CTN CEO Dr. Maria Chavez was invited by the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education to be a guest speaker on their podcast “Office Hours with John Gardner.” Joining John Gardner for the podcast episodes are higher education leaders and other relevant persons of interest who will discuss innovation and strategies that improve higher education.

Dr. Chavez’ episode was titled “Creating new organizations to advance student success.”  Dr. Chavez began the podcast episode by sharing Catch the Next’s mission and the core components of the program such as student and faculty engagement, professional development, monthly webinars, and peer mentoring for both students and faculty. Next, she shared her personal journey as an innovator which included establishing the Asian-Chicano-Native American Cultural Centers and the Chicano Boricua Studies Program at Yale University. In the community of New Haven, she founded the LULAC Head Start Program, a $10 million preschool initiative, which led to the building of the Latino Youth Center, and helped to build la Casa Otonal, a housing complex for the elderly. Through Save the Children Federation, Maria’s research led to the Campaign for America’s Forgotten Children and the establishment of six community learning centers in California. Dr. Chavez has also worked with Public Agenda, in particular The Achieving the Dream Initiative.

Gardner asked Chavez what the “secret sauce” to the success of the Catch the Next program was and she replied that some of the “ingredients” included a literacy-based curriculum across disciplines; an asset-based approach which recognized the cultural wealth that students bring to the classroom; and small learning communities. She added that “the real heroes are the instructors who go above and beyond. It really is a team effort. Students know that there is a team working on their behalf.”

The podcast is now available on SpotifyAmazon Music, and Buzzsprout

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