New Report Studies Pathway to Professoriate for Latinx Scholars

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Dr. Marybeth GasmanDr. Marybeth GasmanThe Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) has released a new report on Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) serving as pathways to Ph.D. programs in humanities and the professoriate. The report reveals the success of mentorship and the importance of community colleges, as well as the financial, economic, and academic barriers faced by Latinx students.

Only 5% of faculty in the nation identify as Latinx. The report, Forging a Pathway to Equity in the Professoriate: Lessons from the HSI Pathways Program, puts an emphasis on hiring and supporting more Latinx faculty to address the gap of representation.

The HSI Pathways Program, run by CMSI, has been operating for the last five years, finding ways to support Latinx Fellows academically and socially as they traverse the road to a doctorate degree.

“As of 2020, about 75% of our Fellows have transitioned into graduate programs, approximately 50% have enrolled in a Ph.D. program, and approximately 24% have enrolled in an M.A. program,” said Dr. Marybeth Gasman, one of the authors of the report and the founder of CMSI. “We have learned that Latinx students are highly interested in traversing the path to academia and that they are simply seeking adequate support — financial and emotional.”

The program provides those supports for students not only at their home institution but from graduate coordinators and mentors at five Major Research Institutions (MRIs) partnered with CMSI. Fellows of the program also receive advice from the CMSI staff and have a chance to refine their research skills as they create applications to doctoral programs.

Finally, the report shares tips for mentors and faculty to keep in mind as they support their Latinx students, like how to tackle imposter syndrome, how to practice proactive responses to mental health, or the importance of building a supportive community of peers. To better support diversity, institutions, the report said, should avoid the rigidity that keeps outdated processes the status quo.