CUNY named to national consortium to improve opportunities for Latinx students



Rachel Dalloo

CUNY was named to a new prestigious national consortium which seeks to improve academic opportunities for Latinx students in the humanities, according to an Oct. 6 press release.

The recognition, involves a $5 million grant funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for three years and is directed by the University of Illinois Chicago.

It will help support and mentor Latinx students who are pursuing a degree or any faculty position within the humanities division.

“That this auspicious Mellon Foundation honor for CUNY arrives in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month, makes it all the more significant as we connect our past to our present and future,” Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez said in a press statement. “CUNY is poised to make vital contributions to this consortium, as demonstrated by the fine research that has been initiated over many years by our colleges and renowned Latinx-focused research institutes, and to the mentoring of scholars of remarkable promise.”

The grant, titled “Crossing Latinidades: Emerging Scholars and New Comparative Directions,” was given to 16 “Hispanic-serving institutions” across the country.

CUNY has 16 campuses that are considered as Hispanic-serving institutions, the highest number in New York State.

Those colleges participate in numerous research establishments such as the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute at City College, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and the CUNY Mexican Studies Institute at Lehman College.

Ramona Hernández, a professor at the City College of New York, is also the director for the Dominican Studies Institute. She will assist the initiative as both a mentor and adviser.

Hernández, who is also an author, plays a vital role at CUNY, helping to broaden City College’s library. She also lead the way in launching its archives.

“As the largest urban public university system in the United States and as an institution historically charged with serving the less privileged in society, CUNY is uniquely positioned to empower the critically important and underserved field of Latino Studies,” Hernández said.

The program comprises of a yearly summer institute that will focus on the Latino studies methodologies and theories. There is also a mentorship program that aims to amplify the comparative research skills, intellectual curiosity, creativity and critical thinking of students.

The program will also conduct a research group assessment, which will give individuals the opportunity to develop a new model of cross-regional research to reflect the changing configurations of Latinos in the United States.

The funding used in the grant’s second and third years will allow for the creation of 10 research groups for both senior and junior Latinx students studying in the humanities sector and for six graduate students.

“We, at CUNY, in concert with other prominent universities, will work to ensure that this initiative leads to tangible advances in scholarship and that it will have an historic effect on the fields that contribute to Latinx Studies,” Matos Rodríguez said.