Friends University, a long-time member of the Wichita Hispanic Chamber of Commerce became the first Wichita institution to be named "Emerging Hispanic Serving University". The designation is a recognition from the Department of Education, HACU, and others, of institutions of higher education that serve a larger percentage of Hispanic/Latina/Latino/Latinx students.
"Without anyone telling us how we need to act toward our public, there is a natural tendency to be service-minded on our campus. It is a beautiful thing to watch!" said Dr. Jerry Smartt, Director of Foreign Languages and current member of the Board of Directors of the Wichita Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), recognizes the schools in which 25% of their undergraduate enrollment identifies as Hispanic. The goal of the Hispanic-Serving efforts is for students and staff to think about how they both attract and retain/graduate Hispanic students. Once an institution is deemed a HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) by the Department of Education, there are competitive grant programs and opportunities for the university to seek funding support for these initiatives.
"What the HSI effort means to me is that we, collectively as a university, take a deep dive look at how we are doing (both at attracting and graduating) serving our Hispanic students. Then we are charged with making necessary changes to policy, programs, procedures, scholarships, personnel, or other key decisions to do better," said Preston Todd, Associate Academic Dean.
"When Friends University is more diverse, better serves our diverse student body, and makes adjustments by listening to students' experiences we become a better institution of higher education. This work is not easy, but it is absolutely critical. I believe Friends University is leading the way in these efforts and I am very excited about the many things that are yet to come" Todd concluded.