ASC hosts meeting of Colorado Coalition for Education Advancement of Latinos


Representatives of ten Colorado colleges and universities discussed ways to expand higher educational success for Hispanic students at a meeting Friday of the Colorado Coalition for Education Advancement of Latinos (CoCEAL), hosted by Adams State College.

The morning focused on a roundtable discussion of ways to improve student retention, facilitated by Armando Valdez, Adams State assistant professor of business. Panel members included Adams State staff: Ken Marquez, Dean of Students; Lillian Gomez, director of Title V; Ezy Ulibarri, manager of the One-Stop Student Services Center; Karen Lemke, coordinator of the STAY program (Structured Transitional Academic Year); and Andrea Maestas, director of Institutional Research.

CoCEAL panel

The CoCEAL meeting explored student retention through a panel discussion.

Adams State President David Svaldi opened the meeting by describing several activities at Adams State that "do increase Hispanic success and graduation rates." These include the college's CELT program (Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching), created with a Title V grant for Hispanic Serving Institutions. Svaldi noted Hispanic students at Adams State graduate at near, and sometimes better than, the rate of majority students.

Svaldi also discussed the work of the Colorado's Higher Education Strategic Planning - Accessiblity subcommittee, on which he serves.

"The voice of Latino students is well represented on all the strategic planning committees," he said. In defining accessibility, the subcommittee is focused on the needs of students of low income, those who are historically underrepresented in higher education, non-traditional age students, and those whose geographic location creates limitations.

Dr. Frank Sanchez, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment and Student Engagement at the University of Colorado Denver and former Adams State Dean of Students, chairs the HESP Best Practices subcommittee. He said the higher education pipeline for Latino students is "hemorrhaging," noting that of every 100 Hispanic children in Colorado, only 44 will complete high school; 24 will enter college, but only 6 will graduate college; and only 2 will pursue post-graduate education.

CoCEAL formed two years ago when the HACU (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities) held their national convention in Denver. Adams State Director of Admissions Eric Carpio serves on the group's steering committee. Members include college administrators and faculty members in various roles.

Colleges and universities represented at Friday's meeting include Adam State College, Metro State College, Colorado State University-Pueblo, Front Range Community College, Colorado State University, University of Colorado Denver, Pikes Peak Community College, Trinidad State Junior College - Valley Campus, University of Colorado Boulder, and Western State College.

By Julie Waechter