The University of Texas-Pan American was ranked second in the nation in the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanics by the Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine's annual review of the top 100 colleges for Hispanics. The May 3 edition of the national bi-weekly publication focusing on issues related to Hispanics in higher education also ranked colleges by degrees awarded to Hispanics by academic program, where UTPA also fared well.
According to the Top 100 review, UT Pan American awarded 1,378 bachelor's degrees to Hispanics out of 1,597 total number awarded. Ranked first for the last 10 years has been Florida International University, with this most current review showing 2,389 bachelor's degrees to Hispanics. FIU's enrollment is more than doubled that of UTPA.
Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, provost/vice president for Academic Affairs, said it is gratifying to know that UT Pan American is recognized as a leader in providing educational opportunities to Hispanic students.
"Once again The University of Texas Pan American has demonstrated by the high ranking in Hispanic graduates that it is a leader in Hispanic higher education. The University continues to be one of the highest producers of bachelor's graduates across the United States. Our efforts in recruiting and supporting students through effective support programs have made it possible for students to complete their degrees and join the job market well prepared," he said.
Three other UT System schools ranked in the top 10 on the total number of bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanics - UT San Antonio at fourth with 1,261; UT El Paso at fifth with 1,186; and UT Austin at ninth with 1,009.
In the number of master's degrees awarded to Hispanics, UTPA again ranked high at fourth with 324 master's degrees awarded, a notch up from last year's fifth ranking. UTPA was 93rd in the number of doctoral degrees awarded, however, with only a total of five doctorates awarded to Hispanics.
In 21 different academic program areas examined in the rankings, UTPA placed in the top 10 of eight including first in the nation in the number of bachelor's degrees awarded Hispanics both in health sciences and in multi/interdisciplinary studies. UTPA ranked second in biological sciences, fourth in business and marketing, third in English literature, fifth in mathematics, and eighth both in protective services and public administration.
Hispanic Outlook's report is derived from 2001-02 data, the latest available from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Educational Statistics.
In the introduction to the 2004 Top 100 rankings, Hispanic Outlook publisher José López-Isa noted that the first ranking in 1995 was based on 1991-92 data, and this 10th year data showed impressive gains in that time. In 1991-92, only seven colleges and universities nationwide had granted 500 or more bachelor's degrees to Hispanics but in 2001-02, that number had increased to 30.
Also, in 1991-92 only one institution had granted more than 100 master's degrees to Hispanics - Columbia University. In 2001-02, 50 institutions had done so. The number of universities granting more than 10 doctoral degrees to Hispanics has grown from 23 in 1991-92 to 38 in 2001-02.
However, in his warning that there can be "no resting on laurels," López-Isa writes, "We need vision and visionaries. We need enlightened perspectives, enlightened leaders. We need all the brilliance we can muster, and from all quarters, to get us through the challenges ahead. Higher education - affordable, accessible, and diversely populated - is critical to that mission."