Austin Community College District (ACC) is one of nine institutions nationwide to earn recertification for the National Seal of Excelencia by Excelencia in Education for its ongoing work to support and serve Latino students.
ACC was first awarded the seal in 2019 as part of the inaugural cohort. Since then, the college has continued its work to provide the following:
Evidence of effectiveness and intentionality in institutional practices serving Latino students,
Positive momentum for Latino student progress in their data,
Dedication to transforming the institution into an environment where Latino students thrive, and
Strategies in leadership that clearly articulate institutional focus on advancing Latino student success.
"This recertification is an important distinction for us. It reflects the work we’re doing at ACC to better serve historically underrepresented students,” says Dr. Monique Umphrey, ACC provost/executive vice chancellor of Academic & Student Affairs. “We strive to do all our work with an equity-minded lens. That means we must be willing and prepared to think in new and different ways; to acknowledge the unique needs of every student. Our goal is to empower everyone to achieve their education and career goals. When our students succeed, we all benefit.”
“Excelencia in Education created the Seal of Excelencia to differentiate institutions that became Hispanic-Serving Institutions because of demography and geography from those that are Hispanic-Serving because of intentionality and impact,” says Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia. “The Seal provides a road map for all institutions, led by data, practice, and leadership, that does not end with the certification. It supports a path to intentionally making progress in serving Latino students.”
According to Excelencia in Education, the Seal of Excelencia was developed with colleges and universities over many years as a tool for institutional self-assessment. The Seal certification is valid for three years.
ACC DEDICATION TO LATINX STUDENTS
The Latinx/Hispanic student population is the fastest-growing demographic at ACC, making up almost 40% of the total student body in 2021. That means nearly 4 out of 10 ACC students are of Hispanic origin.
In 2012, the college was certified as a Hispanic Serving Institution, a federal designation indicating the college maintains 25 percent or greater full-time equivalent Hispanic enrollment.
In 2015, the college launched its Ascender program. The program is designed to combine culturally relevant teaching techniques along with support services to accelerate student success. Ascender students achieved a 92 percent English course success rate, more than 20 percent higher than non-Ascender students.
In July, ACC was recognized by Excelencia in Education for its efforts to rethink Latino, and all, students beyond degree completion through “Beyond Completion: Post-completion Efforts at Hispanic-Serving Institution”.