HSI Grant Funds Education Program

HSU awarded $2.7 million grant for retention and success of Hispanic soon-to-be teachers

Often times in a classroom filled with Hispanic and Latinx students they’re missing teachers with similar backgrounds and experiences who can understand and push them to success.

But Humboldt State University is improving education preparation programs to increase the scant number of future Hispanic educators.

On Sept. 28, HSU was awarded a $2.7 million grant from the Department of Education’s Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (DHSI) program. The goal is to encourage and support Hispanic and Latinx pursuing teaching professions.

“The purpose of the grant award is to further the commitment that HSU has to support the success of Hispanic and low-income students,” Juan Ruiz, program coordinator of Promotoras Critical Scholars HSI Grant, said.

New programs for soon-to-be teachers

This DHSI grant is designated to help Latinx students studying to become teachers over the next five years.

Ruiz said that they are working on creating a freshman learning community program for the upcoming fall semester.

“The goal of our grant is to improve the preparation, support and retention of Hispanic students interested in pursuing careers in teaching,” Ruiz said.

This learning community is designed for 25 students to facilitate the transition from home to HSU and give them a sense of belonging while connecting them to the resources offered on and off campus.

After they launch the freshman learning community program, a junior-level learning community of students who are in single-subject teaching majors will be created as well.

Through the grant, a professional learning community, for faculty who will be teaching those courses, will come together to discuss how to approach these aspects through a specialized curriculum.

“One of the things that we are working on is the curriculum in the class. To develop a curriculum that is culturally responsive to the assets that Hispanic students like myself when I was a student here, to the assets that these students possess,” Ruiz said.

Who wrote the grant?

The grant was written by School of Education professor Mary Dingle, Kinesiology & Recreations Administration Professor Chris Hopper and Erika Wright of HSU’s Sponsored Programs Foundation.

“I think my first love is teaching and I really want more students to get excited about teaching. So I think that would be the main accomplishment, [to provide] opportunities that would allow students to explore and discover the joy of teaching,” Dingle said.

Along with writing the grant, Dingle is also the principal investigator of the Promotoras Scholars Grant and wants to support what is already happening at HSU such as the Latinx Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE) activities, mentors, and the Center for Teaching and Professional Development.

LCAE activities

Fernando Paz, coordinator of the LCAE, shared how they will collaborate with the grant by programming activities and events that will benefit Latinx students and enhance their academic performance.   

Some of the activities include ateneo workshops, used in Latin American nations, and the

Promotorx Model. Ateneos are open spaces for discussions in which diverse issues are touched upon through didactic interactions and group coexistence, while promoting and sharing different ideas to resolve them. A Promotoras Critical Scholars program will also be created to provide mentors for the learning communities.

Though there are several projects and programs that are still in the planning, Paz hopes that the retention of Latinx students increases as part of their success.

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