Tuesday, February 26, 2019

John Burkhardt receives 2019 Outstanding Support of Hispanic Issues Award from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education


John Burkhardt is receiving the Outstanding Support of Hispanic Issues Award from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) at the 2019 annual AAHHE conference held in Costa Mesa, California. The Outstanding Support Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments and support of AAHHE’s mission. The individual chosen for the award is not always an educator but is one who has made significant contributions to higher education as a community leader, civic leader, or an elected or appointed official. Burkhardt is a clinical professor in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan and was the founding director of the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good, also located at U-M.

AAHHE is the largest professional association serving the growing community of faculty, administrators and students at the nation's colleges and universities. Founded in 2005, the organization has been an agent of change for improving education, helping to assure that more Hispanic students can fully participate in a diverse society. AAHHE works collaboratively with all sectors of education, business, industry, as well as community and professional organizations to enhance the educational aspirations and to meet the needs of a significantly increasing Hispanic population.

AAHHE Chairwoman Dr. JoAnn Canales says, “The state of the Latinx student population at every level from community college through graduate school, as well as the state of the Latinx population among the faculty and administrative ranks in higher education is certainly not reflective of the growing demographics so widely touted. It is quite clear that there is much to do, and it will require collaboration and synergy to scale up the opportunities at every level in higher education from students to administration.”

Hispanic faculty in tenure-track positions represent only about four percent of the total faculty in colleges and universities. Hispanic college and university presidents represent approximately three percent of all presidents. These percentages for both faculty and presidents have not changed over the past ten years. Given the rapidly changing U.S. demography, with projections clearly showing Hispanics will constitute about thirty percent of the population within a few decades, there is a significant need to address replacement and pipeline issues in higher education. In fact, the largest net gain in student enrollments in higher education over the next two decades will be found among Hispanic students. AAHHE has positioned itself to work with institutions of higher education, foundations, business partners and other collaborative organizations that seek to address Hispanic pipeline issues in higher education.

Canales adds, “Needed are more individuals like John Burkhardt who not only have such a clear view of the landscape but are committed and passionate to addressing the multifaceted issues using a scholarly informed approach to keep the complex issues at the forefront of the funders and policy-makers. He has such a focused vision driving his mission to produce socially responsible leaders for the public good with a strong drive to ensure equitable access to education that he exemplifies what AAHHE embodies. AAHHE is an organization focused on increasing the pipeline of the Latinx community from successful completers of bachelors, graduate and doctoral programs to faculty and administrative positions in higher education. There is such an immediate and critical need for diversity and inclusion in higher education, however, that there is a moral, ethical, and professional imperative to cultivate culturally competent leaders. Leaders like John and those emanating from the New Leadership Academy as well as the work of the National Forum at the University of Michigan are helping to move the needle closer to meeting the needs of a significantly increasing Latinx population.”

Burkhardt said of the recognition, “I believe that this is an honor intended to recognize the efforts of many students and colleagues here at the University of Michigan and those involved in similar work around the country. The National Forum has played a significant role in advocating for opportunities for Latinx students, especially those whose citizenship is undocumented. There is no way this would have happened without the passionate, determined efforts of U-M graduate students and it is very doubtful that work of this sort could have been envisioned in a School or at a University with less of a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

John Burkhardt is Professor of Clinical Practice,Center for the Study and Higher Education; Founding Director, National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good

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