UNM-Taos Chancellor, Institutional Researcher to Speak at Hispanic Serving Institution Conference

March 23, 2022


Photo by Enrico Trujillo/Artwork detail of "Gatherings" by Nora Naranjo-Morse, UNM-Taos Padre Martinez Hall
The AHSIE Conference provides Hispanic Serving Institution practitioners and educators with the chance to network and share their knowledge while learning more ways to attain and advance the HSI community. 


UNM-Taos is pleased to support a contingent of 14 employees who will attend the 14th Annual Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institution Educators (AHSIE) Best Practices Conference: The Future of HSIs: Leveraging Excellence and Cultura. Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) are federally designated colleges and universities based on criteria such as the percentage of enrolled students who identify as Hispanic/Latinx and financial need (financial aid eligibility). The AHSIE Conference provides HSI practitioners and educators with the chance to network and share their knowledge while learning more ways to attain and advance the HSI community. 

The three-day event (March 28-30) features more than 80 concurrent sessions, plenary sessions, and keynote presentations covering topics such as grant development and policy, project management, STEM, and professional development. The conference highlights the creativity, innovation, and commitment of HSI practitioners and educators who hail from dozens of colleges and universities throughout the country. This year, the conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico — the first time the conference is being held in New Mexico since the inaugural conference.

Anita Bringas, Strategic Support Manager at UNM-Taos, has a long history with AHSIE having served as a member of the Council and leading the conference planning committee for several years. Still a member of AHSIE (but no longer a council member), Bringas shared, “I’m delighted that New Mexico is the host of the annual conference. With so many HSIs in the state, the impact of this professional development and networking opportunity is invaluable — for the team going from UNM-Taos and for our colleagues across the state.” It’s Bringas’ vision that New Mexico will create a statewide alliance to localize the great work that AHSIE is doing across the country. 

Lending her voice and vision, UNM-Taos Chancellor Dr. Mary Gutierrez accepted an invitation to speak as part of the HSI Presidents’ Panel, alongside three other campus leaders from around the nation.   

“The speakers on the panel will answer questions about the institution’s journey in becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution, how being a president of HSIs has influenced the way that we lead, and what role do we see Hispanic Serving Institutions playing in the future,” Dr. Gutierrez said. 

This is her first ASHIE conference. “I am looking forward to learning from colleagues from HSIs who are thoughtful and intentional in serving their students,” she shared.   

On March 29, UNM-Taos Institutional Researcher Alejandra Villalobos Meléndez will give the breakout-session presentation, Learning from Changes in Course Modality Through the COVID-19 Pandemic to Practice Servingness. The American Council on Education defines “Servingness” as an “HSI term meaning a multidimensional and conceptual way to understand what it means to move from simply enrolling Latinx students to actually serving them.” 

This is also the first AHSIE conference for Villalobos Meléndez. “I’m proud to be representing UNM-Taos and to share the great work everyone did during the pandemic,” she said. 

Roberta Vigil, UNM-Taos Senior Operations Manager-Student Support Services, in collaboration with the Department Chairs and Office of Educational Technology, was instrumental in facilitating the transition to online teaching during the pandemic. 

Go to ahsieconference.org to learn more.