OCTOBER 1, 2020 — The University of Texas at San Antonio today announced that it has been selected by Excelencia in Education to receive the prestigious Seal of Excelencia, a comprehensive certification recognizing the university’s commitment and ability to accelerate Latino student success. The certification adds momentum to UTSA’s journey to become a Hispanic thriving institution, a model Hispanic Serving Institution that provides the highest quality education to advance social mobility and economic opportunities for Latino students and their communities.
As part of its strategic vision to become a model for student success and a great public research university, UTSA is training the next generation of leaders, tackling society’s grand challenges, and developing new innovations, businesses and social programs. It is delivering on this mission by embracing its founding identity, purposefully supporting its majority Hispanic student population and hiring historically underrepresented faculty, staff and leaders who reflect the South Texas community the university serves.
“Seal of Excelencia certification is truly special on a number of levels. Not only does it reflect our purposeful, university-wide commitment to accelerating the success of our Latino students, efforts that benefit every student who attends UTSA, it is a testament to the hard work and advocacy of so many in our Roadrunner community,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “I am especially appreciative of the many faculty and staff across the university who collaborated to demonstrate and quantify our commitment to the success of our Latino students. I am also particularly grateful to the La Raza Faculty and Administrators Association for their advocacy. From the very beginning, they desired for UTSA to be exemplary in its service to Mexican Americans in South Texas, a population historically underserved by higher education.”
As part of its journey to become a model Hispanic Serving Institution, UTSA is purposefully implementing policies, practices and support systems to accelerate Latino student success. These efforts are already benefitting the university’s Hispanic student population.
From 2015–2016 to 2019–2020 (the data submitted to Excelencia in Education), UTSA’s:
At the same time the university has made great strides in the diversification of its faculty. Over the past five years the number of Hispanic full-time faculty has increased by 17.1%. This fall alone, 22% of the new faculty members joining UTSA identified as Hispanic or Latino.
Additionally, more than 900 new freshmen are enrolled at UTSA this fall through the university’s Bold Promise program, which provides full tuition and fees for eligible Texas students from low- and middle-income families. Seventy-eight percent of these students identify as Hispanic or Latino.
“UTSA has a unique opportunity to become a Hispanic thriving institution that provides the highest quality education to advance social mobility and economic opportunities for Latino communities,” said UTSA Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy. “At its most fundamental level all of the work we do to advance these goals benefits our entire student body, elevating standards of excellence across the board.”
Eighmy added, “We recognize that earning the Seal of Excelencia is a waypoint in our journey, not the final destination. The university has more to do to fully embrace its identity as a Hispanic Serving Institution and cultivate an environment where students from all backgrounds can thrive.”
The Seal of Excelencia, the first and only national certification that confirms an institution of higher education is intentionally serving Latino students, is part of Excelencia in Education’s systemic approach to close the education equity gap, accelerate the number of Latino students who attain college degrees by 2030, and support America’s economic and global standing by effectively preparing Latinos.
Colleges and universities applying for the seal are assessed on data and practices related to the Latino student enrollment, retention, transfer in/out, financial support and degree completion as well as increased representation of Latinos in faculty, staff and administrative roles to further model success.
UTSA is one of five institutions to receive the Seal of Excelencia this year. Other recipients include UT Austin, Long Beach City College, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Cal State University, Sacramento.
“Accelerating Latino student success requires institutions go beyond enrollment and show intentionality and impact in serving students,” said Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education. “The University of Texas at San Antonio and the other four certified institutions set the pace for much needed institutional transformation and are confronting structural barriers and inequities of longstanding.”
This 2020 cohort joins nine other universities that received certification in 2019, the inaugural year of the program.
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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.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
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.