NOVA’s Pathway to the Baccalaureate was the recipient of the 2016 Examples of Excelencia Award at the associate level. President Scott Ralls accepted the award given by Excelencia in Education at a ceremony at the Washington Court Hotel on September 21. Kerin Hilker-Balkissoon, College and Career Pathways executive director, was in attendance as well as Monica Gomez, Pathway transition counselor, and Maria Nieto, Medical Education Campus high school and community outreach specialist. The event celebrated those who work to increase access and success for Hispanic students.
NOVA’s Pathway to the Baccalaureate was selected from among 190 programs from 33 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Excelencia in Education honored NOVA’s Pathway to the Baccalaureate program as America’s top program for increasing achievement for Latino students seeking associate degrees.
“We’re very proud that 31 percent of undergraduate Latinos in the Commonwealth of Virginia attend our institution,” Ralls said. “And that figure does not include the many who started in Pathway and have now gone on to other four-year institutions. I would also like to acknowledge my predecessor, Dr. Bob Templin, the champion in creating the Pathway program.”
Ralls also thanked Hilker and the great staff who shepherd NOVA students and the great K-16 partners and senior institutional partners, particularly George Mason University.
Forty-five percent of Pathway students are Latino; 97 percent graduate from high school on time and 88 percent successfully transition into postsecondary education. Eighty-two percent complete a baccalaureate degree within three years of transferring from NOVA’s Pathway program to a four-year university. Pathway has emerged as an award-winning program model that has demonstrated remarkable outcomes in college readiness, access, success and completion.
This year’s baccalaureate level award went to the Bachelor of Social Work program at St. Augustine College, Chicago; the graduate level to EPOCHS program at California State University, Fullerton; and the community-based organization level to Barrio Logan College Institute, San Diego.
NOVA’s Pathway to the Baccalaureate is a consortium of 10 educational institutions in Northern Virginia – K-12 public school systems, NOVA and George Mason University – who work together to provide a seamless web of support to selected students as they pursue a four-year college degree, beginning with the transition from high school to NOVA then George Mason or another university.
In its 11th year, the Examples of Excelencia Award is given to America’s top programs in colleges, universities and community-based organizations that increase academic achievement for Latino students at the associate, baccalaureate and graduate levels. Examples of Excelencia is the only national initiative to systematically identify, recognize and catalogue evidence-based programs that improve Latino success in higher education. Over the past decade, Examples of Excelencia has reviewed more than 1,300 program nominations and recognized over 150 programs across the nation.
Examples of Excelencia is presented in collaboration with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.