Institution
California State University-Fullerton
Academic Level
Issue Area(s)
Key Personnel
California State University-Fullerton
Office of Graduate Studies, CSU, Fullerton
Fullerton, CA 92834
United States

The EPOCHS program provides services to Latino/a graduate students and activities to improve campus climate and improve retention and graduation rates. In 2009, though 33% of undergraduate students at CSUF self-identified Hispanic (consistent with regional demographics), only 15% of graduate students were Hispanic. Achievement gap existed for Hispanic grad students: Hispanics had lower graduation rates and disparately high percentage on academic probation and disqualification. EPOCHS’ services to students include: new grad student orientation with Spanish workshops for families, grad student handbook, bilingual English/Spanish newsletter, tutoring and academic skills workshops, graduate student assistant program, faculty/grad student mentoring program, and grants to support grad student research. EPOCHS’ activities to improve campus climate: faculty advisor workshops on cultural competency (faculty is 66% white) and outreach activities (events, workshops, tabling) with community groups (high schools, community colleges, non-profits). EPOCHS is designed and marketed for Latino/a students, but its services are open to all students. Managed from the Graduate Studies Office, EPOCHS is well integrated into the Office’s daily operations and with the SOAR program (Strengthening Opportunities, Access and Resources for Latinx Students) that is funded by a U.S. Dept. of Education's Title V, PPOHA grant.

Goal/Mission

To increase the number of Latino/a students who achieve a master’s degree at CSU Fullerton by increasing enrollment and improving persistence and graduation rates. EPOCHS’ meets goals with pervasive, campus-wide student support services (new grad student orientation, tutoring, workshops, handbook) and engagement activities (faculty mentoring, graduate assistantships, research grants, newsletter), plus improved campus culture in faculty training on cultural competency, equity, and inclusion in higher education.

Outcome

Because of EPOCHS, enrollment of Hispanics in CSUF graduate degree programs increased by 80% (552 students) from 2010 to 2016: 691 Hispanic students to 1,243 Hispanic students. (This increase at CSUF of Hispanic grad students occurred despite an overall decline in grad student enrollment at Southern California CSU’s by all ethnicities.)

Hispanic graduate student representation improved: from 15% to 23% (2010-16).

Graduation rates increased: 2-year graduation rate: 30% of Hispanic students in the 2010 entering class and 44% of Hispanic students in the 2013 entering class graduated in 2 years. 3-year graduation rate: In 2010, 51% of Hispanics had graduated in 3 years, compared to 63% of Hispanics in 2015. This is nearly on par with the rate of White students (66%).

EPOCHS’ performance targets exceeded: by 250% for Hispanic students in academic tutoring in 2015 and 2016; by 100% for Hispanics participation at new grad orientation. Number of tutoring staff expanded 50% to accommodate student interest.

EPOCHS’ Mentoring Program: annually (2010-16), 50-70 faculty apply for 25-35 mentor positions; 95% of the mentees (120) reported being “very satisfied” with the Program; faculty mentors attend 5 workshops annually and report increased understanding of cultural context for Hispanic students and other underserved groups.

Funding to grad students for research doubled to $30,000 for grad students to attend conferences.

Faculty Development: EPOCHS partnered with the Faculty Development Center to expand workshops to accommodate faculty interest. Efforts focused on expanding cultural competency for faculty continue under the Faculty Development Center with 3 learning communities meeting regularly throughout the academic year, 2016-17, and 10 workshops. 

Program Focus
Faculty Training, Scholarship