UC HSI Initiative Research Apprenticeship Program

The UC HSI Initiative's inaugural Research Apprenticeship Program (UC-HSI RAP) aims to support junior scholars at UC who focus their dissertation research on Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). The program's goal is to support and strengthen future generations of UC scholars, leaders and administrators who focus on equity issues in the context of HSIs.

Specifically, UC-HSI RAP aims to:

  • Support dissertation research on HSIs
  • Strengthen professional development for academic-, practitioner-, policy- and/or advocate-focused careers
  • Engage in peer learning and mentorship in writing and research development
  • Foster opportunities for mentorship with UC and non-UC HSI scholars, leaders and advocates

This will be accomplished through a series of activities such as:

  • Funding for dissertation research
  • Professional development workshops
  • Writing workshops
  • Mentorship and networking with HSI scholars, practitioners and advocates

To be eligible, interested applicants must:

  • Be currently enrolled as doctoral student at a UC campus
  • Have advanced to candidacy at the time of application
  • Have a dissertation focus on HSIs

Introducing the 2022 UC HSI Initiative Apprenticeship Program Cohort!


Serving Latina/o/x Undergraduates Through Graduation: An Examination of Organizational Retention Structures at Hispanic Serving Institutions

As the number of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) continues to grow, these institutions have gained national attention as they play a crucial role in the academic success of Latina/o/x students. While some scholarship has considered Latina/o/x student retention at HSIs, this research tends to focus on individual characteristics, with minimal attention placed on the role of organizational structures in academically supporting students throughout their degree attainment trajectory. Grounded in the Multidimensional Conceptual Framework of Servingness in HSIs, this mixed-methods study aims to examine how HSIs are organized to academically support Latina/o/x students, including those who encounter academic challenges such as academic probation, dismissal and reinstatement on the path to degree completion. The following questions guide this study: 1) What organizational structures and services support Latina/o/x undergraduate students’ retention at HSIs? 2) How do institutional factors shape the processes and influence support structures for students facing academic challenges at HSIs? The research design includes descriptive analyses of a survey distributed to staff at four-year HSIs to understand academic and retention support structures. In addition, a multiple case study employing interviews with staff and document analysis at three HSIs will be conducted. Through this comprehensive design, this study will broaden our understanding of Latina/o/x student retention by documenting how the organizational structures and campus-based efforts at HSIs “serve” Latina/o/x students during instances of academic probation, dismissal, and reinstatement through their persistence to graduation


Completing College at a Hispanic-Serving Institution: Campus Practices and Strategies for Student Success 

Many studies have focused on how HSIs are graduating students at lower rates than their four-year counterparts (Contreras, Malcom, & Bensimon, 2008; Garcia, 2011; Malcom, 2010). Yet, what is oftentimes overlooked is that these institutions operate with limited resources, pushing their administrators, staff, and faculty to be creative in utilizing and maximizing resources. This can perpetuate a false narrative that these institutions underperform in successfully graduating their students, but advanced research is beginning to show HSIs do just as well or better when compared with institutions that are similar in characteristics and students they enroll (Calderon Galdeano & Rodriguez, 2015; Flores & Park, 2013; Hurtado, Ruiz Alvarado, and Eagan, 2018) . These institutions are creating pathways for students who come from marginalized backgrounds, and it is important to showcase how they are an asset to American higher education. The purpose of this study is to focus on how Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), that recognize their institutional identity, contribute to student success for college completion among marginalized student populations. Longitudinal student outcome data on each of the colleges selected for this study revealed they were doing better than expected with low-income, first generation, and racially minoritized students’ college completion. Retention rate trends show that they continue to improve in subsequent cohorts. Using four case studies, this study seeks to illustrate practices that appear to contribute to outcomes prior to and after data collection to identify the practices that exemplify how institutions with limited resources distribute resources to maximize them.


Lo Que Nace del Corazón, Siempre Crece: The Origins of Serving at a Hispanic Serving Research Institution The University of California, Riverside

Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) have become an essential point of access for Chicano/Latino undergraduate students. As the first UC designated as an HSI in 2008 and one of the first Hispanic Serving Research Institutions (HSRIs), UC Riverside (UCR) provides a unique lens to attribute to the growing HSI scholarship which identifies ‘serving’ as the ability to promote a culture of Chicano/Latino student success that enrolls, cultivates and validates Chicano/Latino students (Malcolm-Piqueux & Bensimon, 2014; Garcia et al., 2019). While there has been a growing body of literature on HSIs, few studies have attempted to gather the origins of serving of HSIs/HSRIs and studies rarely situate their analysis of HSIs/HSRIs in a sociohistorical context. Furthermore, few studies involve Chicano/Latino students in the process of defining what serving means to them at an HSI/HSRI (Garcia & Zaragoza, 2020). This Participatory Action Research (PAR) study is designed to gather the origins of serving at UCR by including Chicano/Latino undergraduate students as co-researchers in this process. Through this PAR study, information will be gathered on the Chicano/Latino undergraduate co-researchers key experiences that have shaped their academic success at UCR.


Transitioning to a Selective Research Institution: A Case Study of Transfer Receptive Culture in Place for Latinx Students

The aim of Jesse’s dissertation is two-fold. First, his study investigates the transition experiences of a cohort of Latina/o/x transfer students attending a selective, emerging Hispanic Serving Research Institution (HSRI). Second, it examines how the emerging HSRI fosters a transfer receptive culture that welcomes and prioritizes Latina/o/x community college transfer students. His study employs case study methods and draws on a transfer receptive culture framework in his analysis.


Case Studies of Latinx Community College Students' Pathway to Transfer and the Bachelor's Degree

My dissertation examines the academic and career identity pathways of Latinx students transferring from community colleges in California (CA) to a University of California (UC) campus. I draw on three complementary frameworks to guide this qualitative multi-methods case study: The Bridging Multiple Worlds Theory (BMWT), the Multicontextual Model for Diverse Learning Environments (MMDLE), and Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT). Together they provide an analytic framework to examine how immigrant-origin Latinxs navigated pathways to and through college including transfer from community college to a 4-year university. This methodology supports use of ethnographic interviews and prompts specific to Latinx transfer students in order to generate thick-description and analysis of the everyday activities in students’ lives including practices, processes, and policies that supported or hindered their pathway from community college to the 4-year university. The end outcome is to understand how 2-year community colleges and 4-year universities that are Hispanic Serving Institutions in CA can support Latinx students to transfer and complete a UC education including pathways to graduate school and post-college career pathways. The study is important in the context of a growing Latinx population in the U.S. who while enrolling in greater numbers, predominantly matriculate in the community college and have some of the lowest rates of transfer to four-year universities and degree completion of all racial/ethnic groups.


BIPOC FG Graduate Students Transforming Academia with Their Funds of Knowledge

Black, Indigenous, People of Color first-generation (BIPOC FG) graduate students bring unacknowledged strengths into graduate school. These strengths can come from their lived experiences and the skills, goals, or resources from their families and communities, also known as funds of knowledge. This dissertation drew on an extant data set to investigate how BIPOC FG graduate students' apply their funds of knowledge within the context of a public Hispanic-Serving Institution. Thirteen BIPOC FG students (7 Latinx, 4 Multiethnic-racial, and 2 Asian American) participated in a semi-structured interview about their transition into graduate school and current lived experiences in their graduate program. Findings from this study present three different profiles of how BIPOC FG graduate students apply their funds of knowledge in the graduate school context. This study adds to the scarce literature on the experiences of the funds of knowledge of graduate students.