The Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) Pre-Graduate School Internship Program at The University of Texas at Austin has been named the top Example of Excelencia (example of excellence) at the graduate level by Excelencia in Education, an organization that works to accelerate success in higher education for Latino students.
The IE Pre-Graduate School Internship Program, part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, enables undergraduate students to work closely with a graduate student mentor and faculty supervisor to create an internship experience aimed at exploring post-baccalaureate opportunities in their field of study.
The IE Pre-Graduate School Internship Program is one initiative of the university's Intellectual Entrepreneurship Consortium, a collaboration of 11 colleges and schools whose objective is to educate "citizen-scholars. " The IE Consortium is directed by Professor Rick Cherwitz of the Department of Communication Studies.
Two other academic programs were named Examples of Excelencia: the Bilingual Nursing Fellows Program at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix (associate level), and the Bachelor of Architecture Program at Woodbury University in Burbank, Calif. (baccalaureate level).
"These programs are true examples of excellence and will provide a model for others to follow," said Sarita Brown, president and founder of Excelencia in Education. "They equip students with the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly demanding workplace and offer institutions and policymakers powerful ideas and strategies to tap this generation of Latino college-going students."
The IE Pre-Graduate School Internship Program strives to increase diversity in graduate education by bringing underrepresented minorities and first-generation college students into the graduate school pipeline. Latino students make up the largest group of interns in the program with more than half of them subsequently enrolling in graduate school.
More than 70 programs from across the nation were reviewed this year. In addition to the three programs being recognized as the 2008 Examples of Excelencia, 11 programs and departments were semifinalists and 14 others received an honorable mention.
Following the announcement of the Examples of Excelencia, this fall Excelencia in Education will release the 2008 edition of "What Works for Latino Students: Examples of Excelencia Compendium." The publication will describe how the 2008 recognized programs achieve results and will suggest ways their strategies may be adapted for use in other communities.