The March 3 HSI Taskforce meeting offered a presentation from Excelencia in Education, updates on the College’s HSI initiatives, and a gracious welcome from President Stephen Jordan.
“People have noticed what we have accomplished in a very short time,” said Jordan, referencing how the College’s work on the HSI initiative has influenced the broader state community.
More than 40 faculty and staff attended the event featuring a presentation from Excelencia representatives Deborah A. Santiago and Sally J. Andrade. They reviewed the findings and recommendations from their report. The underlying theme was the importance of “intentionality” for higher education institutions seeking to serve the Latino community.
According to Andrade, this includes having “effective bicultural and bilingual outreach strategies to Latino communities and ensuring that new students, especially first-time freshman succeed and persist.”
Funding was among the recommendations. Excelencia has found that higher education institutions need to seek new funds from state legislators. They reported that this was not a role for their organization, but for the colleges and universities themselves. “Our role is to educate and inform,” said Santiago.
Deputy Provost and Co-Chair of the HSI Taskforce Luis Torres concurred: “Excelencia is not connected to the U.S. Government. They are an independent research group studying educational policies. They do not take the kind of advocacy role that would be required to recommend specific legislation.
“However, we can advocate to our legislators, such as Representative Jared Polis or other representatives or senators, policies that affect education.” In fact, that is why the U.S. Department of Education representatives were here this past summer, seeking recommendations that they might wish to consider. Learn more about the legislative steps the College has made at “Torres speaks in DC briefing on College’s work to serve Latinos.
Jordan applauded the work of faculty and staff on the HSI initiative, saying that many strategies are required to be successful. “I have never been in a place where I have seen people do so much with so little. I see it time and time again. Your work is critical. We see what we could accomplish with so little, think what we could do with more.”
Co-Chair of the HSI Taskforce Judi Diaz Bonacquisti also provided status updates on the recommendations provided by the taskforce.
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