What an amazing week of collaboration and practical application. Although small in size, our group was great in dedication. Our nine attendees were faithfully present and engaged all week, often staying later than the institute was scheduled for in order to further collaborate, share ideas, and discuss what they learned each day.
CRI week was kicked off with Dr. Tanis Starck, Director, Office of Intercultural Relations San Diego State University. Dr. Starck jump started discussions on diversity, cultural proficiency, and equity. She brings with her an inspiring background, having been displaced by Hurricane Katrina, she and her family relocated to San Diego with nothing. Beginning as a an Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Centers for Student Involvement at San Diego State University, Dr. Starck discovered a need among students to be more culturally competent and aware. Developing more structured programming for the students led to her promotion to a new department, the Office of Intercultural Relations.
The week also included guest speaker and presenter Dr. Gina Garcia, Assistant professor in the Department of Administrative and Policy Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Explore some of her publications to see her commitment to diversity and equity within higher education. Her research interests emphasize the organizational culture and identity of Hispanic Serving Institutions and the retention, success, and identity development of Latina/o college students. Her presentation for CRI delved into what it really means to be an HSI campus.
The week concluded with Daniel Mendoza, Adjunct Counselor at San Diego City and Cuyamaca Colleges. Through his testimonial he was able to share about his experience in the community college system and how culture played a role in his education. He addresses head on the struggles for the Mexican American population to pursue higher education in America, particularly as first generation students. Using his personal and professional experience, Dany spoke about the benefits of a network and a mentor in order to gain a sense of belonging and receive the guidance and support that was needed. Dany explains that he found these things through the Puente Project, which played a significant role in his achievements. This really drove home the importance of our efforts to develop programs and redesign our courses to further engage students and support their success. See the full 2018 CRI Agenda.