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Higher Education Needs More Hispanic Business Professors

Friday, May 24, 2019  
Posted by: Maria Dietrich
Higher Education Needs More Hispanic Business Professors

While Hispanics comprise one quarter of students in public schools and 17 percent of the undergraduate population, Hispanics only represent five percent of the total number of U.S. higher education faculty. The PhD Project is on a mission to change that statistic as it relates to business school, and in 25 years has made great strides.

The PhD Project was established by the KPMG Foundation to encourage minorities to pursue careers as business professors. At its founding in 1994, there were just a handful of Hispanic business professors in the U.S. Since then 380 Hispanic Americans have become business professors, with 111 more now in a Ph.D course of study to qualify as professors.

These new professors are role models who now encourage and assist Hispanic professionals and students who want to consider becoming a business professor. One of these role models is Dr. Cinthia Satornino, assistant professor of marketing, at the University of Connecticut’s School of Business.

When Dr. Satornino graduated with her Ph.D. in marketing from Florida State University, she became only the 26th Hispanic woman to attain that status in the United States.

Dr. Satornino had spent over a decade in corporate and institutional settings as a strategic planning professional and consultant. Participating in The PhD Project a decade ago highlighted for her the opportunity to help solve strategic problems on a bigger stage and with more impact. She became a professor, enabling her to train business professionals at the start of their careers, and do work aligned with her beliefs of the importance of mentoring, paying it forward, and being a role model.

One of her PhD Project colleagues, Dr. Laura Treviño of the University of Texas at El Paso, encourages Hispanic women in business to consider the benefits of becoming a business professor.

“To get a PhD, you have to work hard and consistently but you don’t have to be a genius. There is a lot of financial support and it can lead to the most wonderful jobs in the world,” Dr. Treviño says.

The PhD Project holds an annual conference for individuals who want to explore the career path of becoming a business professor. To learn more, visit

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics designated The PhD Project in 2016 as one of the nation’s Bright Spots in Hispanic Education. As part of this initiative, the Project formed a Committee on Hispanic Excellence, holding diversity summits around the country for educators to discuss improving outcomes and increasing access in education for Hispanic students. The PhD Project is also utilizing its network of over 1,600 minority business faculty and doctoral students to enhance outreach to Hispanic-American students to improve their completion rate.

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