Cal Lutheran gets $6.5M in federal grants
Projects to increase Latino graduates and teachers

California Lutheran University has been awarded more than $6 million in federal grants to implement new programs designed to increase the number of Latinos and other underrepresented students who graduate from college and earn teaching credentials.

A $3.75 million Title V grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program will fund a joint project with Moorpark College to increase transfer, retention and degree-completion rates for students who are Latino, low-income or the first in their family to attend college.

Faculty from both colleges will work together to redesign courses to incorporate more active- and experiential-learning opportunities and content that is culturally relevant to students who are underrepresented in higher education. Up to 50 classes at each campus will be revamped. The colleges also will launch a transfer center and a cross-campus mentoring program and enhance advising and career development services. Leadership development activities for Latino males will be offered to increase the number who continue on past the first year of college. Events at Cal Lutheran will expose Moorpark College students to life on a university campus.

“This grant is all about student success,” said Cal Lutheran Provost Leanne Neilson. “It gives us an opportunity to work with Moorpark College to increase transfer rates and help Latina/o, and other, low-income students complete their bachelor’s degrees.”

“For years, Moorpark College and Cal Lutheran have collaborated to develop an educational pipeline serving the students of Ventura County,” said Moorpark College President Luis Sanchez. “We are proud to now build on that foundation by broadening our joint capacity to serve Hispanic students through the transformational power of a college education.”

With the other $2.7 million Title V grant, Cal Lutheran will address the shortage of Latino teachers. Nearly one out of four public school students are Latino, but Latinos make up less than 8 percent of teachers, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Cal Lutheran will create a pre-credential program for Latino students and others who want to become teachers, enhance undergraduate advising, and hire an outreach coordinator and math and writing specialists. An administrator will be hired to apply for grants to fund scholarships and enrichment activities for the students. Activities for kindergarten through 12th-grade students, their families, community college students, teachers and community members will be organized to stimulate interest in teaching.

“This project will address one of the most pressing needs in teacher education – diversification of the candidate pool,” said Michael R. Hillis, dean of Cal Lutheran’s Graduate School of Education.