Hispanic-Serving Institution Progress

This page was updated in June, 2021

Since its launch in 2016, the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) initiative has been a strategic institutional priority. One of the primary goals of HSI is to increase our Latinx undergraduate enrollment to 25% of the student body. But the initiative is about more than just enrollment numbers; this endeavor is about making Marquette a more welcoming and inclusive space for all our diverse stakeholders. HSI speaks to the very heart of our values as a Jesuit institution: to serve the traditionally underserved, to provide care for each of our students, and to strive for inclusive excellence.  

Through community and alumni engagement, diversifying our curricular and co-curricular programming, promoting educational opportunities to explore issues related to race and bias, and linguistically and culturally responsive outreach, recruitment, and support, HSI efforts - and the tireless efforts of dedicated faculty, staff, and students - we are moving the needle in the right direction. Since 2016, we have made progress in the following areas:   

Engaging the Community

Spanish Outreach and Family Connections

  • Marquette vastly enhanced Spanish language outreach through the creation of dozens of Spanish webpages and engagement on social media (@SomosMarquette), where translated feature stories are regularly disseminated.
  • Admissions and Financial Aid now each have two bilingual staff, and some additional Spanish language programming for SPARK and Orientation through New Student and Family Programs. Admissions events such as Mi Casa Es Tu Casa and  Se Puede also welcome Spanish-speaking families to campus.
  • Employees have opportunities to learn conversational Spanish through a faculty-led summer program and the Café con Leche discussion series.

Pre-College Programs

  • Marquette boasts a robust infrastructure for pre-college programs through TRiO (Talent Search, Upward Bound, UB Math/Science), colleges/schools (Comm, Engineering, Law, Nursing), and Admissions.
  • We have also built partnerships with our national Cristo Rey network to provide leadership summits and our local Cristo Rey Jesuit High School to offer near-peer mentorship through the Encuentros program.


  • The Office of Undergraduate Admissions has made strategic shifts in their practices to attract a broader pool of talented and diverse students, including programs geared toward first-gen, URM, and Spanish-speaking families, building relationships with community-based organizations, and the creation of bridge and transfer articulation agreements with two-year institutions.
  • With a strategic focus on Milwaukee schools, Admissions has also created the Community Ambassadors program for near-peer outreach and hosts on-site admissions for 11 local schools.
  • Between 2016-2020, the percentage of Latinx undergraduates rose from 10.6% to 14.8%. In the 2020-21 academic year, both the undergraduate and graduate student bodies are the most diverse in the history of Marquette.  For current demographic information on Marquette University students, faculty, and staff, visit the composition dashboard.

Financial Aid

  • In addition to the $33 million in financial aid that Marquette is providing Latinx students in the 2020-21 academic year, other efforts to support students financially have included the establishment of an Emergency Fund for low-income students, $250,000+ raised for the Ellacuría Scholarship for undocumented students by 2020, and up to $30,000 in matching funds for Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee (HPGM) scholarships offered to Marquette students.  
  • Freezing tuition in 2021-22 will also support students’ ability to persist.

Student Support

  • We offer many programs that provide direct support for underrepresented students through RISE pre-orientation programming and near-peer mentoring, affinity group sessions at Orientation, robust support for student organizations and activities through the Division of Student Affair’s restructured Office of Engagement and Inclusion.
  • Many URM, first-generation, and/or low-income students are supported through our many scholarship programs, such as Urban Scholars, Burke Scholars, and Engineering Scholars, and our Educational Opportunity Program.
  • Support for undocumented students has grown through the Dreamers Support Committee, Dreamers Discussion Group, Dreamers Gala, a DACA reimbursement program, and the Ellacuría Scholarship (now endowed at $250k).
  • The Latin American Student Organization (LASO), Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee (HPGM), Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, and Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, among others, have long been established student organizations on Marquette’s campus. Recent student-led initiatives resulted in the formation of several new Hispanic/Latinx-focused student organizations: PALMA (Professional Association of Latinx for Medical School Access) and Paso a Paso, a Latin dance group.
  • Students also have the opportunity to obtain sponsorships to attend national conferences as well as apply for travel grants to engage in study abroad opportunities through the WINGS Scholarship.

Faculty/Staff Diversity

  • The HSI initiative supported the launch of the cluster hiring process for the Center for Race, Ethnic, and Indigenous Studies (REIS), which resulted in a total of 21 tenure track faculty hires over three years, who bring critical expertise to the university, including in the area of Latinx Studies. 
  • We support equity-minded hiring practices through workshops for search committees and a recently developed guidance aimed at increasing representation of underrepresented employees 
  • Between fall 2016 and fall 2020, the percentage of faculty of color grew from 13.4% to 16.9% and Latinx faculty more than tripled (from 18 to 57). The percentage of URM staff grew from 19.6% to 21.8% in the same period with the largest growth seen among Latinx staff (from 4.2% to 7.1%). For the most up-to-date information around faculty/staff diversity, visit the composition dashboard

Faculty/Staff Support

  • Faculty Affairs has made intentional efforts to support URM and women faculty, such as through its FELOS and MILE programs, and initiatives such as the Community Engaged Scholars and the Summer Research Institute bring faculty together across disciplines.
  • An infrastructure for Employee Resource Groups was created to support the retention of diverse employees. We currently support eight groups.
  • The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion offers grant opportunities for faculty, such as the Advancing Social Equity research grants and grants for diverse course development.

Curricular Offerings

  • An infrastructure for the Race, Ethnic, and Indigenous Studies (REISprogram is currently being built. 
  • Latinx Studies created an intro class (required for a minor in the program) and several faculty with capacity to teach in Latinx Studies have been hired.
  • The number of Spanish for Heritage and Native Learners (SHNL) sections have doubled and the SHNL program was formalized with a directorship and an undergraduate assistant. These courses now fulfill Writing Intensive Core requirements, and Spanish courses fulfill requirements in other programs such as Speech Path and International Affairs. The Literatures, Languages, and Cultures (LLAC) department is creating a placement exam and intro SHNL course.

Culture Shifts

We are proud of the progress being made, but the work is nowhere near done. We will continue to work to recruit, support, and graduate an increasingly diverse body of students at Marquette.  

For more information about the HSI initiative, please contact Jacki Black, Director for Hispanic Initiatives and Diversity & Inclusion Educational Programming, at jacqueline.black@marquette.edu.