July 20, 2007
Dear Hispanic Serving Initiative (HSI) Task Force member:
Thank you for agreeing to serve on this very important committee. As you know, I have been charged by the Board of Trustees of Metropolitan State College of Denver to lead the College to the next echelon as the preeminent public urban baccalaureate college in the nation.
To build on this vision, Metro State has set an ambitious goal: to become a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), with Latinos composing at least 25 percent of our enrollment, with at least 50 percent of these students classified as low income. Currently, Metro State has 13 percent Latino enrollment, a quarter of the state's baccalaureate-seeking Latinos. Since 2003, Latino students have had a higher retention rate than any other underrepresented ethnic group at the College. With a strategic focus on our enrollment-of Latinos and other ethnic groups-we will reach HSI status within the next decade. Our economic and social realities in Colorado dictate that Metro State should and must increase its Latino student enrollment. Your recommendations and service on this committee will make this goal a reality allowing Metro State must take a leadership role in the state.
HSI designation will bring benefits to the College, Denver, and to Colorado. Metro State would be eligible for funding that will provide significant benefits to all students, faculty and staff, not just Latinos. We would be able to receive grant monies for activities that range from faculty development to renovation of instructional facilities to student support services. In 2005, the U.S. Department of Education awarded nearly $96 million to HSIs. In addition, federal agencies-from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the Department of Defense-routinely set aside HSI funding. For example, in 2005 the University of Texas-Pan American received $2 million from the DOE and $6 million from other federal entities.
To assure that we tell all aspects of the Metro State story, we will work around the following themes:
The membership of this task force includes a wide array of faculty, staff, administrators and students. Its membership is based on the nominations that were received at the HSI initiative launch this past spring.
I have asked Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services Judi Diaz Bonacquisti and Dr. Luis Torres, Interim Assistant Dean of Letters, Arts and Sciences, to co-chair this important initiative. Over the past few months, the HSI Steering Committee, led by AVP Diaz Bonacquisti, has been working on a template for the HSI Task Force.
I would like the HSI Task Force to examine a number of critical issues and develop models/options and recommendations to outline how we will achieve this goal. As an HSI Task Force member, we request your participation at a morning meeting on Friday, July 27 at St. Cajetans from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. to launch this initiative. Lunch will be provided. At the meeting, we will lay the framework and delve further into this initiative.
Let me close by reiterating that Metro State is poised to meet the social and economic imperatives to educate more students of color. The College already has a solid foundation of community programs focused on improving K-16 education for these students. I, along with the members of the Board of Trustees, look forward to receiving your analysis and the options and recommendations by February, 2008.
If you are unable to participate on the task force or cannot attend the retreat, please let Ms. Diaz Bonacquisiti or Dr. Torres know as soon as possible. This is an important assignment as the College journeys to preeminence, and I appreciate very much the expertise and effort you will bring to this task.
Stephen M. Jordan, Ph.D.
Encl: list of task force members
Cc: Board of Trustees
Cc: President's Cabinet