Excelencia in Education and leaders from nine higher education institutions in Arizona, Florida, and Texas worked over two years to develop and discuss plans for accelerating Latino college completion at their institutions. We had the privilege of having a team from the Maricopa Community Colleges participate in this project. Team members included:
- Monica Castañeda Interim Vice President for Student Affairs, Glendale Community College
- Rosa Cota , Director Early College Programs, South Mountain Community College
- Dr. Sam Dosumu, Associate Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, District Office
- Felicia Ganther, Associate Vice Chancellor Student Affairs, District Office
- Dr. Ray A. Ostos, District Director for Student Affairs, District Office
- Minerva Pargas, Title V Program Director, Phoenix College
- Kathleen Perales, Associate Dean-Student Affairs, Mesa Community College
- Dr. Rey Rivera, Vice President, Academic Affairs, Estrella Mountain Community College
- René Willekens, Dean, Research, Planning & Effectiveness, Estrella Mountain Community College
In addition to Maricopa, participating schools included Arizona State University, Valencia College, Florida International University, Miami Dade College, University of Central Florida, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso Community College, and South Texas College. Combined, the listed institutions currently enroll over 400,000 students and over 200,000 Latino students. The ALCC Project examined what it means to be a Hispanic SERVING Institution. In addition to reaching 25% of Hispanic student enrollment, what are institutions doing to deliberately and strategically support their Latino students. Given the representation of Latino students enrolled and graduating, the college plans for increasing college completion can inform the work of other Hispanic Serving Institutions, emerging HSIs, and other institutions committed to increasing Latino college completion.
One of the Latino acceleration strategies we pursued focused on the promotion of the Maricopa – Arizona State University Pathway Program. This included the development and dissemination of pathway information in Spanish and strengthening communication and collaboration with our university partner. At the same time of ALCC project Maricopa began a systemic change in expanding and developing guided pathways and support for all students.
Participation in this project has helped provide our District with a “Latino lens” as we embark on this large-scale change. Guided pathways and integrated student support will lead Maricopa forward in better serving Latino students and all students. This holistic and strategic support will ensure that students establish key early connections, with support and guidance are able to develop an educational path, stay in school and excel academically, and ultimately meet their designated educational goal.