Oscar Romero Institute (Title V)

Title V – The Oscar Romero Project

research festival

Students presenting at the fourth annual Title V Research Festival. Each summer, teams of students pair with faculty to research a wide variety of subjects ranging from the core curriculum to how area businesses could benefit from the use of social media. They present their initial findings at the Festival Research Festival and follow this up with presentations at professional conferences. The program is coordinated by Jennifer Ayala.

The Oscar Romero Project is designed to narrow the gaps in GPAs, retention and graduation rates, as well as improving college access for Latino and all generation 1.5 students (where English is not the first language at home). While these populations are targeted, the Institute will improve the educational environment for all students.

The Romero Project has five connected strategies to reach its goals: A state-of-the art English Language Learning/English as a Second Language Center to strengthen skills of new English speakers, including a language learning lab in the center; an ESL curriculum, and allowing greater access for ESL students and members of the Hudson County community who need to enhance their English skills.

We coordinate support tailored to the unique strengths and needs of Latino, low-income and minority students including training academic and peer mentors/tutors. Included here is a Summer Honors Research Program where students are paired with faculty to do research, an expansion of academic and social activities of the Latin American and Latin Studies Program to connect students to their campus, community, and the globe, while educating all students about Latino and Latin American issues.

We conduct faculty and staff development to support cultural competency and pedagogy with summer institutes and follow-up workshops to train faculty in expanding their curriculum as well as achieving a better understanding of our students. For faculty, training consists of: 1) increasing sensitivity to different communities and 2) where possible, creating a more inclusive curriculum.

We engage in community outreach involving local high schools through developing partnerships with local high schools, working with cohorts and their families beginning in ninth grade in both academics and understanding college access, developing new after-school curriculum, and providing summer college credits.

We make technology enhancements (including conductions of faculty developments and library resources improvements) to address students’ learning needs. The grant also allows the upgrading of two classrooms a year, with first priority given to rooms that will be used for ESL and Latin American/Latino Studies programs. A student laptop computer program is also offered to students who qualify based on income.

For information on Title V please contact Dr. David Surrey at dsurrey@saintpeters.edu.