Imagery of Regent people and campus

Virginia College Leadership Discuss Latino Education

By Amanda Morad | October 17, 2012

Regent president, Dr. Carlos Campo, at the President's Summit

Closing out the celebrations honoring Hispanic Heritage Month, Regent University welcomed the Virginia Latino Higher Education Network (VALHEN) to campus Oct. 11-12 for their fourth annual Encuentro: "Latinos in the Arts and Sciences: Past, Present and Future."

On Thursday, Oct. 11, leaders from some of Virginia's top institutions for higher learning met for a summit to discuss issues of success for Latino students. The summit served to prompt local institutions to evaluate their approach to and initiatives for Hispanic students while addressing what actions can be taken on a regional level to promote success across the state.

"Virginia is fortunate to have such rich educational opportunities for students of every cultural background in its many college and universities," said summit host and Regent president, Dr. Carlos Campo. "We congratulate VALHEN on another successful Encuentro and applaud this great organization for their outstanding work in helping Virginia's Latinos achieve their higher education goals that ultimately benefit our entire Commonwealth."

Presentations were given by Deborah Santiago, co-founder and vice president for policy and research at Excelencia in Education; and Dr. Gumecindo Salas, vice president of government relations for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

"The profile Hispanics are trying to combat is one of deficit," said Santiago. "We need to adopt an asset-based approach in order to meet the needs of these students. We rarely focus on who these students are and the strengths and needs of the population."

With the 15th largest Latino population in the country, Virginia has a responsibility to pay close attention to the burgeoning number of Latino youths and prepare seamless transitions between their high schools and institutions of higher learning, she explained.

A main concern for every school represented was finding the resources needed to place appropriate emphasis on this growing student group. "There are a variety of funding opportunities, but you have to have the good ideas and you have to be able to measure the results," said Salas. "We're going to have to learn to collaborate more because even as the Latino population grows at these institutions, the money Congress is willing to give will not."

Such collaboration between the represented schools was discussed as each leader expressed their commitment to serving Latino students better.

"If we start with the Latino population and put them into the larger context, we will serve all students well," Santiago concluded.

In attendance at the summit were Dr. Billy Greer, president of Virginia Wesleyan College; Dr. Alice McAdory, vice president of Student Success & Enrollment Management at Tidewater Community College; Dr. John Dever, president of Thomas Nelson Community College; Dr. Sandra DeLoatch, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Norfolk State University; Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond, director of service-learning & civic engagement at Norfolk State University; ReNeé Dunman, assistant vice president of the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity at Old Dominion University; Dr. Mirta Martin, dean of the Reginald F. Lewis School of Business at Virginia State University; and Dr. Maricel Quintana-Baker, president of VALHEN.

Dr. Marcela Chavan-Matviuk, director of Regent's Center for Latino Leadership and Dr. Sergio Matviuk, the university's executive director of Global Affairs, also represented Regent at the summit.

"Hosting the VALHEN Encuentro confirmed this university's commitment to serve individuals of all races, tribes, tongues and cultures," said Chavan-Matviuk. "For us, it was another way of serving and made evident that we lead by serving others and reaching out to them wherever they may be found: in academia, in churches or in schools. Having occasions like this enriches our identity and exposes us to many people as we welcome all students. After all, as we say it in Spanish, 'mi casa es su casa.'"

Encuentro also included sessions and panels on Latinos in business, technology, science and the arts, as well as a special concert by artist-in-residence Adlan Cruz.

Learn more about the Center for Latino Leadership.

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888

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