Last Updated: Mar 28th, 2013 - 15:54:01
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Torres speaks in DC briefing on College’s work to serve Latinos

Deputy Provost for Academic Affairs Luis Torres co-chairs Hispanic Serving Institution Task Force.
Last week in Washington D.C., Deputy Provost for Academic Affairs Luis Torres participated in a briefing on the role of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) in President Barack Obama’s national college completion goals for the next decade.

Held at the Cannon House Office Building, the briefing featured a panel of six speakers, including Torres, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Director of the White House Initiative on Excellence for Hispanic Education Juan Sepulveda. The panel discussed the finding of a report by Excelencia in Education that examines how a growing number of U.S. colleges and universities are adapting their educational practices and policies to better serve the needs of Latino students. Metro State is one of four institutions featured in the report for its successful efforts to effectively serve its Latino students.

“The report tells us we’re heading in the right directions,” says Torres, who co-chairs the College’s HSI Task Force with Judi Diaz Bonacquisti, associate vice president of enrollment services.

“Emerging HSIs: Serving Latino Students” concludes that emerging HSIs – institutions that enroll 15-24 percent or more undergraduate full-time equivalent Hispanic students – are not waiting for official HSI status to enact policies to better serve Latino students.

“We can learn from these emerging colleges that are producing successful results,” says Deborah Santiago, report author and vice president for policy and research at Excelencia. “As the number of college-going Hispanics and HSIs continues to grow, it’s important to understand what it means to serve Latino students well, and we can look to these colleges as models.”

The report highlights Metro State for creating an HSI Task Force, hiring culturally competent faculty and staff, adopting a strategy of ‘inclusive excellence,’ increasing outreach to Latinos in the surrounding community, and offering programs such as the First-Year Success Program, CAMP and Chicano Studies.

Torres says he is not surprised the College became a model, citing the leadership roles of the Board of Trustees and President Stephen Jordan, along with the amount of work the task force accomplished. “We approached the process in a structural and fundamental way. Many emerging HSIs are familiar with enrollment trends of Hispanic Serving Institutions, but not graduation and retention rates.”

While in DC, Torres delivered a letter to co-panelist Polis recommending that “the United States Congress consider providing funding to the U.S. Department of Education for emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions… We recommend that, in addition to the current Title V program, separate funding is needed for emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions to better plan and to accelerate when such institutions can become HSIs. Such planning-and-implementation funds would allow these institutions to more effectively enhance the academic success of the students and institutions.”

To read the full report, visit Excelencia in Education. A presentation by Excelencia in Education on campus scheduled for Friday, Feb. 12, has had to be postponed due to the massive snowstorm in the Northeast.

Excelencia is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate Latino student success in higher education. Metro State has contracted with Excelencia tohelp keep HSI efforts on track and to provide feedback for the Urban Teacher Partnership initiative.

Other HSI-related news
Metro State, CCD and UCD are hosting the next meeting of the Colorado Coalition for the Educational Advancement of Latinos (CO-CEAL)on Friday Feb. 26 in Science 212. CO-CEAL was formerly known as HACU-CO.


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