Dear campus community,
I continue to relish the opportunities that having so many people back on campus affords. While I resisted the temptation to join students on the inflatable obstacle course that took over the Quad last week, I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with many of the hundreds who gathered to enjoy food, fun and learn more student leadership and the resources offered by our hosts, Associated Students. It was an incredible crowd. I was struck again by the diversity of our students and was reminded why San Francisco State is regularly heralded for its diversity.
I remain mindful that diversity is a gift and with it comes the responsibility to ensure that all feel welcome, find space for their own development, and succeed here. As a recent update from the Division of Equity and Community Inclusion noted, we are engaged in a lot of work across many areas to achieve this. Today I write to share information about one of these initiatives, our work with Excelencia in Education to become a model institution for Latinx student success.
The Latinx student population at SF State has grown dramatically in the last decade. In 2010, 18% of our students identified as Latinx, today almost 37% do—more than double. It is wonderful to see the number of Latinx students attending SF State begin to near their representation in the general population (40.2% of Californians identified as Latinx in 2021). And it creates urgency around opportunities to bring greater intentionality to our work to better support Latinx students with the support of national partners. Great work in support of those students is already being done across campus, often by our Latinx staff and faculty – including the recent opening of our Latinx Student Center.
Launched in 2004, Excelencia in Education works with institutions to accelerate their Latinx student success work. They established the Seal of Excelencia, a certification process to help universities develop a comprehensive institutional strategy for serving Latinx students. This fall we launch that process. We have formed a university-wide workgroup with membership from across all divisions and with the full support of University leadership, to facilitate the work of aligning data and practice. Be on the lookout for opportunities to participate in this important work. As with all our work to support particular groups of students, this initiative will strengthen our ability to serve all students and support faculty and staff in their work to that end.
I share this with you as we celebrate Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month. I encourage you to keep an eye out for events hosted by our new Latinx Student Center and for opportunities to participate in and contribute to our work to develop an intentional framework for supporting Latinx student success and celebrating our campus Latinx community!
Lynn Mahoney, Ph.D.