Seal of Excelencia

2020 Seal of Excelencia

Providing colleges and universities with the means to reflect how they intentionality serve Latino students, while serving all students, and advancing this during a global pandemic and national reckoning for social justice, is how Excelencia leads the way through these challenging times.

Sarita Brown, co-founder and President, Excelencia in Education


Return to Seal of Excelencia Main Page



Institutions Earning the Certification

2020 Seal of Excelencia Certified Institutions


Excelencia in Education recognized these colleges and universities for intentionally SERVING Latino students and for demonstrating positive student outcomes.

Hear what institutional leaders say about earning the Seal of Excelencia certification.

Read the news release.


California State University, Sacramento • Long Beach City College • The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at San Antonio • University of Illinois at Chicago


California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State) - CA

Sacramento State enrolls over 31,000 students, of which 56% are students of color. It is designated an HSI and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI). Hispanics comprise the largest ethnic group (30%) and 58% of its students qualify for Pell Grants.

Two examples of SERVING: Student success through faculty diversity and pro-active academic support programs

Sacramento State understands that Latinx representation among faculty, administration, and staff is critical to Latino student engagement and success. Thus, it has implemented strategies to increase diversity and Latinx representation. The Office of Faculty Advancement, along with the Division of Inclusive Excellence, provide mini-grants to help departments find ways to diversify their applicant pools. Once hired, a robust five-day orientation program exposes all new employees to inclusive teaching methods, support structures for students and general inclusivity practices. In addition, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), intentionally prepares faculty to serve Latinx students through yearlong Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) focused on data analytics and student success, equity, inclusion, and action research.

Sacramento State has established an internal university committee comprised of administrators, staff, faculty, and students that helps distribute funding to programs and processes that increase accessibility, progression, and graduation. Programs and processes are submitted for consideration by faculty, staff, and students. One supported program is the Second Year Success (SYS) program. SYS uses an interventionist holistic approach to support students on Academic Probation. The program targets students who finish their first year with a 2.4 GPA or lower. Students meet with SYS Advisors (students in the Counseling Master’s Program) for multiple sessions. SYS is sustained through a strong partnership with the Master’s in Counseling Program.


Click here to view the Sacramento State University institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.


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Long Beach City College (LBCC) - CA

LBCC is the 4th largest community College of the 115 California community colleges serving 26,000 students. Of these, 82% are part time, 56% are Latinx, and over 55% are first generation college-goers. In last 10 years, Long Beach has experienced major shift in demographics that has seen more Latino students. It intentionally and overtly serves Latino students by setting an expectation of equity as a priority.

Two examples of SERVING: Cultural curricular redesign and linking with community partners

Long Beach City College (LBCC) has implemented cultural curriculum audits to increase Latino students’ success by engaging its faculty in four key areas: 1) redesigning course content through a Latino lens; 2) redesigning classroom experiences ensuring that Latino students have the space to engage in the classroom comparably to their peers; 3) redesigning assignments confirming expectations are stated in transparent ways; and, 4) redesigning approaches to assessment by giving student feedback in supportive ways. Core success rates for Latino students in these courses increased at double the rate of Latino students in courses with non-trained faculty.

Long Beach supports student success through engagement with partners and collaboration within the college as well as with the broader community that it serves. An example is the Long Beach College Promise, a partnership between the LBCC, CSU Long Beach and Long Beach Unified School District to work as one system to help Latino and other students transition between institutions. LBCC also established the Center for Community & Industry Partnerships, which connects businesses, city agencies and local organizations with LBCC students and faculty to provide workforce links and opportunities.


Click here to view the LBCC institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.


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The University of Texas at Austin (UT) - TX

The University of Texas at Austin (UT) is an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution with 24% Hispanic student representation from over 51,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UT uses predictive analysis to ensure it is “student ready” to serve its students from under-resourced backgrounds. It launched a strategic effort to increase its 4-year graduation rate for undergraduates and has made significant strides in increasing Hispanic student graduation over the last five years.

Two examples of SERVING: Building relationships and fostering a sense of belonging

In honoring the cultural values of Latino students, UT builds trusting and authentic relationships with students and their families through connections with staff, faculty, alumni, and current students through regional community gatherings and events such as its Plática Series, Longhorn Futuro: Latinx Success at Texas celebration, and Longhorn for a Day Road Trips. UT also established a new Access and Inclusion unit within the Office of Admissions to comprehensively examine strategies, programs, policies, and events to assess their effectiveness at supporting the enrollment of Latino students. The examination and assessment led to the formalization and expansion of Texas Student Recruiters, UT’s premier recruitment effort where current Latino and African American students connect to prospective and admitted Latino and African American students.

The 360 Connections program places all freshmen students into small communities of 20 students to help them integrate socially, academically, and developmentally that fosters a sense of belonging and builds community for students. The program aids students in the transition from high school to college and helps connect them to people and resources on campus. The small communities include a professional staff and/or faculty member, peer mentors, and upperclassmen. The retention rate of Latino first year students has been impacted positively since the inception of the program, showing comparable rates to all UT’s first year students.


Click here to view the UT institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.


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The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) - TX

UTSA is a 4-year public university enrolling approximately 28,000 students, 58% of which are Latino. UTSA strives to move beyond Hispanic serving to Hispanic thriving through intentional policies, practices and support that tackle institutional inequities and accelerate educational success for Latino students.

Two examples of SERVING: Accelerating access and linking the classroom to the workforce

As part of its commitment to enroll Latino students, UTSA conducts targeted recruitment campaigns in geographic areas with large Latino populations throughout Texas. In its local area, the university partners with 12 school districts and five community colleges. Its comprehensive approach includes P-20 pipeline programs such as the following three: 1) Dual Credit, which provides college credit for high school students; 2) TRIO, which provides underrepresented students with opportunities for academic development and promotes college completion; and, 3) PREP (pre-freshman engineering program), which identifies and enrolls middle and high school underrepresented students interested in STEM majors and helps prepare them for advanced studies and careers.

UTSA understands the importance of linking classroom success to life after graduation through experiential learning for historically underserved populations. The university’s Classroom to Career (C2C) Initiative reimagines not only possibilities for experiential learning, but also how such learning is offered to cultivate a culture that builds marketable skills leading to career success. The initiative creates an integrated campus-wide framework for expanding and enhancing experiential learning opportunities for UTSA students to better prepare them post-graduation.


Click here to view the UTSA institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.


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University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) - IL

UIC serves over 21,000 undergraduate students and is a diverse campus that mirrors the city of Chicago’s racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic community. The 2019 incoming student body was over 40% Hispanic, 56% first-generation, and 58% Pell eligible.

Two examples of SERVING: Engaging the campus community and increasing Latinx faculty representation

UIC’s gains on completion stem from the implementation of almost 125 recommendations borne out of extensive work started in 2012 by 8 task forces involving 200 faculty, staff, and students. The impact of this work is evident in LARES, one of UIC’s oldest programs, which now serves more than 3,300 students with tutoring, mentoring, advising, supplemental instruction, internships, leadership opportunities, and scholarships resulting in dramatic increases in graduation rates for participating Latino students.

UIC has also invested in several strategies to increase Latinx faculty representation. Among them are the following four: 1) the Pipeline to an Inclusive Faculty Program recruits and supports outstanding underrepresented PhD students interested in pursuing careers as faculty; 2) the Bridge to the Faculty Program recruits underrepresented scholars with the goal of transitioning them to a faculty position after two years; 3) a Faculty Administrator Leadership Program that provides underrepresented faculty a path to leadership positions in administration; and, 4) a cluster initiative to increase diversity and interdisciplinary culture designed to cultivate diverse academic leadership.


Click here to view the UIC institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.