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Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on efforts accelerating Latino student success in higher education, announced Friday that Texas State University has been certified with the prestigious Seal of Excelencia. Above, Texas State students walk through campus. Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

Texas State University receives prestigious Excelencia certification

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Texas State University is the latest institution to be nationally recognized for its service to Latino students.

Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on efforts accelerating Latino student success in higher education, announced Friday that Texas State University has been certified with the prestigious Seal of Excelencia in 2022 for demonstrating through data, evidence-based practices and leadership, how it is intentionally serving Latino students.

Texas State is one of only six institutions certified in 2022 and joins 30 colleges and universities nationally with the prestigious recognition.

Other newly certified Seal of Excelencia institutions include Mercy College, San Antonio College, University of Albany – State University of New York, University of California, Santa Cruz and University of Texas at Arlington.

This marks the fourth year Excelencia, a Latina- led organization founded to accelerate Latino student success in higher education, has offered the Seal of Excelencia — a national certification process supporting institutional transformation to serve Latino, and all, students.

“We are proud to join this list of trendsetting institutions that are combining innovation, data and intentionality to enroll, engage and graduate today’s students, including Latinos,” Texas State University President Dr. Kelly Damphousse said. “Our university reflects the diversity of Texas, and the seal is now one of our greatest points of pride that reaffirms our commitment to student success.”

“I want to thank Excelencia in Education for this great honor — and for creating a framework that recognizes the importance of Latino students for our nation’s future,” he added.

National rankings

Texas State has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2011.

In 2021, Hispanic Outlook magazine recognized Texas State as one of the Top 100 Colleges and Universities for Hispanics. Texas State was nationally ranked in seven categories, including 13th for total bachelor’s degrees granted to Hispanics, 28th for total Hispanic enrollment among four-year schools and 47th for total master´s degrees granted to Hispanics. Currently, 40.5% of the student body identifies as Hispanic/Latino.

Excelencia began seal certification as one of the organization’s transformational strategies to lead colleges and universities to go beyond simply enrolling Latino students and provide the means to use data and practice to instill intentionality in serving Latino students.

“Excelencia in Education created the Seal of Excelencia to differentiate institutions that became Hispanic-Serving Institutions because of demography and geography from those that are Hispanic-Serving because of intentionality and impact,” said Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia. “The seal provides a road map for all institutions, led by data, practice, and leadership, that does not end with the certification. It supports a path to intentionally making progress in serving Latino students.”

A ‘rigorous’ process

The Seal of Excelencia framework was developed with colleges and universities over many years as a tool for institutional self-assessment. The seal is not a ranking, nor an award. It is a rigorous verification process that culminates with certification.

The seal certification is valid for three years and institutions who are committed to a journey of transformation to intentionally serve their Latino students may choose to apply.

An institution earns the seal by demonstrating alignment across the three core areas of data, practice and leadership, which show:

• Evidence of effectiveness and intentionality in institutional practices serving Latino students.

• Positive momentum for Latino student progress in their data.

• Dedication to transforming the institution into an environment where Latino students thrive.

• Strategies in leadership that clearly articulate institutional focus on advancing Latino student success.

Excelencia Co-Founder and President Sarita Brown said her organization launched the seal in 2018 “because, after years of offering information and evidence-based tactics and strategies to support colleges and universities, we saw a slow response to the vibrant and growing Latino student population.”

“Excelencia has 18 years of experience and knowhow to support institutions and their leaders who are ready to transform to SERVE Latino students,” Brown said. “We recognized Excelencia could do more to support these institutions and that together we would move faster.”

Brown says her organization has been encouraged by the community response.

“We are animated by the positive and engaged responses to the Seal of Excelencia by many people and institutions,” she said. “The response to the Seal of Excelencia by colleges and universities is evidence of leadership within higher education and its capacity to meet this moment in our country. Excelencia continues making common cause with leaders from all sectors who recognize that supporting the success of today’s Latino college students grows our country’s talent and ensures America’s bright future.”

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