Our Journey Toward Becoming a Hispanic-Thriving Institution
September 11, 2023
As we approach Hispanic Heritage Month, which will kick off nationwide on Friday, September 15, I would like to share what this month means to me and to our Northwest Vista College (NVC) family.
NVC is federally designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), defined in Title V of the Higher Education Act as an institution of higher learning with a full-time equivalent undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25% Hispanic. The Hispanic student enrollment at NVC is 66%. While that mirrors San Antonio’s population, enrollment alone is not enough to ensure Latino student success.
NVC’s commitment to Latino student success needs to encompass access, degree completion, job search, and career progression. As a college, we began to review the Exelencia in Education framework this past spring, under NVC Vice President Debi Gaitan’s leadership and the work of the NVC Leadership Council. Our journey has just begun to adopt this important framework. I recently joined the Excelencia in Education’s Presidents for Latino Student Success Network and committed NVC to making our learning environment thriving for Latino student success. Through this network, NVC will leverage collective expertise and resources, foster partnership, and amplify our efforts at the national level.
Hispanic-Thriving means that we serve our community in every way possible. Our faculty and staff are doing just that in outreach, marketing, recruitment, advising, and enrollment. We are also doing this through teaching, mentoring, and coaching. We’re also supporting students through career advising, student club offerings, and leadership engagement opportunities. Our physical spaces, technology and lab support also play a major role in this effort as well as alumni relations and our current Employee Giving Back campaign. Everything we do matters.
This year, we celebrated the relaunch of our Westside Education and Training Center (WETC) with new facilities that allow the center to expand our offerings to the community. Our faculty are now expanding science course offerings at WETC, thanks to the vision of faculty Eric Madrid, Dean Russ Frohardt, and many others.
On Saturday, October 7, starting at 9 am, we will have a very special event, “Crossroads to Success/Caminos al éxito,” spearheaded by the chair of our Hispanic Heritage Month Committee Dr. June Pedraza and Humanities and Government Chair Paul Martinez. The event will include sharing of stories from the Westside, cultural presentations including music, film, art, and poetry. We’re inviting students and their families from several Westside high schools. This will be an opportunity for NVC faculty, staff, and students to truly integrate with the community, and I hope to see you there as an attendee or a volunteer, or an event promoter.
Our community depends on us to deliver on our promise of supporting this region’s workforce needs, and that includes becoming a Hispanic-Thriving Institution. Thank you for your commitment to student success!