May 28, 2020
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By Malena Lopez
Staff Reporter

Over 60 percent percent of CSUDH students report as Hispanic/Latino, giving this campus the highest percentage in the California State University system. We also have the largest percentage, and number, of Black students in the CSU, around 14. 5 percent.

But do bigger numbers necessarily translate into expanded opportunities?

Apparently they do/

CSUDH leads the state in awarding both degrees and STEM teaching credentials to African American students at a public institution, and, according to a 2017 ranking, was 29th in the nation for the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanic students.

Most recently, in June, Hispanic Outlook on Education magazine ranked the communications department 19th in the country for the number of degrees awarded to Hispanic graduates. Out of 221 communication graduates, 100 were Hispanic. While 19th in total number, CSUDH’s percentage of Latinx graduates with degrees in communications was 50 percent, and only five schools awarded more degrees and had a higher percentage of those degrees given to Hispanics.

Dr. Mitch Avila, the dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, believes those numbers will grow even more.

   “I predict that in about five years, CSUDH will be ranked in the top-10, as there is still so much room for potential growth,” Avila said. “Roughly 65 percent of our students are Hispanic, so we want to create and obtain new resources for them.”

Serving a campus of diverse students and helping to ensure they have access to a college education, and opportunities to succeed is nothing new for CSUDH. It is one of the school’s primary missions, as the institutional information page on the college website states: “[to] serve a highly diverse population, and …establish policies, practices, and support that encourage the diversity of the University.

One thing helping that mission is its designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). To receive that federal designation, a college must have a student population that is at least 25 percent Hispanic. According to data published on the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, there are 523 total HSIs in 25 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as of 2017-2018.

In 2017, CSUDH was ranked 28th in the country by Hispanic Outlook on Education Magazine in the number of Hispanics receiving degrees. However, while the 1,655 degrees awarded to Hispanics was 28th, Hispanics received 55 percent of all degrees at CSUDH, which ranked 10th out of the top-100 schools. 

CSUDH, being an HSI, has an advantage in terms of earning grants and funding for the university and its students. 

“Federal funding can be very competitive and the university being an HSI [gives us] a leg up,” says Avila. 

Avila said the communications department is committed to reaching out to more Hispanic students, and part of that is hiring faculty members who specialize in Spanish-language journalism. Currently, there are only two Spanish-speaking journalism lecturers, Ana De La Serna, and Miriam Hernandez. The department has attempted to hire more but has come up short the past two times.

One reason for hiring additional Spanish-language journalism faculty would be to see a stand-alone Spanish-language newspaper at some point, Avila said.



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