gabriela castaneda

A Message from Director of Latinx Achievement Gabriela Castaneda

Before becoming the director of Latinx achievement, I had been involved in many DEI activities at Chapman: Chapman’s Latinx Staff & Faculty Forum President, a participant in the LGBTQIA+ Staff and Faculty Forum, as a safe space trainer, supporting the creation of Black Staff and Faculty Forum, serving as a member of the First-Generation Programs Advisory Board, member of the People at Chapman Council, and others. So, when the position was posted for director of Latinx Achievement, I knew that this was what I had been preparing for.

So how do we plan to track Latinx achievement? We have a few metrics to help us understand our success and identify areas for improvement. First, we are working hard to obtain the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation. HSI designation is a Department of Education initiative that recognizes higher education institutions with an undergraduate and graduate enrollment of at least 25% Hispanic. Our Hispanic enrollment is around 18%, so we are on the right track. We will also look to continue to increase those students’ graduation rates. Post-graduation employment and career success are also markers of Latinx achievement, and we would also like to look at our graduates’ economic mobility once they leave Chapman. We will also focus on Latinx staff and faculty achievement by ensuring that they can receive support for upward career mobility and professional development.

But in addition to these metrics, we also want our Latinx community to thrive holistically. My dream is to see Chapman as a top private university where people want to come and never want to leave; for Latinx students, staff, and faculty to feel at home; for staff to have work/life balance and the ability to grow; and for faculty to have the ability to teach and research what they’re passionate about.

As a Latina, I see that people who look like me are thriving and continue to thrive here, and my job is to continue to find ways to help them make our campus a home away from home.