Academic Senate Champions Project to Uplift Latinx Students

New programs will enhance the experiences of Latinx and first-generation college students.


Graphic by Jaylen Minnich/SAC Media

On Thursday, May 6, 2021, the Mt. SAC Academic Senate held their regularly scheduled meeting via Zoom where they were presented with the progression of the newly achieved Title V grant. This title awards Mt. SAC as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and allots funds to develop educational activities, facilities and services for Hispanic students.

Mt. SAC’s proposed project is titled: Creating An Equity-Minded Campus Culture to Improve Student Outcomes. The project has seven goals: support faculty in exploration of new research and teaching models that enhance student learning, improve educational outcomes for students from diverse backgrounds, increase students’ financial literacy, include awareness of financial aid options, financial planning, debt management and improve campus-wide cultural competence and cross-cultural dialogue.

The proposal received a positive reaction and active support from the participants and Academic Senate.

Diana Felix, Faculty Coordinator of Title V Student Development, introduced the program and the importance it has at Mt. SAC.

“Mt. San Antonio College is the largest of California’s 115 community colleges, with a total student enrollment of 29,346 in Fall 2018,” she said. “More than half—63.6%of its students—are Hispanic /Latinx, and approximately 51% are first-generation college students.“

“The first thing I did when I got appointed to this position last fall of 2020, was look at what the grant was calling for us to do,” she said. “And it’s really asking us to do these three things:
create projects and activities that are culturally responsive, promote personal development and leadership skills and then ensure students’ voices are heard.”

She further explained the development of her student-based team that’s comprised of candidates from many of the campus’s different cultural clubs and organizations.

The team has already begun using the grant to cultivate several projects for the Hispanic community. These include the Latinx Participatory Action Research, Latinx Graduation Celebration on June 5, Latinx Professional Development Institute (LPDI) for students, First-Generation College Students’ Resource Guide, Student-Led Podcast Series “El Pulso” De Mt. SAC and the Student-Led Equity Conference in March 2022.

“This participatory action research is really looking at how students construct and enact a Hispanic Serving Institution identity, an organizational identity, so we are working really closely in collaboration with Dr. Gina Garcia,” Felix said, “she is one of the leading national scholars in doing the work and knowing how we truly serve our students at these Hispanic-Serving Institutions.””We are in collaboration with her along with some of her doctoral students and then one from Claremont. And our students meet with this team weekly,” Felix added.

The senators gave their compliments to the program. Sara Mestas, a senator at large, said, “Diana has the best ambassadors and they are an awesome team!”

Chisa Uyeki, President of the Academic Senate, said, “That’s really fun and exciting and having the student input.”

For any questions about the Title V grant or the team’s goals and objectives, you may refer to the Title V Grant page or contact Diana Felix.