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Multicultural Network Program of the Month - January 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nikki Bartoloni
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Multicultural Network Program of the Month - January 2018
Hispanic College Institute (HCI): Office of Transition & Student Conduct
Fort Hays State University

Dr. Brett Bruner served as the HCI Director at Fort Hays State University since its inception in 2015. Summer 2016 saw the implementation of HCI at FHSU, bringing 82 rising high school juniors and seniors from across the states of Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma to the FHSU campus to spend 5 days and 4 nights engaging in the college experience with the ultimate goal to showcase to these students that they can and will attend an institution of postsecondary education.

The collaborative work to make a 5-day, 4-night experience for 82 rising high school juniors and seniors happen was truly a team effort. An executive steering committee met every other week for nearly one year to design the curriculum, recruit, select, and train FHSU small group student leaders, organize operations and logistics, develop marketing, promotional, and recruitment materials, speak to local organizations and high school counselors, cultivate and steward community donors, and integrate campus and community partnerships into the week’s schedule. Representation for this executive steering committee included a cross-section of staff members from the FHSU Division of Student Affairs. The commitment to HCI extended well beyond just the executive steering committee. Extended committee membership represented the commitment to supporting college-going Hispanic and Latino/a students through the HCI endeavor.

HCI at Fort Hays State University provided an incredible opportunity to partner with the entire campus community, including the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Business & Entrepreneurship; the College of Education; the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences; and the College of Science, Technology and Mathematics to engage Latino/a students in an opportunity to explore possibilities that, student participants initially described in their HCI pre-program surveys, as previously unimaginable.  Faculty and staff members volunteered their time throughout the program, including beyond normal business hours, to educate students about numerous opportunities through sessions including the following:

  • App Programming: Build your App!
  • Applying to College
  • Arduino Programming
  • Aqui Estamos
  • Chemistry of Cooking
  • Communicating Through Science
  • Financing College
  • Foundations for Success
  • Getting Involved When You Become a College Student
  • How to Build a Roller Coaster
  • Principles of Entrepreneurship
  • Public Speaking 101
  • Storm Chasing Science
  • UAVs, Drones, & You
  • Understanding & Using Social Media
  • Understanding the ACT

The beauty of the HCI program, even in its inaugural year, was the holistic support of the FHSU campus community in supporting the student participants throughout the program.  Over 100 faculty, staff, and community members (both locally and across the state) volunteered their time throughout the week, through judging preliminary and final student talent and Issues to Action competitions, sharing their stories at the Hispanic Stars roundtable discussions with student participants, and welcoming parents, family members, and siblings to the Closing Brunch & Ceremony on Day 5 of the program.  Twenty-two current FHSU undergraduate students volunteered their time throughout the week to mentor and a lead a small group of 8 students each through the familia component of the program.

Assessment of the program revealed so many strengths from the inaugural year of this new program!  Faculty members of the 30 academic departments identified that these student participants were the most engaged group of students that they had ever encountered, especially during the Major Resource Fair on the afternoon of Day 2 of the program.  Student participants were asking questions and meaningfully exploring various career options in each of the 30 academic departments represented!

Responses from the 82 student participants were perhaps most valuable and indicative of how participating in HCI influenced their college path.  Prior to arriving at HCI, only 69% of the student participants considered themselves likely to attend college.  However, after attending HCI, 86% of student participants considered themselves likely to attend college (the ultimate goal of HCI)!  In addition, students identified the three most important things they learned from the program included (in ranking order): 

  1. Self-confidence in their own strengths, talents, abilities, and goals
  2. Taking pride in being a Latino/a student with the goal of attending college
  3. The important role of family in the undergraduate college experience 

At an institution with high focus on shifting from a culture of student retention to a culture of student completion and achievement, the Hispanic College Institute has been invaluable in providing student assistance & outreach to incoming students, assisting in their personal and professional exploration of the college environment and possibilities that may have previously seem unimaginable (in their own words). The HCI was able to mobilize faculty, staff, and students from across campus, breaking down any previously established functional silos, to design and deliver an unparalleled student experiences for these 82 students from across 5 states. The Institute has already set a lasting impression on the focus and care of rising high school juniors and seniors. 

To learn more about the HCI, please visit the program's webpage or contact Brett Bruner

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