Faculty Diversity Hiring Initiatives

As a pre-eminent Hispanic Serving Institution, UTSA embraces a comprehensive approach to promote the success of Hispanic/Latino faculty.

Strategically hiring promising, accomplished and diverse faculty in key areas is fundamental to our future as an urban-serving university focused on student success and research excellence.

Specifically, UTSA has a goal to increase the number of underrepresented faculty by 50% in the next five years. As the data shows, we have made important progress toward this goal with full-time Hispanic faculty increasing over the last five years.

Attendees of the River Parade 2019

What Inspires Our Faculty and Staff?

Joel Alejandro (Alex) Mejia is one of many talented professionals drawn to UTSA based on it’s commitment to Hispanic students. Hired to develop an engineering education program that focuses on the success of historically underrepresented students, Alex hopes to make a difference:

“Being Mexican American, I know the importance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) in providing opportunities to other Latinos/as/xs. I graduated from an HSI. I wanted to be part of a community that was fully committed to serving minority communities.”


The Accelerating Faculty Diversity Hiring Program, launched in 2019 as part of the Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative, is an important part of our effort to hire outstanding tenured/tenure-track Hispanic/Latino faculty. The program provides designated funding to hire diverse faculty who are not recruited through a traditional search and whose work will advance inclusive excellence at UTSA through enhancing student success, research and academic distinction. In 2019, there were three additional tenured/tenure track faculty hired through the FDP mechanism, for which Academic Affairs resourced these hires by providing the colleges $1,013,500 to address salary, benefits, and start-up costs over the four-year program period. Fall 2020 recruitment has resulted in four FDP hires and institution investment of over $600,000 to support these new faculty.

The university is engaged in numerous other efforts to promote the recruitment of promising, accomplished and diverse faculty:

  • The university established college-specific faculty diversity goals as part of every dean’s annual performance review and has updated the requirements for all tenured/tenure-track faculty searches. Search committees are now required to complete Inclusive Searches training and must include a woman candidate and an underrepresented minority candidate in first-round interviews and woman or underrepresented minority in their on-campus interviews.
  • All tenured/tenure-track faculty positions now are advertised in diversity-oriented venues, websites and publications to promote UTSA’s commitment to diversifying faculty ranks.
  • In 2019, UTSA launched the Stealth Recruitment Portal, which allows potential faculty candidates to share their cover letter and curriculum vitae with the appropriate college dean, department chair and hiring authorities.
  • UTSA was selected for APLU’s inaugural IAspire Challenge Program Cohort to increase the diversity of STEM faculty.
  • The university has prioritized faculty positions in many areas that deepen our commitment as an HSI, and have a greater pipeline of diverse doctoral/postdoctoral prospective candidates in the discipline. The interdisciplinary Latin American Studies Cluster, which will hire five new faculty positions over two years, is one example.


New Faculty Hires That Identify as Hispanic or Black

The Fall 2021 new hire faculty cohort is the most diverse in UTSA history. The university has made intentional, strategic efforts to recruit, hire and retain faculty from diverse backgrounds that reflect the demographic makeup of its student body. As a result, UTSA is a leader among Hispanic Serving Carnegie R1 universities with the second highest percentage of tenured/tenure-track faculty who identify as Hispanic or Latino.


In addition to focused recruitment efforts, UTSA seeks to retain outstanding, diverse scholars by enhancing our institutional culture through mentorship and other best practices:

  • A new faculty leadership role, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion, was established in 2020 to work collaboratively with departments, colleges and university leadership to further increase the number faculty from underrepresented groups. Specifically, this position is charged with promoting the success of faculty who identify as Hispanic/Latino by implementing at UTSA national best practices related to the recruitment, appointment, development and recognition of diverse faculty.
  • UTSA partnered with the Collaborative in Academic Affairs in Higher Education (COACHE) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to participate in their national Faculty Retention & Exit Survey, a three-year study covering 2018-2020, to better understand the experiences of our faculty, to systematically uncover the factors that contributed to their decision to leave the university.
  • A Faculty Leadership Fellow program established in 2019 has been expanded substantially for 2020 to include a new Faculty Fellow position dedicated to providing leadership in shaping HSI-related initiatives and strategies for UTSA.

“As a second-generation Hispanic immigrant, I am who I am today thanks to the opportunities afforded by minority serving institutions and diversity initiatives … the opportunity to contribute to the mission of an HSI was way too big an opportunity to pass up.”

Alan Meca, assistant professor of psychology