Boston College program receives national recognition for advancing equity for Latinos

Hugo Balta

Excelencia in Education recognized four evidence-based programs from across the country as the 2020 Examples of Excelencia. Among the honorees was the Latinx Leadership Initiative (LLI) at Boston College School of Social Work (Chestnut Hill, MA).

LLI was acknowledged by Excelencia with the Graduate Level. LLI trains and supports Latino, bilingual MSW, and Ph.D. students to transform how the social work profession works with Latinx communities in the United States. The Initiative has a network of 148 Latino alumni across 23 states that support current students as advisors and mentors. Of program graduates, 100% have secured full-time positions and many are now in leadership positions informing practice and serving their community.

LLI’s mission is to develop social work leaders equipped to work with the Latinx community on sustainable solutions for complex problems. Some 130 MSW students and two doctoral students have graduated from the program since 2013.

Other higher education programs honored by Excelencia are:

  • Associate Level: Mi Casa Es Su Casa at Lone Star College-North Harris (Houston, TX)
  • Baccalaureate Level: Arizona’s Science, Engineering and Math Scholars (ASEMS) Program at the University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)
  • Community-Based Organization Level: Scholar Program at Generation Hope (Washington, DC)
Seal of Excelencia certification in 2020

The 2020 Examples were announced during the organization’s annual Celebración de Excelencia, which was held virtually for the first time. Excelencia received 112 program submissions this year representing 24 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. The four Examples and 16 finalists are now featured on Excelencia’s website in the Growing What Works Database.

“Identifying and advancing what works is central to Excelencia’s tactical plan to accelerate Latino student success,” said Deborah Santiago, CEO of Excelencia in Education. “We look to these evidence-based practices and the leaders working directly with students and community as exemplars of what others can do to ensure our students are served well.”

“By promoting what works for Latino students in higher education, Excelencia increases national awareness of efforts effectively engaging the growing Latino student population,” shared Sarita Brown, President of Excelencia in Education. “We are relentless, as are these programs, in highlighting the benefits to institutions and this country of intentionally serving Latino and other post-traditional students.”

In the midst of a global pandemic and continuing epidemic of systemic inequities in higher education, it was paramount for Excelencia to remain resolute in identifying programs at the forefront of advancing equity for Latino students. Examples of Excelencia was created in 2005 and today still is the only national initiative to recognize and promote evidence-based practices accelerating Latino student success in higher education. These evidence-based programs at the institution and community level are national exemplars of what works for Latino students.