Latino Education Collaborative Meets at HU

Teresita Aguilar,

Photo: Margaret McKinney/Highlands University
Teresita Aguilar, vice president of academic affairs, speaks at the ENLACE Statewide Collaborative annual meeting at Highlands June 5.


Las Vegas — The Engaging Latino Communities for Education (ENLACE) Statewide Collaborative held its annual meeting June 4 — 5 at New Mexico Highlands University for a strategic planning and budget summit.

Teresita Aguilar, Highlands vice president for academic affairs, spoke at the meeting.

“ENLACE introduces pathways to higher education while reinforcing the existing values that students hold,” Aguilar said. “A lot of ENLACE’s programs are to educate families to demystify higher education, and include them in the journey.

“The children in these families become the bridge for understanding the formal education process and expectations. There’s a need for Highlands to strengthen its partnerships with organizations like ENLACE that are focused on educational attainment,” Aguilar said.

The mission of ENLACE is to increase retention and graduation, while smoothing transitions, from preschool through the college years.

Ron Martí­nez directs the Northeastern New Mexico division of ENLACE and is also the director of the Highlands University Ben Lujan Leadership and Public Policy Institute.

“ENLACE is the voice for underrepresented students and families in higher education, working in each layer of the educational pathway,” Martí­nez said. “We focus on student leadership.”

Lawrence Roybal is the ENLACE executive director and introduced Aguilar at the conference.

“Dr. Aguilar was an inspiration to me for many years when she was the dean of graduate studies at University of New Mexico,” Roybal said. “UNM is a better institution because of her vision and leadership. We commend Highlands for having the wisdom to bring her to the university.”

Aguilar assumed her responsibilities at Highlands in January.

ENLACE was established in 1999 through initial funding from the Kellogg Foundation as part of a national initiative to increase higher education attainment for Latino students.

In 2004, ENLACE secured funding from the New Mexico Legislature to operate five regionals sites throughout the state. The legislature continues to fund ENLACE.