WASHINGTON — Despite record levels of enrollment among Latinos in higher education, institutional leaders must create a “culture of evidence” in order to advance Latino student success.
That was the heart of message delivered this weekend by Dr. Frank Sanchez, vice chancellor for student affairs at The City University of New York (CUNY).
“It’s not just collecting data and analyzing data,” Sanchez said Saturday during a speech titled “Latino Student Success: Evidence Informing Policies & Practices.”
“We have to disseminate our data to the campus community, and then we have to determine where we can take action,” Sanchez said. “This is going to have to be a standard practice.”
Sanchez made his remarks as keynote speaker at the 11th Annual Latino Higher Education Leadership Institute held by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, or HACU. The leadership institute is part of HACU’s annual conference, which wraps up Monday.
Sanchez shared a series of tips on specific things that institutional leaders can do to improve outcomes for Latino students, from reexamining course policies on late adds to creating an “ethos of caring” on campus.
Other speakers stressed the need for Latinos to increase their numbers in leadership positions in higher education.
Dr. Antonio Flores, president and CEO of HACU, cited a recent survey that shows numbers of Hispanics in president positions in higher education has declined from 3.8 to 3.1 percent.
“That’s unacceptable from a standpoint of what we stand for,” Flores said, noting that the leadership in higher education does not reflect the rapid growth of Latino students in higher education.
He noted that HBCUs and tribal colleges have leadership that reflects their student bodies.
“You go to HSIs, you don’t see that,” Flores said. “We have to change that.
“From my standpoint we have no other place but up with respect to that. We need to be intentional. It’s not just going to happen because we wish it. We need to create the kind of platforms that will create those new generations of leaders in our community.”
In his keynote speech, Sanchez, of CUNY, said there are specific things that institutions of higher learning can do to increase success among Latino students.
Things he urged institutional leaders to do include:
Sanchez also stressed the need for campuses, regardless of size, to create “psychologically small experience”; to provide peer and faculty and mentoring; use a “high tech, high touch” approach with students and create an ethos of caring.
“It’s really about the culture of your institution,” Sanchez said. “You have to permeate an ethos of care about your students.
“If you can have this ethos of care in the delivery of service and delivery of instruction, I can convince you that you will see dramatic gains … by that alone.”
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