Becoming an Hispanic-Serving Research Institution: Involving Graduate Students in Organizational Change
The changing demographics of higher education have led to an increase in the number and type of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). As research universities continue to see a rise in the enrollment of Latino/a students, a better understanding of the implications of this change within the existing institutional context will be essential to best serve this growing community of students. We position our study within a tradition of organizational culture theory that points to the importance of organizational actors’ interpretations, perspectives, and actions in order to understand an organization’s general behavior and change. By acknowledging the importance of graduate students within research universities, we focus on their perspectives at an Emerging Hispanic-Serving Research Institution (HSRI) and ask, “What are the organizational culture implications of an HSI designation for a research university?” Our analysis revealed four important themes: communicating institutional pride as an HSRI, engaging the benefits of an HSRI, operationalizing a serving mission, and involving graduate students as institutional actors at HSRIs. Institutional recommendations that follow from our findings include providing clear communication regarding HSI status, objectives, and commitment; assessing the campus climate; and increasing graduate student involvement as key leaders within HSRIs.