Latino Initiative

UVU is committed To improving services and informing policy decisions concerning access to higher education for the latino population.

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  • Latino Students
  • Latino Dancers
  • Latino Dancers
  • Latino Students
  • UVU Latino Initiative

The UVU Latino Initiative aims to increase educational and career opportunities for Latino students and their families in our local communities. By networking with community partners, engaging parents and students along the PK-16 educational pathway, and providing culturally sensitive and relevant educational information, UVU is committed to improving services and informing policy decisions concerning access to higher education for the Latino population.

Latino Initiative Structure

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) Hispanic Student Success Report (2007) revealed six common characteristics of institutions that showed tremendous success in various measurements of Latino student achievement. Their findings suggest that institutions should:

Areas of Impact

  1. Direct student services to help Latino students along PK-16 educational pathway.
  2. Parent, family and community engagement.
  3. Educational policy and institutional practice changes that govern how Latino students experience education.

These three areas of impact have been chosen based on a myriad of sources: research concerning various issues related to Latino student success; successful Latino community partnership programs in our state and throughout the nation; feedback from parents, students and community partners about the role of higher education institutions and Latino outreach efforts; and input from faculty and staff who have offered their expertise in Latino student success.

*  “Latino” is used when referring to individuals or groups who self-identify as: Latin, Hispanic, Chicana, Mexican-American, Latin American or any other specific identifier according to country of origin in Latin America (e.g. Colombian, Mexican, Peruvian, etc.)

Objectives, Engagement Goals, K-16 Initiatives

Objective 1

Increase academic and leadership opportunities for Latino youth to prepare for and succeed in the K-16 educational pathway.

Academic Excellence, Leadership & Mentoring

  • Unidos Saldremos Adelante Leadership Program
  • UVU Latino Graduate Numbers
  • Paso-a-Paso Partnership
  • Concurrent Enrollment Latino Emphasis
Objective 2

Expand the economic impact of the Latino community by preparing students to be contributors in a variety of careers.

Life & Career Development

  • Latino Scientists of Tomorrow (LST)
  • Wasatch Campus Academy
Objective 3

Enhance services that validate and celebrate the Latino student, family, community and cultural experiences.

Student, Family, Culture, & Community Enrichment

  • Celebración Latinoamericana
  • Mexican Consulate Partnership
  • Latino Parent Nights
  • Cultural Envoy Leadership Program
  • ESL Program

Concurrent Enrollment Emphasis

Concurrent Enrollment at Utah Valley University has been providing the opportunity for high school students to get an early start on their college education since 1988. Using UVU-approved high school instructors and verified college curriculum, qualified students are able to take advantages of this state-sponsored, tuition-free program.

The academic benefits of Concurrent Enrollment are numerous. Students who participate in the program will develop improved study habits, save tuition money, be more likely to receive post-secondary training, have a higher degree completion rate, and have improved academic outcomes overall. Former Concurrent Enrollment students say one of the largest benefits of the program was the experience itself and the confidence they received after completing even one of the courses.

In 2009, Concurrent Enrollment began a campaign to increase its efforts attract more Latino high school students to the program. The following is a report of those efforts and the goals for 2010.


  • Co-sponsored Latino Educators of Tomorrow Summer Bridge Program
  • Co-sponsored Latino Scientist of Tomorrow Summer Bridge Program
  • Created and published first Spanish Concurrent enrollment Registration Brochure
  • Trained Unidos Saldremos Adelante Leadership Programs members on Concurrent Enrollment for high school and junior high visits/presentations
  • Maintained ongoing communications and interactions with the UVU Latino Initiative office
  • Connected and offered the Latinos in Action high school course with the UVU Principles of Leadership class (MGMT 1250)


  • Increase marketing to high school
  • Latino population
  • Continue to co-sponsor UVU Summer Bridge programs
  • Sponsor and present Concurrent Enrollment information at the Latino Parent Orientations
  • Expand Concurrent Enrollment Principles of Leadership (MGMT 1250) to all Latinos in Action high schools in the UVU service area

Memo Caldera, Program Manager-Concurrent Enrollment, 801.863.8939,

Summer Programs

Utah Valley University Summer Bridge cultivates a diverse community of scholars and prepares them to engage actively with and meet the challenges of a university education. The program supports UVU's commitment to access and excellence by providing students with:

  • A stimulating and challenging academic experience
  • Access to student support programs and services
  • An intellectually and socially enriching transition to campus life at UVU
  • Previously offered
    • Latino Educators of Tomorrow
    • Hospitality Leaders of Tomorrow
    • Computer Science
    • Latino Scientists of Tomorrow
    • Automotive Technology
    • Developmental Math
    • Political Science
    • Developmental English

Celebración Latinoamericana

This annual celebration provides the Latino community the chance to gather on behalf of successful Latino youth in the area. The Latin American Celebration includes scholarship and award presentations, dinner and Latin American dance performances. We also encourage donations to the UVU Latino Scholarship Fund for future scholarships.

The objectives of this event include:

  • Gather the Latino community together on the UVU campus in a celebration of the Latino culture and academic success
  • Motivate younger Latino students by recognizing and rewarding successful Latino students and community members

Woodbury School of Business, School of Education, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Honors Program, Center for the Advancement of Leadership, Prospective Student Services, Academic Counseling Center, Utah Community Credit Union, Mexican Consulate in Salt Lake City, El Azteca, and The Hair Connection

Yudi Lewis, UVU Latino Initiative, 801.863.7297,

Mexican Consulate Partnership

By working with the Mexican Consulate in Salt Lake City, UVU Received a total of $71,000 IME Becas Grant (6 years)

Latino Parent Open House

These events are held to orient Latino parents and their students to various aspects of UVU, our mission and campus. These events include a presentation of general UVU information, by representatives from UVU departments.

The objectives of these events include:

  • Orient Latino parents to the resources, information, and personnel on campus as well as the campus itself
  • Increase the frequency of student visits to UVU to create familiarity and comfort
  • Collaborate with local administrators to host Latino parent nights at different schools
  • Focus on admissions, financial aid, credits and majors, and computer (website) navigation


  • Utah Valley University’s Orem campus
  • Utah Valley University’s Wasatch campus
  • High schools in Utah, Wasatch, South Summit, and North Summit counties
  • Community organizations
  • Religious (Church) entities

Yudi Lewis, UVU Latino Initiative, 801.863.7297,

ESL Community Education Program

The Community Education ESL Program was created during Fall Semester 2008 with the primary goal to provide quality and academically challenging English classes for resident immigrants living in the Utah County community.

We wanted to offer Community Education evening courses to address the needs in our local community. Due to the fact that the vast majority of our students are from Latino descent and speak Spanish, we hired Spanish-speaking employees to assist in recruiting, advising and registering our Community Education students.

Initially, we offered classes at low-beginning and high-beginning levels, but we are now offering classes at low-intermediate and high-intermediate levels, as well. Each semester, several of our students transition from the Community Education ESL Program into the UVU Intensive ESL Program to further their education. Many of them express their desire to eventually obtain a degree from UVU.


Yina Villar
Assistant Coordinator
(801) 863-7333

Check out the Latino Initiative featured in the UVU Magazine!