In a bipartisan resolution, the U.S. Senate honored Hispanic-Serving Institutions and recognized National NHIs Week, September 14-20. Southwestern Adventist University far exceeds the minimum number of Hispanic students required to be an HSI (25%) with nearly half of our students identifying as Latino. The Senate Resolution (S.Res.703) acknowledged the achievements of the economic prosperity of the U.S. This was affirmed with the recent U.S. News College Rankings for the West region of the United States where Southwestern Adventist University ranked #2 in social mobility, meaning that SWAU does and excellent job enrolling and graduating students who are economically disadvantaged.
Earlier this month, I recieved an e-mail from Senator Cornyn's office notifying us that we were recipients of a five-year Title V grant, a grant to help Hispanic students. There were cheers around campus as I shared the good news. This that worked diligently on the proposal understood the impact of this award. This grant will indeed be a game changer. It is a substantial grant, providing close to $500,000/year for the next five years.
This grant will allow us to make systemic changes to the services we provide students through four significant components. The first component is developing a first-year experience for our freshman. We will now be able to train success coaches who will build relationships with incoming through mentoring sessions, socials, and workshops that are related to college success. The success will meet and document weekly interactions with their assigned students.
The second component is specialized advising that will build realtionships that will help optimize the often difficult path where students must choose specific sequences to complete their degrees in a timely way.
The third component is career readiness. A career center with a computer lab will be put in place. Career-related workshops will be designed to focus on developing job preparedness skills and strengthening soft skills. Two career fairs will occur every year to help students keep their eye on their professional goals.
The last component is a focus on internships. SWAU will create a centralized system to promote internships for all students. One of the main objectives in the new 2020-2023 Strategic Plan is to "Identify and align opportunities for students that lead to professional careers and acceptance to graduate school." The University will make every effort to provide opportunities where students from every major can have internships with buisnesses, schools, hospitals, etc.
As a result of receiving this grant and implementing these four components, the goal is simple: improve the lives of students by providing wrap-around services that complement their eduaction, encourage retention and increase graduation rates. We are most grateful for theses funds and what they will mean to our current and future students.
Southwestern Adventist University is proud to be a Hispanic-Serving Institution. The diversity represented on our campus enriches each student, staff, faculty, and administrator. As a proven leader in social mobility, our instituition wwill continue to help students who come from low to middle income households, who are the first in their family to attend college, who desire to improve their way of living, and value a distinctly Christian experience to obtain a top-notch education.