NAU ranked 53rd in degrees for hispanics
By: Delainey Noe
NAU is moving up in the ranks, scoring 53rd in the country for awarding the most bachelors degrees to Hispanics in The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine. It has made a steady climb since 2003, moving up 16 places in the ranking in eight years.
David Camacho, the Associate vice president for diversity, said NAU uses the same strategies to retain all students at the university.
“Like with all students, we engage our Latino students in a way to retain them,” Camacho said. “We know that joining student organizations is an important indicator of retention. We work with all of our students in our residence halls. We have student support services for academic efficiency for all of our students.”
Camacho said he thinks the rise in more Hispanic graduates could be related to both NAU developing a good reputation and more students doing research on universities and colleges before they decide to enroll.
“I think in part it is just the number of students we are attracting,” Camacho said. “I’d like to think that it is the reputation of NAU as well. I do know students like to study the university that they want to attend and you know the same way they look for their major and we have the curriculum to serve their academic interests. I think they look to see how well we do with retention and graduation of our students.”
Many of the top 100 colleges listed by the magazine are located in U.S. Mexico border states. Justin Fuentes, a junior pre-med major, said that he wasn’t surprised that NAU ranked high on the charts because Arizona has a high Hispanic population in general.
“We are closer to the border,” Fuentes said. “On a demographic degree like going towards a certain demographic if you go down south to where a lot of black people are there are more black people in university with undergraduate programs.”
Fuentes said he believes that, due to the high population of Hispanic culture in the area and the opportunities that are available, cultural diversity in universities is being turned into a stereotype thing and said it seems like universities pay more attention to try to be more diverse and it just seems more racist.
Camacho said he is proud of NAU’s achievements, but believes the school excels in retaining students and it’s excellent reputation by working with all the students equally.
“Clearly, NAU is proud of it’s record,” Camacho said. “We do very, very well with our Native American students as well but, again, I really do think it is an overall strategy of trying to serve all students that we are responsible for. We are student-centered and just our efforts to work with all our students.”