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CSU Pueblo Receives $3 Million Over Five Years from the U.S. Department of Education to Develop Unique and High Impact Programming for Student Success

Release Date: October 02, 2020

Haley Sue Robinson

Director of Communications/PIO

Marketing, Communications, Community Relations

(719) 549-2284

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Colorado State University Pueblo will receive $3 million over the next five years to develop an innovative grant program named LA GENTE, the Spanish word for “the people.” LA GENTE or Guided Enrollment for New and Transfer Education, will put into place innovative advising and support structures that are “high impact practices” designed to create enriching academic opportunities the foster success for CSU Pueblo’s diverse student population. The grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, as part of the Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions Grant Programs.

Derek Lopez, director of Hispanic Serving Institution Initiatives, and primary author of the grant, will serve as project director for all activities. Grant programming will include the development of meta-majors; proactive and continuous academic advising; co-curricular and co-requisite supports for developmental, gateway, and courses with high drop-fail-withdraw rates; first-year experience seminar with a financial literacy component; and work-based learning experiences for students with a job placement, according to Lopez.

“The university will partner with local and regional businesses to place students in paid internships, to increase their marketability and skill levels. This will project will allow CSU Pueblo to address systemic barriers to enrollment, retention, completion, and job placement for our students. The support structures put into place by this grant will improve academic success, college completion, and placement into meaningful careers,” Lopez said.

CSU Pueblo President Timothy Mottet believes the high impact programming is particularly significant for the students at CSU Pueblo. 

“The grant activities emphasize the urgency and rising need to support students as they progress toward their career goals, especially for our first generation, minority students in Colorado,” said Mottet. “CSU Pueblo is the ‘people’s university,’ and as such, we are committed to providing a high-quality education that leads to a meaningful career. I am proud of the work LA GENTE will allow us to do to improve academic success and entry into the workplace,” said Mottet.

La GENTE programming will provide personal contact with students from initial enrollment through graduation. Faculty will help students navigate the academic program components, while career coaches will focus on job internships for the students and connecting them to other resources on CSU Pueblo’s campus.

According to Donna Souder Hodge, chief strategy officer for CSU Pueblo and grant co-author, “La GENTE was designed to extend the reach of the campus wide Vision 2028.” Souder Hodge mentioned the importance of ongoing partnerships and support from the Department of Education, the state of Colorado, the CSU System, and the greater Pueblo community. 

“Our ability to successfully leverage all our support systems in order to provide real time, full-scope services for all students – in a global pandemic – is just one of the many things that differentiates CSU Pueblo as a higher education leader,” said Souder Hodge.

To find out more about LA GENTE, contact Derek Lopez at 719-549-2535, or via email at Derek.lopez@csupueblo.edu.

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