FSU Headlines: Radio
Feb. 07, 2007

FSU a national beacon for Hispanic students

FSU Headlines: Radio
Hosted by Tom Block
Airs on WFSU-FM
Archive available online

FSU a national beacon for Hispanic students

Around 3 million Americans with Hispanic heritage call Florida home. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, that number is expected to grow to about 5 million over the next 20 years.

At Florida State University, a growing number of Hispanic students are finding a welcoming educational and social environment as the university works to recruit the fastest-growing and largest minority group in America.

Among FSU's successes on this front: recent rankings showing its College of Law at No. 6 nationally among Hispanic students; a unique marketing program that teaches students how to respond to the needs of the nation's Hispanic marketing industry; and an orientation program designed to help Hispanic students and their families feel at home in their new academic setting.

Nearly 10 percent of the student population at FSU now is Hispanic - around 4,000 students in all. That's up by more than a thousand over the number of Hispanic students enrolled just five years ago.

Patrick Heaton, director of FSU's Office of Orientation, said he has observed the rise in Hispanic students at FSU for several years and takes steps to welcome those students and their families to campus through an orientation session before each semester. The university's Orientation Web site now contains a number of links written in Spanish.

"We're also going to put all of our publications in Spanish so family members can have access to that information in a language that is more comfortable to them, perhaps, when they're already experiencing the anxiety of having their student go off to school," he said.

Also at FSU, Hispanic students have found a nurturing environment within the College of Law. For that reason, Hispanic Business magazine recently named Florida State's College of Law sixth in the nation among law schools for Hispanic students.

For undergraduates, there are numerous opportunities for Hispanic students as well. Many FSU students take part in Hispanic and Latino student organizations. Groups such as the Hispanic Latino Student Union, the National Hispanic Business Association, the Oscar Arias Sanchez Hispanic Honor Society and the Cuban American Student Association provide academic and social opportunities for Hispanic students looking to socialize with others who share a similar heritage.

Not only is the population of Hispanic students climbing, but FSU also is developing innovative ways of educating all students to the emerging Spanish culture.

"Students want to know more, whether they're Latino or Hispanic or not, because it's impacting their daily lives," said Delia Poey, an associate professor of modern languages and linguistics at FSU.

In Poey's Spanish courses, students are exposed to the award-winning Spanish program at FSU. A new survey ranks the Spanish program No. 4 in the nation. And one of the reasons for its success, she says, is the faculty's all-inclusive curriculum.

"You can't teach a language outside a culture, so we're always teaching culture with language," Poey said.

Culture and language are what Felipe Korzenny, a professor in FSU's College of Communication, also hopes to pass along to his students through an innovative Hispanic marketing program that is unique to FSU.

"It's a complete, organized program to prepare undergraduate and graduates to serve the needs of the Hispanic marketing industry in the United States," Korzenny said of the program.

For information on FSU's Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication, see here.

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