Ten UA faculty and staff members have been selected for a new fellowship that aims to further the UA’s efforts as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, or HSI, and CHEE research assistant professor Kasi Kiehlbaugh is among them.
The university’s first class of 10 HSI Fellows have been split into three groups, each with its own project: creation of a communications plan about the UA's HSI efforts and impact, design of culturally relevant pedagogies and practices, and development of a plan to engage and serve students at the UA. According to Assistant Vice Provost for HSI initiatives Marla Franco – who led the work that helped the university earn the designation – fellows will meet over eight sessions in the spring to work on the projects and learn skills to help see them through.
Kiehlbaugh said her interest in the fellowship stemmed from her experience as a woman working in the engineering field. She will spend her fellowship helping to craft culturally relevant pedagogies and practices, in part by encouraging faculty to embrace more inclusive teaching techniques.
Faculty have more opportunities to interact with students and therefore are well-positioned to improve student success and retention, Kiehlbaugh said, by creating "an environment within the classroom where we get those students to feel connected and like they belong and like someone cares about them."
The UA was designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education in April. The designation is defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965 as an institution of higher education with an undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25 percent Hispanic.