Salt Lake Community College announced Tuesday that Kino Hurtado will act as the first director for Hispanic Serving Initiatives, leading the college’s efforts in better serving Latinx students and obtaining the Hispanic-Serving Institution federal (HSI) designation.
Hurtado earned a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from New Mexico Highlands University before joining SLCC in March 2021, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in education leadership and policy at the University of Utah. His doctorate focuses on organizational change and adapting to new racialized organization identity.
“Kino’s work experience and his Ph.D. pursuit will help keep the college current in best practices for becoming an HSI and continuing to build equitable and inclusive practices in higher education for all,” Dr. Juone Kadiri, vice president for Institutional Equity, Inclusion and Transformation, said in a press release.
Hurtado’s initially joined SLCC to help run its summer Bridge program, which connects first-generation and underrepresented high school seniors to coordinators and resources with the aim of facilitating college success.
In February 2022 during the school’s annual 360 event, SLCC outlined its goals and strategies for obtaining the HSI designation, which requires 25% of an institution’s student body to identify as Hispanic/Latino. Institutions granted the designation can then apply for specialized grants.
According to the SLCC fact book, Hispanic students comprise nearly 20% of students as of the 2021-22 academic year, the highest percentage-figure of any higher-ed institution in Utah.
“The programs we create on behalf of Hispanic students extend to all students,” Hurtado said in the press release sharing Kadiri’s words. “These programs can serve as a working model, paving the path for similar programs for other minoritized students.”