May 1, 2017
Mesa College Becomes ‘Leading College of Equity and Excellence’
A progress report of the last two years, Part I
It has been just over two years since San Diego Mesa College made a commitment to
be the leading college of equity and excellence, and in such a short time period,
more than 60 programs on campus have been developed to progress toward this goal.
Since adopting this concept, Mesa has established an Office of Student Success and
Equity; hired Sade Burrell as a special populations counselor for former foster youth
(Fast Scholars) and immigrant (Borderless Scholar) students; created The Stand to
support students in need of food, toiletries and business attire; launched the Mesa
Moves campaign to ensure that students have modes of transportation to get to campus
In September 2014, Mesa received its first Title V Hispanic Serving Institution federal
grant for $2.62 million – later named the Proyecto Éxito by Professor Leticia Lopez
and Proyecto Activity Director Monica Romero. The purpose of the grant was to fund
efforts for both student success and student equity to help students to meet their
educational goals at equitable rates across various demographics, especially amongst
Having previously worked with the Center for Urban Education at University of Southern
California, Mesa President Dr. Pamela Luster had CUE come to Mesa at that time to
assess where the college was in terms of equity.
A collaborative group comprised of the CUE and Mesa administrators looked for “equity
barriers” and how the college could close equity gaps.
From that moment on, the idea of equity and excellence being married to one another
in the campus’ goals became an integral part of the strategic plan.
“Without one you can’t really have the other,” Luster said. “For me, it’s kind of
the perfect recipe, really. We want students to have an excellent experience in all
facets, but we want to provide that in a way that’s respectful of their experience
and worldview, what they bring to the table.”
A year of inquiry was then established to assess the equity needs on campus and how
to best serve the student population, said Vice President of Student Services Ashanti
Hands. Change agent groups of Mesa faculty and staff were created to look at documents,
walk in students’ shoes and make observations of the status of equity on campus.
Stay tuned for a continuation of this story and weekly articles highlighting students,
faculty and staff who are working toward the goal of making Mesa the Leading College
of Equity and Excellence. For more information about Student Success and Equity at
Mesa College, contact Dean Larry Maxey at (619) 388-5940, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: Equity and Excellence