Campus: CSU Fullerton -- October 29, 2004
Department of Education Grant Awarded to Enhance Programs for
Hispanics at Cal State Fullerton
Cal State Fullerton has been awarded $433,910 in first-year funding from the
U.S. Department of Education as part of a five-year $2.3 million grant to enhance
programs for Hispanic students, particularly in math-based programs.
"Of course, when we're looking at program development or enhancing teaching
methods for Latinos, all students benefit," said Donald S. Castro, special
assistant to Cal State Fullerton President Milton A. Gordon. Castro is overseeing
the grant project.
"We have always prided ourselves on the programs we have at Cal State Fullerton to
help not only our Hispanic students but younger Hispanic students, as well. By
working with high schools and the community, we are able to extend our reach. This
grant will enable us to do even more."
The grant effort has four components: conducting a needs assessment of local Latino
communities, improving math instruction for Hispanic students, tracking Latino
freshmen who enter math-based campus programs in 2004 and subsequent years for the
life of the grant, and providing Hispanic students with programs and services to
enhance success and the development of leadership skills.
"We want to look at Hispanic populations in Orange County and see what they think
of the university," Castro explained. "We want to raise awareness of Cal State
Fullerton and promote a more positive image. Right now, Latinos are aware of us
in a general sense, but we want to focus on intentionally reaching out to them.
"Our second component centers on math education. We already have some wonderful
programs in the Math Department, such as the Project MISS program that provides
summer programs in algebra and precalculus for 10th- and 11th-grade girls," Castro
noted. "Funding from this Department of Education grant will enable the university
to keep the momentum going and expand on it. We're hoping to identify techniques
and methods to enhance the learning experience for Hispanics, particularly Hispanic
women, and encourage them to consider math or math-based programs, such as
engineering or some of the sciences."
As part of the math education component, university professors will mentor other
"Some of our faculty members are already experts in reaching their Latino students,"
said Castro. "We'd like to showcase their expertise so others can adapt some of
their teaching methods. Our goal, of course, is to show Hispanic students that
math is not simply a 'hurdle to be overcome' but can be a discipline that can
enhance their lives."
The third component of student tracking and mentoring looks at Latino freshmen
entering math-based campus programs. These students will be tracked and given
special mentoring and tutoring. The goal is to cut by 30 percent the attrition
rate of Hispanic students over the long term.
The fourth component is providing programs to develop student success and
leadership. Grant funds will be used to develop and offer special workshops to
improve leadership and coping skills and to encourage Hispanic students to pursue
graduate studies, careers in math-based fields and assume leadership positions
within their communities.
"Frankly, we already provide some of the services and programs. In fact, I'm sure
that was part of the reason that we were reviewed so favorably," said Castro.
"We have a track record of reaching out to Latino students, so this funding will
allow us to extend our reach."
The U.S. Department of Education Title V grant was awarded from a pool of federal
funds available to universities and colleges identified as Hispanic-serving
One-fourth of the 32,744 students enrolled at Cal State Fullerton are Hispanic,
and the university is ranked sixth in the nation by Hispanic Outlook in Higher
Education for the number of bachelor's degrees awarded each year to Hispanics.
Media Contacts: Donald S. Castro at (714) 278-3231 or
Public Affairs, (714) 278-4540 or