Sistema Universitario Ana G. Méndez is a Hispanic-Serving Institution that offers the only Dual Language Accelerated Program for adults in the nation. Each course is developed and facilitated 50% in Spanish and 50% in English. They accommodate the needs of students’ schedules by meeting just once a week for a period of four hours. Courses are scheduled mornings, evenings and weekends.
The goals are to: help meet the current need to develop bilingual professionals in different areas with the skills necessary to compete in a global society; help develop the students’ social and academic language to give them the opportunity to learn in both languages while developing their skills and understanding of different cultures; provide the labor market with competent, fully bilingual individuals who can meet the needs of their employers and the growing global market economy; and produce bilingual professionals, confident in their field of study in both English and Spanish.
Since 1,344 students have graduated; 744 at the undergraduate and 600 at the graduate level. Retention rate for the first year, 2003, was 78%; after the first year, rates have consistently been over 80%, with 88% for 2011.
A study following the 220 students first enrolled in Orlando in Fall 2003 and the 174 first enrolled in South Florida in Fall 2006 indicates that in Orlando, 96 students have graduated for a 43.6% graduation rate, and in South Florida, 93 students have graduated, for a 53.4% graduation rate. This rate compares favorably with the national 30% rate for Hispanic serving public and private universities.
The campuses have an ongoing process whereby students are assessed by faculty experts as to the degree to which they have achieved the discipline and language objectives of their courses. Completed assessment exercises at both levels indicate that students satisfactorily meet both discipline and language objectives.