Excelencia in Education announces America’s top programs at increasing Latino student success in college
WASHINGTON – Elected officials and higher education leaders from across the America came together at the St. Regis Washington, D.C. hotel Tuesday to announce the 2014 Examples of Excelencia, America’s top programs that increase higher education achievement for Latino students. Programs at Santa Barbara City College, Calif., the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, and the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, in Grand Rapids, Mich., were named the 2014 Examples of Excelencia.
One Example of Excelencia each was selected from among 217 programs nominated from 26 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia in four categories: associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and community-based organization. Additionally, 15 programs were recognized as Finalists, and another 10 earned Honorable Mention.
This is the ninth annual release of Examples of Excelencia. Excelencia in Education has systematically reviewed more than 700 programs to identify and recognize 125 programs and departments – including, for the first time this year, community-based organizations – that demonstrate with evidence that they effectively boost Latino enrollment, performance and graduation. Conceived and run by Excelencia in Education, Examples of Excelencia is the only national initiative to systematically identify, recognize, and catalogue evidence-based programs that improve Latino college success.
"As the second largest and the fast growing population in the U.S., Latinos are positioned to contribute to the nation's economic growth," said Texas state Rep. Justin Rodriguez (San Antonio). “America will be unable to fully meet its potential for prosperity unless we continue to make a dent in Latino student college success and completion.”
A graduate of the University of the Incarnate Word, one of the evening’s honorees, Rodriguez spoke on behalf of numerous members of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) in the audience.
“This year’s Examples of Excelencia and finalists are at the forefront of meeting the challenge of improving higher educational achievement for Latino students,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. “No longer should policymakers and institutional leaders ask how to improve college success for Latinos – we have the largest accumulation of proven examples and tested strategies that show them how. Today’s question is do leaders have the will to put these practices into action.”
U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (San Fernando Valley, Calif.) brought greetings on behalf of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He congratulated Excelencia in Education and the Examples of Excelencia program, highlighting the California State University, Northridge's Engineering and Computer Science HSI-STEM Initiative, an institution from his congressional district who received recognition as an Honorable Mention in the bachelor's degree category. Cárdenas urged the audience never to pass up an opportunity to mentor Latino students toward success.
Tuesday’s announcement event, Celebraciòn de Excelencia, coincided with the release of the 2014 edition of “What Works for Latino Student Success in Higher Education,” a compendium of all 29 recognized programs along with the evidence of their success. Through this annual process, Excelencia in Education continues to grow America’s largest inventory of programs and strategies that education leaders, policymakers, and others tap into to accelerate degree completion among Latinos.
“This compendium is a central component of the Examples of Excelencia initiative,” said Deborah Santiago, COO and vice president of Excelencia in Education and author of the publication. “By sharing what works we hope to support educators, community leaders, funders, and policymakers to take an asset-based approach to serving Latino students. Ultimately, we strive to inspire and support replicating and bringing to scale evidence-based practices that serve Latino students and thus serve the country.”
“The capacity to be able to use large-scale data to ask fierce and piercing questions and to focus on the humanity of the educational enterprise are the underpinnings of this strategy,” said Brown.
Examples of Excelencia is presented in collaboration with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and NALEO. The 2014 sponsors are ACT, Univision, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, DeVry University, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.
2014 Examples of Excelencia
Associate: Express to Success Program, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara, California
Bachelor Level: Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services Program, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Graduate: Graduate Support Center, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas
Community-Based Organization: Supporting Our Leaders (SOL) Youth Program, Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Editor’s Note: Interviews with students and faculty available upon request. PDF of press release contains further descriptions for each program.