HOLYOKE — Improving the academic success of Latino students will be the subject of a talk on Wednesday, May 23, by Carlos Santiago, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, featured speaker at an afternoon event focused on strengthening Holyoke Community College (HCC) as a Hispanic Serving Institution.
Santiago’s talk, “Latinx Students in Public Higher Education” — rescheduled twice before because of snowstorms — will begin just before 3 p.m. in HCC’s Leslie Phillips Theater, followed by a question-and-answer session.
That talk will be introduced at 2 p.m. by a faculty and staff panel discussion concentrating on HCC’s future as a Hispanic Serving Institution, or HSI. On the panel will be HCC Spanish professors Raúl Gutiérrez and Mónica Torregrosa; Myriam Quiñones, coordinator of HCC’s Multicultural Academic Services program; and Michele Snizek, HCC director of Retention and Student Success.
“Our goal is to develop a common understanding of our Hispanic Serving Institution designation and collectively form a vision of HCC as an effective HSI,” said HCC President Christina Royal.
‘Hispanic Serving Institution’ is a federal designation for colleges and universities where more than 25% of the student population is Hispanic. HCC received status as an HSI in 2017. As an HSI, HCC is now eligible for federal grants that can be used to improve services and programs that benefit all students.
The HSI event is part of HCC’s year-long strategic planning initiative. Earlier in the day, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., HCC will be holding a “Future Walk” celebration in the hallways and theater lobby in the Fine & Performing Arts building. In addition to music and refreshments, HCC will unveil its new strategic plan — including mission, vision, and values statements and a timeline showing how the plan was developed — and solicit feedback.
A reception in the theater lobby will follow Santiago’s talk. All events are free and open to the public.