University receives national Seal of Excelencia

University receives national Seal of Excelencia

Texas A&M University-San Antonio is one of 10 exemplar institutions nationwide to earn the 2021 Seal of Excelencia from Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on efforts to accelerate Latino student success in higher education.

A&M-San Antonio, a Hispanic-Serving Institution, joins a prestigious group of 14 Seal-certified institutions in the country ensuring America’s future through their unwavering commitment to intentionally serving Latino students while serving all, according to Excelencia in Education. More than 75 percent of A&M-San Antonio students identify as Hispanic and nearly 73 percent are the first in their family to attend a university.

The announcement was made during a hybrid virtual/in-person gathering broadcasted nationally from The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. James Kvaal, the U.S. Department of Education Under Secretary, delivered remarks.

“These Seal certified institutions have been able to articulate and demonstrate they are modeling the behavior we need to see to accelerate Latino student success. They are having measurable impact in changing the face of higher education,” said Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education. “These 24 Seal-certified institutions are trendsetters. Combined, they enrolled 10 percent of all Latino college students and graduated 12 percent of all Latinos in the U.S. That is powerful and says a lot about their intentionality,” added Santiago.

“This recognition speaks to A&M-San Antonio’s intentionality in advancing academic support and services to provide opportunity for Latino students to pursue their academic dreams,” said Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson, president of A&M-San Antonio. “This certification also speaks to the university-wide effort demonstrated by an alignment across the three core areas of data, practice, and leadership,” said Teniente-Matson.

These efforts included providing evidence of effectiveness and intentionality in institutional practices serving Latino students, positive momentum for Latino student progress in their data, and dedication to transforming the institution into an environment where Latino students thrive as well as leadership strategies that clearly articulate institutional focus on advancing Latino student success. Of the thousands of colleges and universities across the country, the 135 presidents and chancellors of the 170 institutions in the organization’s network, Presidents for Latino Students Success, enroll one in four of all Latino students in higher education. These institutions account for one in three of all Latino graduates, according to Excelencia in Education.

Excelencia began Seal certification in 2019 as one of the organization’s transformational strategies to lead colleges and universities to go beyond simply enrolling Latino students. The Seal provides the means to use data and practice to instill intentionality in serving Latino students.

The 10 institutions earned Seal certification by demonstrating specific inclusive strategies, implementing programs with evidence of effectiveness, and registering results that showed they are intentionally serving Latino students amongst all of their students. For examples of how the institutions are intentionally SERVING their Latino and other post-traditional students, visit the Excelencia website. “Excelencia sees more institutions are striving to hold themselves accountable to intentionally SERVE Latino students with the Seal of Excelencia,” Brown said. “The institutions that earned it—as well as those striving to earn it—have told us that the Seal application process led to growth and institutional changes to better serve Latino students and all students. What they are accomplishing is the student success this country needs in order for the growing Latino population to be the educated workforce and engaged civic leaders our country needs now and, in the future,” Brown continued. “This is the reason we started the Seal of Excelencia in 2018. Now, it is here, and everyone can see the results happening in real time. This is a movement that is proving, unequivocally, it can be done.”