In October, small teams from Metro State’s HSI Task Force visited
four HSI universities--three in California and one in Illinois--to glean
ideas of best practices to attaining the HSI designation and truly serving the student population.
The three California universities were all in the California State
system: Cal State-Fullerton, -Los Angeles and -San Bernardino.
Northeastern Illinois University is located in Chicago. Research on a
fifth HSI, the University of Texas at San Antonio, was done on the Web.
The surrounding communities of all five universities have Latino
populations greater than the HSI-required 25 percent Latino student
population and so did not have to actively pursue more Latino students,
as Metro State must, to attain the designation. However, as Co-chair
Luis Torres pointed out at the Oct.26 task force meeting, with Denver’s
and Colorado’s Latino population burgeoning, “If we don’t plan now, we
won’t be ready for the future.”
Nevertheless, the task force members who visited the HSIs agree that
they learned a lot about growing and maintaining their connections with
the Latino community.
There were several commonalities among the universities, among them
the fact that the designation helps to better serve all students by
providing support services for at-risk students and funding for
academic programs. Another key element that several stressed is that
Metro State would need a partnership with an HSI community college so
that there is a natural migration from the two-year into the four-year
institution. Also essential is the Title V designation, which is a
program that helps eligible institutions of higher education enhance
and expand their capacity to serve Latino and low-income students by
providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality,
institutional stability, management and fiscal capabilities of eligible
Recruitment at these institutions is often on-site and utilizes
faculty and staff to reach Latino high school students. Among the
support programs common to all of the HSIs are first-year programs,
learning communities and transfer services--all programs that Metro
State began piloting last year and has requested funds to continue this
year. (see http://www.mscd.edu/~collcom/artman/publish/budget_twv5102407.shtml.)
Finally, once all four of the institutions achieved HSI status, they
produced marketing pieces in both Spanish and English. Also, programs
were developed specific to their Latino communities such as parent
orientations in Spanish and developing and maintaining long-term
relationships with their respective Latino communities.
The task force members who visited Northeastern Illinois University were able to combine their visit with the 21st
annual conference of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and
Universities (HACU), Oct. 20-22 in Chicago. President Stephen Jordan
and several faculty and administrators joined the team at the
The team reported that the conference was extremely valuable in
helping them understand what it might take to become an HSI, such as
that structuring Metro State to be successful may mean changing some
programs, developing the political will to make it a success and
integrating what the College does well with new ideas.
Co-chair Judi Dian Bonacquisti said that she’d like to develop a
“HACU-Colorado” that could be a research center for Latinos and higher
education in Colorado.
Reports from the visiting teams will be posted at a later date on the HSI home page at http://www.mscd.edu/president/hsi/.
Top of Page