The American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) is not a new organization, but rather an evolving organization. It is an outgrowth of the Hispanic Caucus, which was a component of the now defunct American Association of Higher Education (AAHE). As such, AAHHE has a twenty year history.
Throughout its history, AAHHE has been involved in numerous activities with three goals in mind: (1) Increasing the pipeline of Hispanic faculty in higher education; (2) Bringing issues pertinent to Hispanics to the attention of the larger academic community; and (3) Recognizing the achievements and accomplishments of Hispanics as they pertain to our academy.
AAHHE has worked toward these goals in a variety of ways. It created a Latino/a Graduate Fellows program providing Hispanic doctoral studies students interested in entering the professorial ranks the opportunity to attend AAHHE’s national conference. At that conference, they are introduced to Hispanic professors and administrators from across the nation. Fellows are provided guidance, instruction and mentors to help them navigate the complexities of higher education. Special presentations and programs are developed exclusively for this group. Throughout its history over 115 doctoral students have participated in this program. AAHHE has also developed the Junior Faculty Fellows Program to provide sponsorship for junior faculty to attend the national conference.
The Tomas Rivera Lecture program has been a highlight of the national conference, drawing on some of the best known experts to speak to issues and concerns facing our nation and our institutions of higher education. These have included such people as Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, U.S. Secretary Henry Cisneros, Ron Takiki, Ann Reynolds, Tomás Arciniega and Piedad Robertson, Raul Yzaquirre and Jim Cummings.
To celebrate and recognize the work of Hispanics in higher education and other national leaders, the AAHHE awards program was created to honor these individuals at a special luncheon at the national conference. Awards are provided in the areas of Leadership in Higher Education, Research/Teaching in Higher Education, Service/Teaching in Higher Education, Outstanding Support of Hispanic Issues in Higher Education, Fine or Performing Arts, and Literary Arts or Publications.
AAHHE will continue these traditions and create others. Although AAHHE evolved from its parent organization, the issues and concerns have not changed significantly. AAHHE is an institutional and individual member-based organization with sponsorship from colleges and universities throughout the country. It is also sponsored by businesses that recognize the value and importance Hispanics bring to our communities, states and country.