Lehigh Carbon Community College focuses its Spring 2023 Convocation on Latinx students
The higher education institution highlighted Latinx students’ cultures and its commitment to ensuring an inclusive environment.
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Today marked the first two-day event of Lehigh Carbon Community College’s (LCCC) Spring 2023 Convocation—addressing the importance of understanding Latinx students’ cultures, and needs and how it is preparing for the Seal of Excelencia application.
LCCC was designated a Hispanic Serving Institution, a degree-granting, public or private nonprofit higher education institution with a full-time equivalent (FTE) of 25% of undergraduate Hispanic or Latino student enrollment, by the U.S. Department of Education in 2017.
As part of the designation, the LCCC formed the HSI Task Force with seventeen recommendations to create a Latino STEM program, have more family involvement, offer inclusive marketing, add Latinx, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) to Board Membership, among others.
The College will apply for the Seal of Excelencia, a national certification for institutions that strive to go beyond enrollment to intentionally SERVE Latino students.
Seal of Excelencia has three core components: data, practice, and leadership—with six key data areas: enrollment, retention, transfer in and out, financial support, representation, and degree.
In 2021, Hispanic and Latino students were the second largest group enrolled (27%) at LCCC when compared to White (55%), Black or African American (8%), and Asian students (3%). Additionally, retention for the Fall 2021 new student cohort is 59% for all students and 57% for Hispanic or Latino students at LCCC.
Dr. Cindy Haney, Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services at LCCC explained students’ transfer process and how for Fall 2021, 15% of Hispanic or Latino students who transferred to another institution transferred to a public 2-year institution, compared to 7% for all students. Referencing the National Student Clearinghouse, those percentages are “because more Hispanic or Latino students transfer before earning a credential.”
During the 2021-22 fiscal year, 65% of Hispanic or Latino students received federal aid and 13% received state aid, compared to 38% and 9% respectively for non-Hispanic or Latino students, LCCC Stats revealed.
As of 2022, faculty at LCCC identifying as Hispanic or Latino represent about 1% of full-time faculty and 1% of part-time faculty.
According to the Seal of Excelencia leadership requirement, “institutions demonstrate leadership impact and how the institution aligns data and practice to improve Latino student success—mission and strategy, data and practice, human resources, communications, and institutional culture.
LCCC Initiatives and focus
Linda Baker, Executive Director of College Relations at LCCC, briefly discussed targeted marketing for Hispanic/ Latino populations and actively using employment websites, Spanish-speaking radio, and news advertisements to help attract Hispanic/ Latino faculty and staff.
Having faculty coaches with a collaborative focus that will enable “equity for all students through deliberate integration, outreach to help all students [and] targeting first-gen students” were some of the things Dr. Melanie Turrano, President of the Faculty Association and Professor of English at LCCC stated during the Convocation.
Additionally, partnerships with other HSI colleges and universities. Transfer Advisor at LCCC, Fauzia Graham, explained the conversations with students interested in transferring to another institution—scholarships for first-generation students and women in non-traditional majors and clubs and activities available.
LCCC has different financial support strategies, specifically HEERF Funds, to support homeless students. Elizabeth Rivera, Community Resources and Basic Needs Specialist at LCCC, stated that for “2021-2022, 99 students struggled with housing and food insecurities and 62 were served with HEERF funds—$150,400 awarded in 2021.”
She also helps students with SNAP referrals, Second Harvest Food Bank, and other resources.
To continue with the agenda of events, tomorrow the LCCC will also offer a series of informative sessions on the Latino community in higher education and training on Canva and Gradebook, among others.
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