As part of an entourage of nine, I was blessed to have attended the 31st HACU Annual Conference at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront in San Diego, CA, held October 28-30, 2017. I arrived one day early for the PreK-12 Higher Education Collaboration Symposium, where I collaborated with individuals from other Hispanic Serving Institute’s (HSIs) from throughout the nation. A common point of discussion was concerning how universities are working with community colleges to prepare these students for a pathway to the university and then continuing their education to enter credential programs to become K-12 teachers. While most states allow teacher candidates to complete a bachelor’s degree that includes a teacher credential, California has required a fifth year of instruction for the teaching credential after the bachelor’s degree. There is now an effort in California for universities to integrate the teaching credential into a four-year bachelor’s degree. Vanguard is in the process of writing such a program for STEM majors and possibly others.
Vanguard had an excellent representation at the HACU conference, including Vanguard’s Provost, Dr. O’Quinn; Dr. Pete Menjares, Director of the Institute for Faculty Development; Dr. April Harris-Akinloye, Director of Diversity and Inclusion; Dr. Tara Sirvent, Director of the Academic Writing and Research Office and Interim STEM Dean; Amanda Lebrecht, Director of Student Success, Academic Resources & Family Relations; David Vazquez, Director of External Relations; Dr. Tommy Casarez, Assistant Professor of Historical & Systematic Theology; and Dr. Itzel Calleja-Macias, Director for the Jesse Miranda Center for Hispanic Leadership, and myself.
Pictured to the right: Dr. Itzel Calleja-Macias, Dr. Antonio R. Flores, President of HACU, and Dr. Sylvia Kane
WE’RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK
The seminars I attended were Track 4 – Academic Success of Hispanic Students, Research and Practice. My focus was to learn of successful programs and strategies that ensure the educational success of Hispanic Students.
The emphasis throughout this track was concerning research on professional development for faculty and staff to improve academic success. It appears that tutoring, a program for first-generation students, early alert systems, summer bridge programs, and Supplemental Instruction (SI) are just a few of the best practices reported, which are currently occurring at Vanguard! However, I was pleased to also learn that professional development for faculty and staff has been found to be key. Brown and Rivas (1997, 2004) found that educators must be aware of and apply the skills, attitudes, and behaviors required to respond effectively to the needs of increasingly diverse students.
Vanguard’s Institute for Faculty Development will offer workshops over the next several months dealing with these exact issues, which demonstrates Vanguard’s efforts to provide the best educational experiences for all students, no matter their background. I am excited to be a part of these events and to see the results as faculty and staff implement these research-based best practices.
WHAT A TREAT!
Lastly, I also attended the post-conference seminar, HACU Sixth Annual Deans’ Forum on Hispanic Higher Education. As I stood in line for lunch, I was greeted by Beatriz Ceja, HSI Division Director from the U.S. Department of Education, who congratulated me on behalf of Vanguard University on the award of our second Title V grant. What a surprise!
We were fed luxurious meals at this conference. This tiramisu is just one example of one of the desserts. It was delectable!
The funding for this conference was provided partially by Vanguard’s Professional Development funds and partially by the Title V Grant.