The American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) addresses issues and concerns affecting Hispanics, with a focus on higher education. While the Hispanic population is the largest ethnic minority population in America, Hispanics are still highly underrepresented in the undergraduate and graduate enrollments and graduation rates.

Further, Hispanic faculty in tenure-track positions represent about four percent of the total faculty in colleges and universities. In addition, Hispanic college and university presidents represent approximately three percent of all presidents. What’s more astonishing, these percentages for both faculty and presidents have not changed over the past ten years. Given the rapidly changing U.S. demography, with projections clearly showing Hispanics will constitute about thirty percent of the population within a few decades, there is a significant need to address replacement and pipeline issues in higher education. Finally, the largest net gain in student enrollments in higher education over the next two decades will be Hispanic. AAHHE is well positioned to work with institutions of higher education, foundations, business partners and other collaborative organizations that seek to address Hispanic pipeline issues in higher education.

In order to effect change in American higher education, AAHHE is committed to:

  • Addressing societal issues as they pertain to the growing population.
  • Convening public discourse focused forums to develop public policy reflecting the changing demographics of our nation.
  • Preparing more Hispanics to pursue a career in higher education as faculty, administrators, and policy makers.

AAHHE has worked toward these goals in a variety of ways. It created a Latino/a Graduate Fellows Program providing Hispanic doctoral studies students the opportunity to attend AAHHE’s national conference where they are introduced to Hispanic professors and administrators from across the nation and are provided guidance, instruction, and mentors to help them navigate the complexities of higher education. Over 200 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; over 100 Faculty Fellows have been featured at the conference.

The Tomás Rivera Lecture is a highlight of each 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. Lecturers of the past include Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, U.S. Secretary Henry Cisneros, Ron Takiki, Ann Reynolds, Tomás Arciniega, Piedad Robertson, Raul Yzaguirre, Charles Reed, Jack Scott, Jim Cummings, Luis Ubiñas, Michael Olivas, Rachel Moran, Francisco Cigarroa, and Jamie Merisotis.

To celebrate and recognize the work of Hispanics in higher education and national leaders, the AAHHE Awards Program was created to honor deserving individuals at a special luncheon each year at the national conference.

Through AAHHE’s leadership and strong relationships with equally committed organizations, key programs and initiatives continue to serve the higher education community. Ten Latino/a Student Success Institutes have been presented at annual national conference by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and AAHHE. Noted scholars and practitioners present research, showcase programs that work, and discuss with participants how to implement retention programs.

Since 2008, ETS and AAHHE have again joined together to offer the Outstanding Dissertation Competition and awards. The top three place winners will showcase their dissertation during one of the conference concurrent sessions. AAHHE will continue these traditions and create others as well, while serving as a leading research and advocacy group for Hispanic higher education issues.