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UTEP Program Named an Example of Excelencia

The Model Institutions for Exellence Program
Photo courtesy of UTEP
The Model Institutions for Exellence Program
The Model Institutions for Excellence initiative at the University of Texas at El Paso has been named one of the 2006 winners of the Examples of Excelencia award for its efforts to boost Latino enrollment and graduation rates in higher education.

The initiative, which supports engineering, science and math students at UTEP, is being honored by Excelencia in Education, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that administers the awards program and works to accelerate higher education success of Latino students.

Fifteen semifinalists and two winners were chosen from among 42 nominees. The winning programs were announced at the Excelencia Symposium at the National College Access Network
annual conference in Orlando, Fla., today. Maricopa County Community Colleges’ Achieving a College Education also was announced as a winner.

The national award is part of an effort to identify, celebrate and promote programs that improve academic achievement of Latino students in higher education.

MIE began in 1995 with the support of a grant from the National Science Foundation and NASA. The initiative consists of three programs and two centers, and has helped increase grade point averages and graduation and retention rates of students in science and engineering disciplines.

MIE’s success is achieved due to its CircLES and ACES programs. CircLES helps freshmen sharpen their study skills in teams and prepare for tough college courses. ACES is a center that provides computers, tutoring and advising to engineering and science students. In addition to CircLES and ACES, students join other MIE programs, including REU, Research Experiences for Undergraduates, and Women in Science and Engineering.

“Improving Latino-student success in higher education is in the national interest,” said Sarita Brown, president and founder of Excelencia in Education. “While Latinos are the nation’s largest and fastest-growing minority group, Latino students lag behind other major racial and ethnic groups in educational attainment. Shining a spotlight on solutions that can help to correct this disparity is an academic and economic priority for our nation.”

Examples of Excelencia is supported by Sallie Mae Inc., UNIVISION and the Lumina Foundation.

For more information about MIE, visit For information about Excelencia in Education, visit

– Laura Cruz

Horizons Online News. Citing Internet Resources. [Online], September 27, 2006.