Skip to main content

News & Events

CMAS’ Academic Achievers Program Recognized for Increasing Student Success

Excelencia in Education spotlights Center for Mexican American Studies and others advancing Latino education

The Center for Mexican American Studies’ Academic Achievers Program has been recognized for its efforts to increase Latino student success at the University of Houston by Excelencia in Education.

The national nonprofit focused on Latino educational achievement honored CMAS and 14 other organizations as “2014 Examples of Excelencia” at its annual “Celebracion de Excelencia” ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“We are humbled by this national recognition and eager to continue the conversation of helping students achieve their academic dreams,” said Rebeca Trevino, program manager of the Academic Achievers Program.

Excelencia in Education is a data-driven initiative focused on identifying and recognizing programs and departments with evidenced-based practices that increase Latino student success in higher education, according to its website. Programs are categorized as community based, associate level, baccalaureate level and graduate. The UH honor is in the baccalaureate category.

The CMAS program will be included in the searchable database, “Growing What Works,” which is a resource for institutional leaders, funders, policymakers and others looking for programs that show evidence of effectiveness in accelerating Latino student success.

“The Center for Mexican American Studies has been very fortunate to have committed people who feel they are part of a larger movement to improve the educational circumstances of our community,” said Tatcho Mindiola, director of CMAS and associate professor of sociology. “We move forward together.”

The Academic Achievers Program was launched by CMAS in 1994 and is co-sponsored by the Office of the UH President. The program recruits underrepresented students who are the first in their families to attend college and whose circumstances put them at risk for dropping out of school.

AAP mentors work with students from when they enter middle school through college graduation. A rigorous schedule of tutoring, mandatory study halls, academic counseling, workshops and leadership training helps program participants increase their grade point averages and graduate at rates nearly twice that of UH Latino students who do not participate in the program.

“The value of a college education cannot be overstated,” Ms. Trevino said. “By modeling this philosophy in the personal attention we give our students, we place that goal within their reach.”

- By Marisa Ramirez