UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Emily Carter issued a statement announcing plans to build up UCLA’s intellectual community devoted to Latinx life.
Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau released official data showing that Latinx Californians — the largest racial or ethnic group in the state — had risen to nearly 40% of California’s population. The announcement only reaffirmed the importance of UCLA’s aim to achieve federal designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) by 2025. As a public university, UCLA has a responsibility to ensure that our institution reflects the diversity of our state and welcomes members of our Latinx communities, honors their intellectual and cultural contributions, and empowers them to flourish both at UCLA and well past graduation.
Today we write to announce a number of new commitments in support of these goals. While we will work hard to boost enrollment of qualified Latinx students to 25% of all undergraduates over the next four years — a requirement to qualify for HSI status — we recognize that simply enrolling greater numbers of Latinx students is not enough. UCLA also must enable these students to succeed by investing in academic and support infrastructure dedicated to their learning and growth.
With this in mind, we have been working with faculty and campus partners to develop plans to build up UCLA’s intellectual community devoted to Latinx life. Over the next seven years, UCLA will provide 15 new faculty lines — balanced across north and south campus — for individuals whose teaching, scholarship and/or mentoring has ties to Latinx experiences. Deans of schools and divisions may match these appointments for a total of up to 30 new scholars. In addition, UCLA will support 20 two-year postdoctoral fellowships over the next five years, again balanced across north and south campus, for work related to Latinx issues. We will also establish a new funding pool of $250,000 per year over five years for seed research grants for basic and applied scholarship on Latinx populations. The Chicano Studies Research Center (CSRC) will administer the hiring of faculty and fellows and will manage the seed research grants in collaboration with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Creative Activities.
UCLA also will commit five years of central campus funding towards eight full-time staff positions and one half-time staff position to further support Latinx life and scholarship at UCLA. These positions will include managerial and administrative support for the CSRC, the César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o and Central American Studies, and the Latino Policy and Politics Initiative; counselors in the Academic Advancement Program; and a retention coordinator in the Center for Community College Partnerships. Additionally, this fall, our Office of Student Affairs will consult with members of Latinx student organizations to assess student support needs and determine the best means of filling them. UCLA’s development office will put together a coordinated fundraising strategy to help advance these and other initiatives over the long term.
To provide guidance on these efforts and offer senior-level counsel on other topics pertinent to Latinx Bruins, we have created a new faculty advisory position: Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Latina/o/x Affairs. Initially, this position will be shared by Professor Chon Noriega and Professor Sylvia Hurtado.
Additionally, UCLA’s Hispanic-Serving Institution Task Force will issue its final report by the end of the fall term, providing further direction and recommendations to help us reach and maintain HSI status. We will also appoint an HSI staff project manager to help ensure campus progress towards our goals.
As a public university in California — a state that has and will continue to undergo pronounced demographic shifts — UCLA has both a duty and a privilege to welcome and serve all of the diverse populations that make up our state. We are excited that this new set of commitments will meaningfully advance these objectives, enrich academic life on our campus, and ultimately allow UCLA to better meet its public mandate.