The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions Concludes the First Year of HSI Pathways to the Professoriate Program with a Cross-Institutional Conference

Philadelphia, February 27, 2018— The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) will be hosting the first Cross  Institutional Conference, a three-day series of workshops celebrating the first cohort of the HSI Pathways to the Professoriate program. On March 2, 2018, fellows from three partner Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) will come together in Philadelphia to present their year-long research projects and engage in sessions designed to prepare them for the path to the professoriate.

The conference will take place March 2, 2018, to March 4, 2018 at the University of Pennsylvania, and features three keynote addresses, four panel discussions, and a total of thirteen sessions aimed at equipping HSI students for the transition to graduate school and the culture of academe. Supported by a $5.1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, HSI Pathways to the Professoriate was created to increase the number of Latino faculty members in humanities. The Cross-Institutional Conference is a small, but integral part of the five-year program; the program also includes an intensive summer research institute and provides mentoring and support for HSI Pathways fellows applying to and enrolling in graduate school.  

 “Programs that cater to developing a pipeline for humanities students, particularly students of color are essential in today’s society. These scholars are our historians, our ethnographers, poets and authors, a lack of Latino voices in these fields is a lack of Latino narratives,” states Mariët Westermann, Vice President at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “This conference, along with the supplementary pieces of this program, allow for underrepresented students to find their voices and prepares them to be persistent in their quest to obtaining a Ph.D.”

With sessions ranging from the positive management of mental health to academic freedom to writing and publishing in academe, the conference will help students to overcome roadblocks within the faculty profession and will provide advising for navigating the current state of the academy. Along with faculty facilitators, current graduate students at majority research institutions will serve as panelists and share their experiences achieving success while in graduate school.

 In the first keynote address, “The Urgency of Latino/a Faculty in Higher Education,” Mildred García, President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, will discuss the significance of diversifying the faculty pool to reflect an increasingly diverse society. This theme is expressed throughout the conference, and touched upon during “What’s Film Got to Do with It? Multimodal Scholarship, Diversity and the Future of Academia,” a session by the University of Pennsylvania’s, John Jackson. This session will make a case for why “multimodal” research is relevant to discussions of inclusion in higher education using film. A third keynote address will be given by Catherine Good, Associate Professor at City University of New York, who will discuss stereotype threat and how it shapes intellectual performance, motivation, and molds self-image, particularly in academe. Most importantly, Good will discuss how to overcome stereotype threat.

 Amid the engaging sessions, HSI Pathways fellows will have the opportunity to present their research as either a research paper, poster presentation, or a performative piece to their peers. HSI Pathways fellows have participated in an intensive summer research program and have worked together on their research alongside a faculty mentor and their HSI Pathways Coordinator to prepare for this presentation. HSI Pathways fellows will also have an opportunity to submit their work for peer-review in an open source journal managed by CMSI known as, Pathways: A Journal of Humanistic and Social Inquiry, to be published in the fall of 2018.  

 “There is a need for academic spaces to reflect our diverse population,” shares Marybeth Gasman, the Judy & Howard Berkowitz Professor of Education and Director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions. “We want to add to the educational value of the student experience and inform students of the possibilities that pursuing a Ph.D. can offer.”

 HSI Pathways to the Professoriate is coordinated by CMSI in partnership with three Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) — Florida International University; the University of Texas, El Paso; and California State University, Northridge — and five majority research institutions — New York University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Pennsylvania; Northwestern University; and University of California, Davis. Each year, HSI undergraduate students are selected to take part in an intensive summer research program, while also receiving mentoring, and support for applying to and enrolling in graduate school. Throughout the five-year program, CMSI is also conducting assessments as to how selected students are navigating the HSI Pathways program and, once admitted, their graduate programs. CMSI is hoping to discover the challenges and impetuses along the pathway to the Ph.D.

 About the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions

The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. Based at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, the Center’s goals include: elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities. For further information about the Center, please visit

About the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

 Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. For more information, please visit 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018