The Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Program at Lehman College Recognized as 2015 Excelencia in Education’s Examples of Excelencia Finalist For Top National Programs at Increasing Latino College Success
The nationally prestigious educational advocacy organization, Excelencia in Education, recognized the Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Program at Lehman College as one of the country’s top twenty programs at increasing Latino success. SEEK was selected as a 2015 Examples of Excelencia Finalist in the Bachelor Level category of a national competition. Excelencia in Education used a multi-step, result-driven process and a committee of national experts to select from among 265 programs nominated from 30 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
The Excelencia in Education award ceremony was attended by elected officials and higher education leaders from across the nation. Lehman College’s SEEK Director, Dr. Annette Hernández, and Vice President and Associate Provost Reine Sarmiento represented the college at the September 22 ceremonies at the Washington D.C. Mayflower Hotel. This is the 10th year that Excelencia in Education has identified and recognized America’s best programs that demonstrate through data and evidence that they improve Latino college success.
TheSEEK program at Lehman College supports about 855 full-time undergraduates and enrolls 225 freshman each year; 73% are Latino. Over the last eight years, the Program implemented a number of strategies that they believe contributed to improved outcomes in retention, performance, graduation and other areas.
Examples include: from 2007 to 2012 there was a 21% increase (from 67% to 88%) in the first-year retention rate of SEEK Latino students and a 29% increase in second-year retention rates; the average cumulative GPA for entering cohorts from 2007-2013 rose from 2.46 to 2.97; SEEK’s six-year graduation rate for Latinos increased from 29% (cohort 2007) to 43% (cohort 2008). In another SEEK program initiative, Reaching into the Science Experience (RISE), SEEK students interested in STEM and health careers were provided with science-focused supplemental academic support services, including year-round science preparation workshops. RISE participants earned satisfactory grades in challenging science courses at a rate of 74% compared to a 41% satisfactory grade rate for students in the same science courses in previous cohorts who did not have RISE preparation.
Examples of Excelencia was presented in collaboration with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and sponsored by ACT, Comcast NBCUniversal, Telemundo, Univision, DeVry Education Group, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, the Edwin Gould Foundation, PG&E Corporation, and the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.
Complete descriptions of 2015 Examples of Excelencia programs, including metrics of their success, are available in the 2015 What Works for Latino Students in Higher Education Compendium.
According to the prominent non-profit organization, Examples of Excelencia was inspired by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s 1999 Convening of Latino Youth, a historic, first-ever White House gathering that resulted in the publication, “What Works for Latino Youth.”
To recognize this year’s anniversary, former secretary of state Clinton produced a special video tribute that premiered during the September 22 ceremony. “This program is near and dear to me.” says Clinton in the video message.