Casa Latina – Online Bilingual Program (Davenport University)

Last Updated: 03/22/2024

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Overview

In March 2024, Davenport University (Grand Rapids, Michigan) launched Casa Latina, an initiative that leads to career-oriented bilingual undergraduate and graduate degrees and professional proficiency in English and Spanish.

Courses are taught one week fully in English, the next week fully in Spanish. Twelve undergraduate and graduate degrees are offering career paths in business, technology, healthcare, urban education, and the sciences.

Applications are open and courses begin Fall 2024.

This new initiative builds on the university’s online Global Campus which has offered courses and programs for 20 years.

Casa Latina Program Features

  • Fully online — available to students worldwide
  • Undergraduate and graduate
  • Career-oriented bilingual degree programs in accounting, business administration, education, human resource management, health services administration, and technology project management
  • 7-week semesters with multiple start dates (rolling admissions policy)
  • Language of instruction alternates weekly (English / Spanish) and deliverables, discussion, and other activities are offered in the language of that week
  • Scholarships available for full-time and part-time students—students are eligible regardless of their immigration status (the university does not ask about immigration status) but if students are eligible for federal financial aid, they can also use that funding to pay tuition
  • Bilingual and bicultural student support provided in admissions, financial aid, bursar's office, advising, counseling, tutoring, and library services
  • University accepts, evaluates, and validates credentials of studies completed outside of the United States
  • Latino adults with work experience or some higher education in their home country are one of three demographic groups the program expects to serve—the others are college-aged children of those immigrants, who speak Spanish at home but are English dominant, and who have not yet harnessed their Spanish skills in academic or professional settings; and non-Latino students who attended immersion programs in high school, are bilingual and want to develop Spanish-language proficiency in their field of study and prepare to work as fully bilingual professionals.
  • Students can improve skills in both languages so can graduate professionally fluent in both English and Spanish.

Background

Latinos are the fastest growing demographic group in the U.S. but less likely than other racial/ethnic groups to have earned a college credential. About 23% of Latino adults between the ages of 25 - 29 have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 45% of white peers. About 7% of Davenport’s undergraduate students identify as Hispanic or Latino, and 34% as nonwhite. The West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce projects the Latino community is projected to grow by 130% by 2045.

The university is advancing this new program to support both Latino students and Latino communities more broadly.

Davenport University has struggled with declining undergraduate enrollment since the pandemic. It has six campuses in Michigan along with its online program. Although the university has experienced enrollment growth for the last three semesters, the Casa Latina program is focused on both boosting enrollment numbers and retaining and graduating students.

Community feedback has informed the planning; for students to thrive in college and afterwards, the bilingual curriculum must be connected to services that support students’ lives outside the classroom and resources that help them prepare for the workforce.

Partners / Funders

Foundations and donors include Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan; M.E. Davenport Foundation; Daniel & Pamella DeVos Foundation; Frey Foundation; Steelcase Foundation; Steve and Tana Wessell

Resources

Hechinger Report Newsletter: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/WhctKKZWjgsTGtGmsfxpbwDBfTRbFKHKDfqhFxMpnhzxrPFNPVvmDbXcqXhJjPSwCwnwPxq

Press release: https://post.davenport.edu/2024/03/21/davenport-university-launches-one-of-a-kind-bilingual-program/

 

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