Hispanic-serving initiatives empower us to live into our HSI identity and develop the programs and practices that are fundamental to global leadership. 

Our Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation demonstrates the University's commitment to living out its mission within the changing context of student demographics. It is also a transformation that focuses on student success for all historically marginalized students* (defined below), including Latinx and/or low income students.

*Historically marginalized individuals are those who identify as Latinx, Black/African American, Pacific Islander, American Indian, Alaska Native or any combination of these identities.


Anti- Asian Racism  March 18, 2021

This week has been particularly hard for the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community. As an HSI that values the culture and backgrounds of each of our students, we must stand up for our API community members and support them through action. 

The targeted killing of Asian women in Atlanta has horrified many of us. Anti-Asian racism has been folded into the fabric of US history, including the anti-Asian racism in medicine and public health in San Francisco's plague outbreak in the early 1900s to the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese Interment, and most recently incorrect and dangerous association of a virus to a specific community. 

In addition to serving as Director of HSI Initiatives and I am also a microbiologist by training, a person that understands viruses and pathogens better than most and I teach courses addressing pandemics through the College of Arts and Sciences. The usage of verbiage that has associated the current CoVID-19 pandemic to the Asian community is not only scientifically erroneous, it is harmful and racist. No one community is responsible for a viral infection. What we've learned is that our words as leaders matter, that blaming one community for the ills of a nation or the world leads to violence and harm. We must do better. 

If you are a student, employee or community member that Identifies as Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander or part of the Asian community HSI Initiatives stand with you, we are grateful for you and support you. 

If you are a student, employee or community member who is not part of the Asian community, let us all take this time to learn more about this tragedy, learn more about ways to avoid and prevent racist actions, and lean into the mission of this Institution- to develop as people with purpose that are fit to live and thrive in a global society. 

- Dr. Paloma Vargas

Director, HSI Initiatives

Assistant Professor, Biology

Co-Director ALLIES in STEM) 



Whether this is your first semester or your final year at Cal Lutheran, welcome. 

Cal Lutheran became a Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2016. This coveted designation is given to those institutions that hold a student population that is 25% or more Latinx. The most important thing about being an HSI, however, is our commitment to access and equity at Cal Lutheran. Our institution is not perfect, and we have been challenged over the last year by a global pandemic and by the epidemic of anti-Black racism and the erasure of Latinx peoples and culture. We cannot and must not continue these tactics of oppression . As you start this year at Cal Lutheran we call on you, as students, to learn about your own biases as we continue to learn about and address our own biases as an institution. The institutional leadership has made a commitment to anti-racist work https://www.callutheran.edu/about/anti-racism.html. It is our job as constituents to hold them to this work. I am committed to doing this work as Director of HSI Initiatives. Together, we must dismantle racism in higher education, call our faculty and staff to action to lean into anti-racist work and hold accountable those that don’t. This is your school. To quote another great HSI, racism has no place here, but you do. 

Welcome (back)!

Dr. Paloma Vargas

Assistant Professor, Biology and Director, HSI Initiatives

What is HSI?

What is a Hispanic-Serving Institution designation and what does it mean for Cal Lutheran?

What is HSI?

Strategic Plan

How will Cal Lutheran build on its HSI status and HSI STEM grant to become Latinx serving, rather than just Latinx enrolling?

HSI Strategic Plan

New Initiatives

We’ve launched Project CHESS with Moorpark College to support transfer students and EDU|CAL to promote pathways to teaching.

Our Projects & Developments