their communities and how microbes interact with each other and with hosts. Most of his work involves using DNA sequencing to characterize microbes and the use and development of computational methods to analyze sequence data.

A reception and lunch will follow presentations by each scholar. RSVP here.

2019 CAMPOS & CAMPSSAH Induction Ceremony

Please join us as we induct our newest cohort of scholars into the Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science (CAMPOS) and the Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities (CAMPSSAH). RSVP here.

2019 UC HSI Initiative Campus Showcase

The UC HSI Initiative campus showcase hosted by UC Santa Cruz provides an opportunity to take a deeper look at UC Santa Cruz and how their campus has developed an approach and a series of interventions to become a racially-just HSI. The purpose of the visit is to learn more about their successes and challenges and to think collectively about what it means to be a UC HSI campus. Presentations will include an overview of the UCSC HSI framework, HSI grant-funded projects in the areas of STEM, Advising, Transfer Pathways, Racial Equity Analyses and evaluation strategies to measure impact.

We invite faculty, staff, and administrators to join us in learning more about UCSC and also to learn more about ourselves and lessons learned to inform your own campus strategies. If you have any questions, please contact: Audrey Paredes ( or

To view more details and to register for the 2019 UC HSI Initiative Campus Showcase hosted by UC Santa Cruz, click here

Pushing Back Against the Odds

In partnership with the Keith Aoki Center on Critical Race and Nation Studies and the Beyond the Stats Initiative, there will be a showing of the documentary THE PUSHOUTS followed by an address from Professor Victor Rios of UC Santa Barbara, a panel discussion, and poetry from Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS). Read more about the event and RSVP here.

California Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar

Later this year, as part of the UC Davis Forums on the Public University and the Social Good, there will be a live discussion with California Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar. We will send out more information as soon as details are confirmed.


HSI Taskforce Co-Chair Raquel Aldana receives two national recognitions

AVC Aldana was honored with the 2019 Margaret Brent Award from the American Bar Association:

“Each year, the Commission on Women in the Profession honors up to five outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence and paved the way for other women in the legal profession.” 

Past award recipients have included Anita Hill, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Lani Guinier. Aldana is also a new fellow for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Inaugural Academia de Liderazgo/Leadership Academy! The HACU press release can be found here. UC Davis’ press release is here.

Around California

Latino Leaders on the Move

On August 22, four UC Davis alumni were recognized at the Latino Leaders on the Move reception in Sacramento:

  • Karina Talamantes, Sacramento County Board of Education Trustee, received the Rising Star Award
  • Dr. Eduardo Bermudez, a physician with Kaiser Permanente and the Xóchitl Rodríguez Murillo, City of Woodland Mayor, received the Latino Leaders on the Move award
  • Judge Emily Vasquez, Sacramento Superior Court, received the Joe Serna, Jr. Lifetime of Community Service Award

You can read the full list of awardees here.

University of California Chicanx/Latinx Alumni Association

Also in late August, the newly-formed, system-wide University of California Chicanx/Latinx Alumni Association (UC CLAA) held its quarterly summit meeting on the UCLA campus. You can read more about the association and the meeting’s agenda here.

In October, the UC CLAA will hold a two-day Summit in Mexico City. You can find out more about that meeting here.

University of California Chicanx/Latinx Alumni Association

Also in late August, the newly-formed, system-wide University of California Chicanx/Latinx Alumni Association (UC CLAA) held its quarterly summit meeting on the UCLA campus. You can read more about the association and the meeting’s agenda here.

In October, the UC CLAA will hold a two-day Summit in Mexico City. You can find out more about that meeting here.

Statement on Achieving HSI Designation for UC Davis


UC Davis has fully embraced our journey toward achieving Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) designation as part of our ongoing commitment to the success of students and to our mission as a California public, research intensive and land grant university. Our enrollments of Chicanx/Latinx students have been steadily increasing since 2008, when UC Davis set its goal to become a HSI. In the past decade, the number of Chicanx/Latinx students UC Davis educates has more than doubled from 3,063 in 2008 to 6,715 in 2018. During the same period that UC Davis has grown our domestic HSI students, UC Davis has also experienced a substantial increase in the number of our international students from fewer than 500 in 2008 to over 5,000 in 2018.

Hispanic Undergraduate Growth Graph

Our UC Davis values and enrollment counts are consistent with California laws and policies in terms of inclusivity and in our goals to educate a student body that reflects the true diversity of California. Our commitment to understanding, engaging, and preparing students to succeed in a diverse and interconnected economy means that we are increasing both the diversity of our domestic students and the number of students who come to UC Davis to study from all over the world.

When our overall enrollment counts are expressed in percentages—and when we account for the differing methodologies employed by UC and the Federal Government to count Chicanx/Latinx students, AB540 and undocumented students, and our international students—UC Davis is very close but has not yet satisfied the official federal designation as a HSI. In 2018, we are currently at 22.5%  of Chicanx/Latinx students under federal counting standards, explained more fully in the background section below, and we are continuing our efforts to reach the 25% threshold in the very near future.

fall enrollment towards HSI designation

When we fully cross the 25% threshold toward federal HSI designation, we will not stop. Our ultimate goal is to mirror the demographics of California—where Chicanx/Latinx make up 38% of its population, more than half of its K-12 students, and more than 40% of its college-going population. Thanks to all of those who have shown dedication and tenacity on this journey, and we look forward to continuing to work together toward our HSI designation and the best learning experience for all of our Rising Scholars.


UC Davis was intentional in 2008 in setting the goal of becoming an HSI within a decade. We employed culturally sustaining strategies of recruiting and attracting students to UC Davis from undertapped communities, knowing that our achievement of HSI designation would eventually come down to the proportion of Chicanx/Latinx students enrolled. Our values of inclusive excellence were reflected in our approach to recruitment and soon led to fundamental changes in how we understood, supported and served our Chicanx/Latinx students admitted to UC Davis.

In 2017, relying on a methodology focused solely on our domestic student population that also included our AB540 and undocumented students, we reached a proportion of 25 percent Chicanx/Latinx students among our student body. We seized this moment to engage in a period of deep reflection about what this milestone should mean for UC Davis in order to become a premier HSI land grant R1 university and also as an opportunity to clarify our designation as an official HSI under federal law. Our efforts to be proactive and to fully embrace our commitment as public institution to educate a student body that reflects the diversity of California may have led to some confusion about the ripeness of our HSI official designation under federal law. 

We seek to be transparent about the different ways in which Chicanx/Latinx students have been counted toward HSI designation, and how those different methodologies reflect differences in policies and values between the federal government on the one hand and California law and the University of California System policies on the other. Integral to these discussions is an understanding of UC Davis’s commitment to equity in higher education, which includes serving as an engine of social mobility of our students and empowering the communities from which they come.

Our Commitment to Equity in Higher Education

The history of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) is a journey toward achieving equity for Latinx/Chicanx students in higher education. At its core, HSI status attempts to repair the reality that the de facto concentration of Latinx/Chicanx students in colleges and universities has traditionally yielded disparities in resources as compared to peer institutions and in Latinx/Chicanx students student educational attainment.

Over the last decade, UC Davis has developed dozens of programs that focus on outreach to and recruitment of economically disadvantaged students. It has established a series of student success centers, including one for Latinx/ Chicanx students, to support, mentor, retain, inform and graduate students. The First Generation Initiative helps first generation students — who make up 46 percent of undergraduates and 72 percent of Chicanx/Latinx students — create a sense of connection, particularly through faculty and staff who are also first generation college students. A decade, of course, does not capture the entire UC Davis HSI story. The many of the Pioneros who labored over many years to help us achieve this climate of inclusive excellence and Testimonios from members of the community highlight the potential in seeing a bright UC Davis future through the lens of HSI.

Chancellor May formed a Task Force in June 2018 to help UC Davis define what success should mean for a research intensive, public land-grant, Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in California. In May 2019, the Taskforce issued a final report that proposes steps toward institutional transformation that express our aspiration to close the equity gap in higher education and enable all of our community members to thrive and reach their full potential.

These efforts are aligned with the goals of the University of California to level the playing field and promote economic mobility, particularly for low-income students. These efforts also reflect a response to the demands of our students, the California legislature, and taxpayers themselves. UC Davis was recently acknowledged as fourth in Money Magazine’s Best Colleges 2019, emphasizing UC Davis’ support their low-income students. The quality of education in terms of outcomes for low-income, first generation, and historically underrepresented students[1] is increasingly becoming the measure by which all institutions of higher education are evaluated by parents, students, and government as they make choices about where they will invest their resources.

How HSI Status is Determined

Title V of the Higher Education Act is the statute that formally defines Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), defining Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) as (A) an eligible institution; that (B) has an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic students at the end of the award year immediately preceding the date of application. This definition has created a two-step process that colleges and universities usually follow to attain official HSI designation: (1) establishing eligibility under (A) and (2) establishing the threshold enrollment requirements under (B). 

HSI eligibility requires colleges and universities submit a yearly application for designation as an eligible institution. Colleges and universities must either be accredited or pre-accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association and meet the enrollment of needy students; and, the core basic expense requirements. In 2019, the US Department of Education approved UC Davis's request for designation as an eligible HSI.

Establishing eligibility alone does not designate nor certify an institution as an HSI. Usually, official HSI designation only occurs once a college or university also has established the threshold enrollment requirement of at least 25 percent Hispanic students, as determined under federal guidelines. When determining enrollment numbers, the U.S. Department of Education relies on the methodology employed by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System  (IPEDS), maintained by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Counting Enrollment Numbers toward HSI Designation

How Chicanx/Latinx students are counted toward HSI designation plays a significant role in determining the threshold enrollment.

The federal government, via the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System  (IPEDS), maintained by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), filters Latinx/Chicanx students into three separate categories based on their immigration status. Only those eligible for financial aid under federal law, including US Citizens and lawful permanent residents, are classified as “Hispanic.” DACA students are classified as Nonresident Aliens. Undocumented students are filtered into a category No Race/Race Unknown. IPEDs employs a unique formula to calculate Full Time Equivalent (FTE) based on instructional activity data and headcount of all students enrolled for credit, regardless of their full- or part-time status; therefore, IPEDs totals are not reflected on our website or on that of the UC System.

UC Davis Undergraduate Student Fall Enrollments 2014-2018 FTE by Ethnicity (Source: IPEDS*)


Hispanic undergraduate FTE

Total undergraduate FTE

% Hispanic

Fall 2014




Fall 2015




Fall 2016




Fall 2017




Fall 2018




* Published IPEDS data may lag the current quarter by up to two years. For example, currently, fall 2016 data are available as final release, and fall 2017 data are available as provisional release.

The University of California relies on policies that draw distinctions to decide who pays in-state tuition based on these California laws and policies that reflect California values about who counts as residents. Our counts of domestic Chicanx/Latinx students include these resident students. Under California law, racial categories are considered separately from immigration status. California has led the way in recognizing AB540 students as residents of California for purposes of paying in-state tution. The University of California is also discussing and gathering ideas for more accurate data collection and aggregation for individuals of mixed race.

For the past ten years, UC Davis has engaged in a multi-dimensional plan for growth and increased access to all students seeking to study at our institution. The impact of those efforts are reflected in the growth in actual numbers of Hispanic/Latinx students. Our values are consistent with California laws and policies in terms of inclusivity and in our goals to educate a student body that reflects the diversity of California. Through the California Dream Act and other initiatives, California has been on the forefront of serving Latinx/Chicanx communities and expanding opportunities to all its members. Our growth strategy also reflects our commitment to global curiosity, understanding and engagement and to preparing students to succeed in an international job market and interconnected global community. We are attracting an increasing number of students from all over the world. Those students have an impact on the composition of our student population at the same time they bring important experiences and assets to our campus community, values that our campus has embraced.

UC Davis Undergraduate Student Fall Enrollment Headcount by Ethnicity (Source: UC Info Center “Fall enrollment at a glance (Ethnicity)”)


African American

American Indian

Hispanic /




Domestic Unknown





























































































The absolute numbers of Chicanx/Latinx students that UC Davis serves are significant in understanding the complete, if complex, picture of our HSI status. Excelencia in Education, an organization that tracks data related to Latino education, reports the number of  full time equivalent undergraduate students attending federally-defined HSIs (using the IPEDs FTE calculations). In 2017-18, 523 institutions met the enrollment definition of HSIs in 2017-18, but many of them serve fewer than 10,000 students overall. By comparison, UC Davis currently enrolls more than 30,000 undergraduate students, and, in 2017-2018, served more “Hispanic” students in absolute numbers than 89% of the federally-designated HSIs.

UC Davis continues to take affirmative steps to establish and exceed the 25 percent enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent Hispanic students—under any and all counting methodologies. We will not step backward when 54% of K-12 students in CA are Latinx (California Department of Education, 2017) and IPEDS reports that 40% of all California’s undergraduates are Hispanic (excluding AB540, DACA, and undocumented students). We remain fully committed to educating students who reflect the rich diversity of California and of our nation, including our dreamers.

Looking Toward the Future

UC Davis is uniquely situated to lead with vision and boldness to become a premier HSI. Once designated an HSI, UC Davis will be among a select number of campuses that are considered R1 universities, meaning they have the highest level of research activity for undergraduate and graduate students. Five of these R1, HSI universities are already part of the University of California system. As of November 2018 there were 115 R1 universities in the United States.

Regardless of UC Davis’s official HSI status today, the University of California understands the imperative that comes from serving a state where Chicanx/Latinx make up 38% of its population and more than  half of its K-12 students. California’s growing need for a college-educated workforce means that the time is now, and we are committed to ensuring access to equitable opportunities for success at UC Davis.

HSI designation will open up new opportunities for federal funding. The ripeness of our HSI federal funding opportunities will require careful analysis of whether we meet the agency’s specific program requirements. Please contact the Office of Research if you are considering applying for these grants

Renetta Garrison Tull
Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Raquel Aldana
Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Diversity

Laura Cerruti
Principle Analyst, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

[1] We prefer to refer to them as Rising Scholars. Learn more at