Excelencia in Education unveils 21 finalists for 2018 Examples of Excelencia

July 31, 2018

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Excelencia in Education unveils 21 finalists for 2018 Examples of Excelencia

Only national program recognizing evidence-based programs that accelerate Latino student success in higher education will announce winners on October 11th

Washington, DC – Highlighting innovative approaches ranging from free after-school programming for Latinas in Baltimore City public high schools to a California State University (Northridge) effort providing stipends, mentoring, and faculty advising to Latino college students, Excelencia in Education today unveiled the 21 finalists for 2018 Examples of Excelencia, the only national program recognizing innovative evidence-based practices that accelerate Latino student success in higher education.

“Latino students are one of the largest and fastest growing groups at all levels of education in the U.S. today” said Sarita Brown, President of Excelencia in Education. “America’s economic strength grows as more Latino students enroll and succeed in higher education.It takes committed leadership and effective practices by institutions and organizations and that is what Examples of Excelencia recognizes and promotes.”

Since 2005, Examples of Excelencia has identified, reviewed, and promoted more than 280 programs at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations that institutional leaders, funders, and policymakers can replicate and use as models and resources. Excelencia in Education maintains a searchable database providing overviews, descriptions, and outcomes for all active programs that have been named Examples of Excelencia.

This year, Excelencia in Education received 139 nominations of programs that show evidence of increasing Latino student success. The nominations hailed from 27 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.

An external selection committee, composed of leaders in higher education, will now select one program in each of four categories - Associate, Baccalaureate, Graduate, and Community-Based Organizations – to be recognized as the 2018 Examples of Excelencia. The four programs will be announced and honored on October 11, 2018 at the Celebración de Excelencia hosted in Washington, DC at the Mayflower Hotel.

“All of the finalists are exceptional examples of programs that make a demonstrable difference in promoting Latino student success through degree completion,” said Deborah Santiago, CEO of Excelencia in Education. “The 2018 Examples of Excelencia will demonstrate the possibilities and inspire other professionals who seek to advance Latino student success.”

The following programs were selected as finalists for the 2018 Examples of Excelencia:


Academic English as a Second Language Program
Reading Area Community College
Reading Area Community College’s Academic ESL Program offers credit courses for non-native English speakers and bilingual Spanish/English speakers pursuing a college credential. The program has evolved to consist of a standardized curriculum for each course, offer paid professional development to faculty and staff, and enhance accessibility to and resources to their learning center. Overall enrollee success rates in reading and writing increased from an average of 66.4% prior to 2012 to an average of 78.7% since.

Cerritos Complete
Cerritos College
Cerritos Complete is a partnership between the college and its five local school districts, who collaborate to help high school seniors smoothly transition to college. More than a Promise program, it marries academic and student services, while providing strong personal, academic and financial support. Cerritos Complete students complete more units, more quickly than other students: 91% are enrolled in 9 units or more, compared to 45% for all Cerritos College students.

Dual Credit and Early College High Schools
El Paso Community College
El Paso Community College’s Dual Credit and Early College High Schools program aims to provide higher education access and support for the community’s underserved, majority Latino student population. The program includes mandatory services designed to meet students’ needs of bridge camps, tutoring, advising, and social supports. Dual credit students have a one-year persistence rate of 82.7% and, on average, 63% complete an associate or baccalaureate degree within five years.

Engage, Develop, Grow, Empower (EDGE)
College of the Desert
EDGE is a three-week program offering a fast-paced review of basic skills in math and English/reading to reduce the number of students enrolled in non-credit basic-skills coursework once enrolled at College of the Desert. At the end of the program, students retake college placement tests with the opportunity to remove some, or all, of the basic skills courses. In addition students receive first and second year support services. EDGE students persist from fall to spring at higher rates than non-EDGE students, in 2016 87% of edge students persisted to the next semester compared to only 72% of non-EDGE students.

STEM Articulation
Laredo Community College
Laredo Community College’s STEM Articulation works to provide students interested in the STEM fields with on-going student support in the form of academic assistance, bridging the transition to college, and progressing to a seamless transfer to a 4-year university. The program consists of academic enhancement and student support through the transfer process. STEM student participants graduated at an average of 3.31 semesters (1-2 years) faster than non-STEM articulation students.


Academic Achievers Program
University of Houston
The Academic Achievers Program (AAP) at the University of Houston focuses on increasing Latino student retention and graduation. The program prepares Latinos for enrollment at higher education institutions including the University of Houston. Those enrolled at UH receive ongoing support through college completion. AAP students pass more term credit hours for progress than other UH Latino students. 67% of students obtain a bachelor's degree within 4 to 6 years and 30% obtain post baccalaureate degrees.

Attract, Inspire, Mentor, and Support Students- The AIMS2 Program
California State University – Northridge
The AIMS2 Program works to increase the enrollment and graduation rate of Hispanic and low-income students, close the achievement gaps, and improve student success. Students in the program are supported with stipends, mentoring, faculty advising, and other opportunities that aid their AIMS2 program research project. The program 6-year graduation rate is 88%.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Sistema Universitario Ana G Méndez (SUAGM) – Capital Area Campus
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program aims to prepare nurse generalist, key members of an interdisciplinary team, that can have a positive impact on health care outcomes in Latino communities. The program works to expand the pipeline of entry level Latino nurses with critical professional and technology skills. The program prepares students for a nursing licensure exam, where 100% of students served in 2017 passed on their first attempt.

Gaining Access ‘N Academic Success (GANAS)
California State University – East Bay
The mission of Gaining Access ‘N Academic Success (GANAS) is to increase the number of Latino transfer students who persist and graduate with baccalaureate degrees. The GANAS cohort model has transfer students participate in a 1-year cohort-based learning community that is paired with a success seminar, intrusive academic counseling, and peer mentoring. The graduation rates of transfer students who take part in GANAS, is 79% in 3 years compared to 65.1% for non-GANAS transfer students.

Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM)
University of Puerto Rico – Humacao
PREM works to advance knowledge and diversity in materials science. The program consists of a diverse group of faculty researchers (physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science and engineering) from three undergraduate campuses of UPR (Humacao, Cayey, and Bayamon) and PENN to work in multidisciplinary teams with significant participation of high school and undergraduate students. PREM seeks to increase representation of traditionally underrepresented groups in the field of material science. Of undergraduate students served, 112 out of 114 have graduated with bachelor’s degrees.

Upward Bound
Trinity University
Trinity University’s Upward Bound program targets aims close the achievement gap and increase college graduation rates for traditionally underserved student populations. The program helps increase the comfort of students and families in higher education by providing a number of services. This includes participating in a summer college prep program, tutoring and academic advising. Of 2016 program graduates, 88% enrolled in a program of post secondary education by the fall term immediately following high school graduation as compared to 45% of target high school graduates.


Exito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training
Institute for Health Promotion Research at University of Texas Health San Antonio
The Exito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training focuses on increasing the number of Latinos in the pipeline of doctoral degrees. The program focuses on Latino cancer health disparities and provides master-level students the opportunity to do cancer research and network with Latino researchers to build on an academic- support and career building network. The program has served 151 master’s level students with 24% pursuing doctoral degrees in health.

Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement: RISE to the Post-Doctorate
New Mexico State University
RISE to the doctorate Program works to diversify biomedical and biobehavioral fields by focusing on underrepresented groups for PhD completion. The program prepares master’s and doctorate level students for the next step in their career through research mentorship, professional development, workshops, and more. Over 18 years, RISE has supported 36 NMSU STEM Ph.D. students.

Educational and Research Internship Program (ERIP)
University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez (UPRM) and US Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC)
The ERIP was created with the vision of providing Latinos the opportunity of participating in a summer internship alternative learning experience that helps them be motivated to pursue graduate studies and become part of the available research labor force in the nation. This partnership between UPRM and the ERDC helps increase the number of Latinos pursuing graduate programs and careers in engineering. All students in the internship program complete their undergraduate degree, resulting in a 100% undergraduate graduation rate, 55% of students pursue graduate programs in STEM.

Community-Based Organizations

¡Adelante Latina!
The mission of iAdelante Latina! is to aid Latina high school girls of Baltimore City public high schools in pursuing a college career. The program is a free, after-school, three-year, college preparatory program that aims to improve high school performance through tutoring, reading comprehension, and SAT prep. Of high school graduates for the class of 2017, all have been accepted to college.

Adelante Hispanic Achievers
Adelante Hispanic Achievers is focused on empowering their community’s growing Latino population by helping them succeed in four critical area of development: personal, social, cultural, and educational. The program provides youth with mentorship, tutoring, and college readiness. 100% of Adelante’s students graduate HS and attend their college of choice with scholarships.

Believe & Achieve
Trinity River Mission
Believe & Achieve Youth Development and Scholarship Program works to increase the number of high school graduates and empower them to pursue post-secondary enrollment. The program provides tutoring, college campus tours, college workshops, leadership development, counseling, financial education, internship opportunities, and community service opportunities. Of the students served in the past 5 years on average 90% enroll in college after high school, with 100% of 2017 seniors enrolling.

Catch The Next!
Catch the Next’s Ascender model provides academic, emotional-social, and community support for Latino community college students to increase the number of students who successfully complete developmental coursework, complete first-year college-level coursework in gatekeeper courses, and who graduate from the community college and transfer to a four-year college or university. Counseling, mentoring, familia, and student leadership provide Latino students with support, a sense of belonging, and motivation to succeed and lead their communities. Program students successfully completed developmental reading and writing at an average rate of 80%, whereas state averages remain near 60-65%.

The College Crusade of Rhode Island
Students enrolling in the College Crusade in the 6th grade receive ongoing services through their undergraduate college years. They are focused on reducing remediation rates among college-going students, promoting early college coursework, and improving families’ knowledge of postsecondary options. Analysis by Drexel University found that Latino students in this program are 7.4% more likely to graduate high school on time, 27% more likely to immediately enroll in college, and 43% more likely to persist to a second year of college than Latino students in a comparison group.

College Forward
College Forward’s near-peer coaching model leverages a trained mentor that helps boost college access and success rates for Hispanic/underserved students. Using their College Curriculum, a program delivery plan known as a “Service Blueprint”, and a schedule of progress goals known as “Milestone Chart”, students must meet a series of predetermined milestones, each a prerequisite for the next, to earn a postsecondary credential. This creates a pipeline full of support towards college access and completion. Since inception, 99% of Hispanic students served apply to and are accepted to higher education.

Leadership Fellows Program
National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC)
The National Community Hispanic Council (NCCHC) Leadership Fellows Program provides graduate-level curriculum to prepare candidates to populate a pipeline of highly-qualified Hispanic/Latino administrators positioned as candidates for community college leadership. The program aims to prepare and support Hispanic/Latino leaders in America’s community colleges through mentorship, conferences, and professional development. Today, 15% of the 67 Latino Presidents nationwide (12) are former NCCHC Leadership Program Fellows.



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