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The Rhetoric of (Emerging) Hispanic-Serving Institutions

The Rhetoric of (Emerging) Hispanic-Serving Institutions:
Cultivating “Servingness” in Organizational Cultures Marked by White Supremacy

Thursday, March 24, 2022 | 12:30 PM

Online via Zoom

What does it mean to reach Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) status? What does it mean to become a Hispanic-Serving Institution? How do we conceptualize, operationalize, and strive for meaningful practices and structures of “servingness” for Latina/o/x students, faculty, and staff as we move toward HSI at or solidify and reinvigorate our commitments to it? In this presentation from an evolving and nascent research project, Dr. Wanzer-Serrano aims to accomplish three main goals. First, he will introduce some of the key concepts, benchmarks, and questions about emerging as an HSI. Second, he will examine the role organizational change plays in cultivating a conceptualization of servingness that goes beyond the student outcome metrics that are singularly privileged at historically predominantly white institutions (PWIs). Finally, he will interrogate the organizational culture and discourse about HSI status that circulates at his own top-tier public research university. In doing so, Dr. Wanzer-Serrano’s aim is to assess the rhetorical situation of an emerging HSI, identify the rhetorical challenges advocates face within this situation, and suggest discursive and institutional shifts that might help advocates more productively navigate and challenge the constraints posted by structures of inequity anchored in white supremacy.


Darrel Wanzer-SerranoDarrel Wanzer-Serrano (PhD, Indiana University, 2007) is Associate Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University. He is also Core Faculty in the Latino/a and Mexican American Studies (LMAS) Program. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in rhetoric, race/racism, diversity and social justice, and Latinx studies. His award-winning book, The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation, crafts a critical rhetorical history of the Latinx social movement organization and treats them as a touchstone for building decolonial theory and praxis. Currently, he is researching the rhetorics of "servingness” in emerging Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs).