Grantee Video Spotlight: Excelencia in Education


Sixty-six percent of all Latinos enrolled in higher education today are concentrated in a small number of Hispanic Serving Institutions, or HSIs, which make up only 17% of all higher education institutions in the US. Yet, Latino representation in the faculty of these institutions continues to lag far behind the Latino student population. In 2017, ECMC Foundation granted Excelencia in Education a $144,145 grant to complete a first-of-its-kind study on the national faculty profile and Latino-serving programs of HSIs.

At the moment, 23% of Latinos in the United States hold an associate’s degree or higher, compared to 39% of the general population. Studies have found that teachers of color serve as role models and advocates for students with whom they share a cultural background, and that academic performance and retention increase when students of color are taught by faculty of color.

As a result of this project, Excelencia found that, nationally, less than 5% of faculty are Latino. Even at HSIs, representation only increases to 17%. As part of their study, Excelencia also catalogued examples of successful Latino-serving programs and curriculums at HSIs. They hosted convenings of leaders and faculty to discuss their research findings, and developed an issue brief titled “Faculty are Core: Serving Latino Students at HSI” and factsheet summarizing their results, which were distributed digitally to hundreds of universities nationwide.

The results of this grant helped Excelencia set a baseline for their future work on faculty and for a national conversation on how to improve Latino student success. ECMC Foundation recently granted Excelencia an additional $800,000 to help support and provide technical assistance for a new effort, the Seal of Excelencia, a new project that will develop a system of accountability and support so two-year and four-year campuses can accelerate successful degree attainment for Latino students.

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