BY VALERIE ORLEANS
From Dateline (October 28, 2004)
Department of Education Grant Awarded to Enhance Programs for Hispanics at Cal State Fullerton
Cal State Fullerton has been awarded $433,910 in first-year
funding from the U.S. Department of Education as part of a five-year
$2.3 million grant to enhance programs for Hispanic students, particularly
in math-based programs.
“Of course, when we’re looking at program
development or enhancing teaching methods for Latinos, all students
benefit,” said Donald S. Castro, special assistant to Cal
State Fullerton President Milton A. Gordon. Castro is overseeing
the grant project.
“We have always prided ourselves on the programs
we have at Cal State Fullerton to help not only our Hispanic students
but younger Hispanic students, as well. By working with high schools
and the community, we are able to extend our reach. This grant will
enable us to do even more.”
The grant effort has four components: conducting
a needs assessment of local Latino communities, improving math instruction
for Hispanic students, tracking Latino freshmen who enter math-based
campus programs in 2004 and subsequent years for the life of the
grant, and providing Hispanic students with programs and services
to enhance success and the development of leadership skills.
“We want to look at Hispanic populations in
Orange County and see what they think of the university,”
Castro explained. “We want to raise awareness of Cal State
Fullerton and promote a more positive image. Right now, Latinos
are aware of us in a general sense, but we want to focus on intentionally
reaching out to them.
“Our second component centers on math education.
We already have some wonderful programs in the Math Department,
such as the Project MISS program that provides summer programs in
algebra and precalculus for 10th- and 11th-grade girls,” Castro
noted. “Funding from this Department of Education grant will
enable the university to keep the momentum going and expand on it.
We’re hoping to identify techniques and methods to enhance
the learning experience for Hispanics, particularly Hispanic women,
and encourage them to consider math or math-based programs, such
as engineering or some of the sciences.”
As part of the math education component, university
professors will mentor other faculty members.
“Some of our faculty members are already experts
in reaching their Latino students,” said Castro. “We’d
like to showcase their expertise so others can adapt some of their
teaching methods. Our goal, of course, is to show Hispanic students
that math is not simply a ‘hurdle to be overcome’ but
can be a discipline that can enhance their lives.”
The third component of student tracking and mentoring
looks at Latino freshmen entering math-based campus programs. These
students will be tracked and given special mentoring and tutoring.
The goal is to cut by 30 percent the attrition rate of Hispanic
students over the long term.
The fourth component is providing programs to develop
student success and leadership. Grant funds will be used to develop
and offer special workshops to improve leadership and coping skills
and to encourage Hispanic students to pursue graduate studies, careers
in math-based fields and assume leadership positions within their
“Frankly, we already provide some of the services
and programs. In fact, I’m sure that was part of the reason
that we were reviewed so favorably,” said Castro. “We
have a track record of reaching out to Latino students, so this
funding will allow us to extend our reach.”
The U.S. Department of Education Title V grant was
awarded from a pool of federal funds available to universities and
colleges identified as Hispanic-serving institutions.
One-fourth of the 32,744 students enrolled at Cal
State Fullerton are Hispanic, and the university is ranked sixth
in the nation by Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education for the number
of bachelor’s degrees awarded each year to Hispanics.
Donald S. Castro at 657-278-3231 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Valerie Orleans, Public Affairs, 657-278-4540 or email@example.com