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NOVA’s Pathway to the Baccalaureate honored as a 2016 Example of Excelencia

Pathway Award

The Pathway to the Baccalaureate program of Northern Virginia Community College was a recipient of the 2016 Examples of Excelencia Award at the Associate Level. NOVA President Scott Ralls accepted the award given by Excelencia in Education at a ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 21, in the Grand Ballroom of the Washington Court Hotel in Northwest D.C. Kerin Hilker-Balkissoon, executive director of NOVA’s Pathway program was in attendance; as well as Monica Gomez, Pathway transition counselor and Maria Nieto, MEC community outreach specialist. The event celebrated the work of the awardees as well as all those who work to increase access and student success for Hispanics and other underrepresented groups.

“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 Pathways 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 Pathway. I’d like thank Kerin Hilker our director, and our great staff who every day shepherd our students. And I want to acknowledge our great K-16 partners and our great senior institutional partners, particularly George Mason University, who helps makes this all possible.”

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.  NOVA’s Pathway to the Baccalaureate was selected from among 190 programs from 33 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

The Baccalaureate Level award went to the Bachelor of Social Work program at St. Augustine College, Chicago; the Graduate Level to EPOCHS: Enhancing Postbaccalaureate Opportunities at CSUF for Hispanic Students, California State University, Fullerton; and the Community-Based Organization to Barrio Logan College Institute, San Diego.

Excelencia in Education, the non-profit that conceived and runs this national initiative, honored NOVA’s Pathway to the Baccalaureate program as America’s top program for increasing achievement for Latino students seeking associate degrees.

NOVA’s Pathway to the Baccalaureate is a consortium of ten educational institutions in Northern Virginia – K-12 public school systems, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and George Mason University – who have joined forces 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, through NOVA, to George Mason or another university. 45 percent of the program’s students are Latino. 97 percent graduate from high school on time and 88 percent successfully transitioned into post-secondary education. 98 percent of Pathway students earned transferable college credit in the first year, and 82 percent complete a baccalaureate degree within three years of transferring from NOVA to a four-year school. Pathway has emerged as an award-winning program model that has demonstrated remarkable outcomes in college readiness, access, success and completion.

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.

Excelencia in Education uses a multi-step, results-driven process and a committee of national experts to identify four Examples of Excelencia each year.  One Example is chosen in each of the four categories: associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and community-based organization.  Additionally, 16 programs were recognized as Finalists.  Profiles of the selected programs are published in the 2016 edition of “What Works for Latino Student Success in Higher Education” and added to the Growing What Works Database, America’s largest database to provide tactical information about how to accelerate Latino degree completion.

“Every one of these programs is effective in accelerating Latino student success, and we’re pleased to recognize their current and continued efforts,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education.  “By celebrating these top programs, Examples of Excelencia is building momentum to use practices that work for Latino students and help colleges and universities develop America’s future workforce and civic leadership.”

“We are committed to advancing proven practices that effectively serve Latino students,” says Deborah Santiago, COO and vice president of Excelencia in Education. “By focusing on asset-based approaches to serving Latino students, we will continue to inspire, inform and support the recognition -- and replication -- of the practices that serve Latino students and, thus, serve the country.”

Examples of Excelencia is presented in collaboration with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.  The 2016 sponsors are ACT, Univision, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, PG&E Corporation and Civitas Learning.


Media Contact:  Kathy Thompson | 703.764.0896 | kthompson@nvcc.edu



About Excelencia in Education

Excelencia in Education accelerates Latino student success in higher education by promoting Latino student achievement, conducting analysis to inform educational policies, and advancing institutional practices while collaborating with those committed and ready to meet the mission. Launched in 2004 in the nation’s capital, Excelencia is building a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s need for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leadership. For more information, visit: www.EdExcelencia.org.

Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.