Diversifying the arts education workforce is among the goals of incoming HSI Fellows

Diversifying the arts education workforce is among the goals of incoming HSI Fellows

By University Communications
Printer-friendly version PDF version
Nöel Hennessey, director of ENGAGED, College of Engineering
Nöel Hennessey, director of ENGAGED, College of Engineering
Philip Alejo, associate professor, Fred Fox School of Music (Photo by Yuanyuan He/Fred Fox School of Music)
Philip Alejo, associate professor, Fred Fox School of Music (Photo by Yuanyuan He/Fred Fox School of Music)

Attracting more grant funding for Hispanic-serving initiatives and creating pathways for Hispanic students to pursue arts education are among the goals for members of the newest cohort of HSI fellows.

The program, sponsored by the Office of the Provost and participating colleges and departments, is a key component of the University's designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is one of 559 institutions that have the designation, which requires an undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25% Hispanic.

This year's cohort brings together eight faculty and staff members from across the University. That brings the total number of faculty and staff selected as fellows to 46.

Those who complete the program are "well equipped to advance HSI-focused work across the University and in the community," said Marla Franco, assistant vice provost for HSI initiatives. "It's been remarkable to see the continued leadership from prior cohorts."   

The fellows will begin by attending a kickoff dinner in September to begin building community with each other. They will then attend eight sessions led by former fellows, researchers, community partners, student leaders, University administrators and more. They will also work in smaller groups based on shared interests to pursue projects aimed at building institutional capacity as an HSI. At the end of the 2023 spring semester, the groups will present their projects as part of an open forum. You can read more about previous fellows and their projects on the HSI Fellows Program website.

Bringing funding and opportunity to underserved students

Among the incoming fellows is Nöel Hennessey, director of the ENGineering, Access, Greater Equity, and Diversity program – or ENGAGED – a new initiative in the College of Engineering that focuses on increasing access and broadening participation in engineering among historically underrepresented groups. (Read more about ENGAGED in this story from the College of Engineering.) She says she hopes to work in a group that aligns with her interest in attracting more grant funding to support efforts that serve Hispanic and low-income students to her working group.

"I am a person who understands how to build connective tissue between disciplines," Hennessey said. "If there are folks who are in humanities or arts and we find ways to mobilize our efforts to compete for nationally competitive grants that serve students across our disciplines, I think that would be really interesting."

Hennessey hopes her experience as a fellow will enhance the work she is doing with ENGAGED.

"We can learn a lot from one another and apply philosophies and practices from across the institution into our own work," she said. "The more people we have who have gone through a program like this, the more we can amplify voices that haven't traditionally been heard."

Philip Alejo, associate professor in the Fred Fox School of Music, says the outreach work he does by performing and discussing orchestral music in schools throughout Tucson and Phoenix is part of what led him to apply for the fellowship.

Alejo said, over time, he realized he wasn't performing or sharing music that represented the students he was seeing.

"I wanted to find ways to reach those students on a much more personal level," he said.

He hopes to use his fellowship to develop a recruiting initiative to diversify the population of music teachers in Arizona. In a state with a significant population of Hispanic K-12 students, Alejo said, it's an urgent need.

"We have a teaching workforce that does not represent these students, and for me, it raises a lot of red flags about the longevity of orchestral programs in this state," Alejo said.

Alejo said he hopes to learn more about efforts being made by other colleges to recruit diverse educators.

The members of the 2022-23 cohort of HSI Fellows are:

  • Philip Alejo, Associate Professor, Fred Fox School of Music
  • Celeste Atkins, Assistant Director, Faculty Mentoring Initiatives, Office of the Provost
  • Nöel Hennessey, Director, Engineering Access, Greater Equity and Diversity (ENGAGED), College of Engineering
  • Nicole Marrone, Associate Professor, Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences
  • Alexei Marquez, Manager, Persistence and Completion, Thrive Center
  • Arlett Perez, Project Director, Upward Bound, College of Education
  • Marla Rodriguez, Student Success and Retention Specialist, Online and Distance Education
  • Karina Salazar, Assistant Professor, Center for the Study of Higher Education


UA@Work is produced by University Communications

Marshall Building, Suite 100. 845 N. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719 (or) 
P.O. Box 210158B, Tucson, AZ 85721

T 520.621.1877  F 520.626.4121

Feedback University Privacy Statement 

2022 © The Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona