Championing Latinx Student Success: Cal State LA's Department of English Making Waves in Higher Education

September 13, 2023 By Iris Chu

In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, we take immense pride in celebrating the recognition of exceptional programs that are instrumental in advancing the success of our Latinx students. This accolade comes through the annual Examples of Excelencia review and selection process, a distinguished initiative undertaken by Excelencia in Education. It spotlights emerging programs that have demonstrated a positive impact on the educational journey of Latinx students and are poised for even greater growth. These initiatives, rightfully christened as "Programs to Watch," draw the attention of stakeholders ranging from educational institutions to practitioners, funders, and policymakers.

In the year 2023, Excelencia in Education has cast its spotlight on eight such Programs to Watch spanning four states. These programs are pivotal in enriching the educational experiences and outcomes of Latinx students by addressing a spectrum of academic, financial, and social needs. Among these distinguished institutions, California State University, Los Angeles stands tall as a pioneer in the academic arena. Cal State LA's College of Arts and Letters Department of English has reshaped the educational landscape for its English majors with a steadfast commitment to student success. By seamlessly integrating community-based projects and pre-professional settings into their degree requirements, the department empowers students to make meaningful contributions to their communities while becoming career-ready.

A survey conducted during the 2021-2022 academic year underscored the profound impact of the Department of English's Engaged English courses. Remarkably, 100% of surveyed students attested to the significant role these classes played in enhancing their ability to collaborate effectively, thereby facilitating positive change on campus and within the community. Equally noteworthy, 82% of students concurred that Engaged English classes were instrumental in fostering their understanding of individuals from diverse cultures, races, or ethnicities.

Engaged English Students Presenting in Hawaii
Cal State LA Engaged English Students Presenting in Hawaii

Of paramount significance is the fact that 71% of beneficiaries were of Latinx heritage, reaffirming the Department of English's steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion. With unwavering excellence as its guiding principle, Cal State LA's Department of English epitomizes how an institution can effectively nurture the personal, academic, and professional growth of its students.

As part of the esteemed Programs to Watch initiative, the Department of English at the College of arts and Letters stands as a beacon of transformative education. Through a comprehensive and inclusive learning environment, they equip students with skills that not only propel academic success but also cultivate cultural competence and community engagement. This well-deserved recognition from Excelencia in Education stands as a testament to the department's dedication to student advancement and the cultivation of future leaders.

To delve deeper into these commendable initiatives and explore the wider array of evidence-based programs dedicated to fostering success among Latinx students, we invite you to explore the Excelencia in Education website. The Programs to Watch initiative not only celebrates achievements but also inspires a collective commitment to equity and excellence in higher education.