Mary Sauceda headshot

HSI Week staff spotlight

Learn more about Mary Sauceda, Ed.D., and her goals for Enrollment Management and the MSU Denver student experience.

Today, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion continues its celebration of Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week, which recognizes HSIs throughout the nation for their work and critical role in educating and empowering Hispanic and Latina/o/x people. Check out this week’s Early Bird for more stories highlighting events, programs and staff that contribute to our mission of being a model of HSI excellence.

Mary Sauceda, Ed.D., associate vice president of Enrollment Management, oversees Admissions; Financial Aid and Scholarships; the Registrar’s Office; Orientation, Transition and Retention; Testing Services; and Enrollment Management teams and activities at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She also co-chairs the Enrollment Command Center and engages in other critical enrollment activities and research, staying current on ever-changing enrollment trends and how they impact MSU Denver.

Sauceda’s goals this year include centering student experiences with enrollment, specifically financial aid, and to improve processes so students have the best enrollment experiences and outcomes. She also plans to relaunch Strategic Enrollment Management planning efforts, which will be a highly collaborative and cross-functional endeavor. Lastly, as president of the Colorado Coalition of the Educational Advancement of Latinxs, she will lead state efforts to advance Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

“Because of the demographic shifts in our state to include an increase in college-age Latina/o/x students, many of our state colleges and universities will either be HSIs or in the ‘emerging’ HSI stage, so I think conversations need to happen now on what this means for higher education in Colorado,” Sauceda said.

Sauceda has made this area the focus of her professional pursuits. Her dissertation “Latina/o/x Testimonios at a Hispanic-Serving Institution: Enhancing Cultural Wealth” was grounded in the Community Wealth Model theoretical framework and explored testimonials of Latina/o/x students to determine the level of “servingness” at Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Sauceda noted that, historically, institutions of colonial higher education were not created with equitable systems for all students.

“This study sought to understand how MSU Denver, as a fairly new HSI, is recognizing and enhancing the cultural wealth of (its) Latina/o/x students,” she said. “I found that MSU Denver is acknowledging Latina/o/x cultural wealth in a multitude of ways through the student testimonios and a single focus group. The cultural wealth of Latina/o/x students at the institution is immense, and the HSI was mostly an inclusive and culturally welcoming environment for the participants. I provide some recommendations on how MSU Denver can be a more inclusive campus for students of color, while continuing to bolster the ways (it) enhances Latina/o/x cultural wealth.”

In addition to advocating for students, Sauceda enjoys spending time outdoors with family, camping, cycling, hiking, kayaking, taking walks in her neighborhood, reading and cooking ethnic dishes.