AUGUST 20, 2020 — Excelencia in Education today announced UTSA’s Access College and Excel Scholar Program and master of arts in school psychology program as finalists for the 2020 Examples of Excelencia.
The two programs are among only 20 in the U.S. selected for this recognition.
Based in Washington, D.C., Excelencia in Education is the nation’s premier authority in efforts to accelerate Latino student success in higher education. Examples of Excelencia was created in 2005 and is the country’s only national effort to recognize and promote evidence-based practices accelerating Latino student success in higher education.
Programs are assessed on the strength of innovative, intentional, culturally relevant and effective high-impact practices tailored to Latino students and their communities. This year Excelencia received 112 submissions.
“Identifying and advancing what works is central to Excelencia’s tactical plan to accelerate Latino student success,” said Deborah Santiago, CEO of Excelencia in Education. “We look to these evidence-based practices and the leaders working directly with students and community as exemplars of what others can do to ensure our students are served well.”
“By promoting and celebrating what works for Latino students in higher education, Excelencia increases national awareness of efforts effectively engaging the growing Latino student population,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. “We are relentless, as are these program leaders, in promoting the benefits to institutions and this country of intentionally serving Latino and other post-traditional students.”
UTSA’s Access College and Excel Program was started in 1999 in partnership with USAA and is designed to recruit ambitious high school students from predominantly Latino schools and support their successful transition to college and degree completion. Over time the program has grown to include 14 high schools across five school districts on the West and South sides of San Antonio.
By providing scholarships, advising, tutoring, mentoring, academic success coaching and community engagement opportunities to first-generation students during their first two years at UTSA, the ACE Program seeks to ensure they not only are academically successful but also learn important life skills that will help them be successful after graduation.
Of the 42 students currently enrolled in ACE, 41 are Latino. In the more than 20 years since the program began ACE has served 670 students, of which 656 are Latino.
The M.A. in school psychology program at UTSA admitted its inaugural cohort in fall 2010 and seeks to educate Latino graduate students to effectively serve the growing number of Latino students in U.S. public schools and the nation at large.
Latinos are historically and currently underrepresented in the area of school psychology. Nationally, the profession is predominately white and female. As such, the program actively recruits Latinos and other students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and is intentional in placing graduate students in underserved settings and communities for their practical training. Latinos make up an average of 53% of program graduates each year.
Additionally, program faculty have strategically infused culturally responsive practices into the training curriculum and each course. For example, the curriculum includes a course in multicultural assessment and intervention dedicated to learning the skills necessary for work with diverse populations. Another course, Consultation in the Schools, that has a service-learning requirement that focuses on culturally responsive practices and issues of social justice.
“UTSA is committed to becoming a model Hispanic thriving university, and we are grateful to Excelencia in Education, both for their recognition of these outstanding programs and their ongoing data-to-practice support,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Congratulations to all the staff, students and faculty associated with the ACE Program and the school psychology program. Your work is having a tremendous impact on our campus and in our community.”
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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.