Recently, the HETS Consortium recognized the work and leadership of those partners involved in its Online Learning Collaboration Initiatives through the creation of the Online Learning Collaboration Leadership Award. HETS has designated $1,000 from its FIPSE-LAAP funds to make available this Award, in recognition to a faculty leader who is facilitating the collaboration processes and advancing the creation of a new online program that will benefit HETS member institutions and the Hispanic learners, at large.
Dr. Keville Frederickson, Nursing Professor, Lehman College.
Through this special Award, the Consortium would like to honor the work of the Project Leader who has fulfilled the leading expectations of the HETS office and the overall requirements for guiding an effective partnership among academic collaborators. “For HETS, it is extremely important to acknowledge the efforts of those who, not only lead the work of the group members in a collaborative effort, but also administer the program outstandingly. This is why the Consortium established the Online Learning Collaboration Leadership Award.”, indicated Dr. Nitza Hernandez, HETS Executive Director.
The first leadership award recipient was Dr. Keville Frederickson, Nursing faculty member at Lehman College and Project Leader for the HETS Cross-Cultural Health Care Collaboration Initiative. This Leader was selected after a careful analysis of the basic principles needed for achieving effective collaboration and leadership, and considering the goals and needs of the HETS Online Learning Collaboration Initiatives Program.
Dr. Frederickson has performed with an exceptional academic leadership and administrative work, in order to make possible the creation of an online certificate program in Cross-Cultural Health Care. Since June 2003, this Project Leader has been effectively organizing efforts from eight different HETS member institutions in California, Texas, New York, and Puerto Rico. Dr. Frederickson has communicated continuously and effectively with her partners, managing the fiscal part of the project, and creating her own online module for the program, without any compensation for her work. This voluntary work has been almost a full-time job, besides her role as a full-time Nursing professor.
The HETS Online Learning Collaboration Initiatives Program fosters partnership initiatives among member institutions that result in the creation of unique joint online minors, continuing education certificates, and professional programs. It is one of the HETS programs funded with the US Department of Education´s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE), since September 2002. So far, more than 50 faculty members and institutional administrators from 14 higher education institutions have been involved in this program and, as a result, up to date, there are a total of four collaboration initiatives being developed, including three online academic certificate programs and one online student support service.
HETS is the first bilingual consortium with the mission to serve the Hispanic community through distance education. Currently, it has the support of 21 autonomous higher education member institutions in the United States, Puerto Rico and Colombia.
The Hispanic Educational Telecommunications System (HETS) will be celebrating its Second Annual Workshop for Institutional Leaders on Inter-institutional Collaboration from June 21st to the 23rd in New York City, as informed by Dr. Nitza Hernandez, the Consortium’s Executive Director. This year’s workshop on “Reaching Policy Agreements for Collaboration Initiatives among HETS Partner Institutions” intends to foster administrative strategies in support of three online professional certificate programs being developed by ten HETS partner institutions.
The faculty working toward online academic programs in Bilingual Journalism, Security Management, and Cross-Cultural Health Care will have the opportunity to find out, with their administrative leaders, effective ways of making inter-institutional academic collaboration work beyond distance, institutional, and policy barriers. This time, the HETS annual workshop has been designed for top level institutional administrators who will be guided to work with faculty and academic leaders involved in the HETS Online Learning Collaboration Initiatives. The goal is to reach financial and academic agreements that will help launch the online programs in progress. This great effort constitutes part of the collaborative strategies established through the HETS’ Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnerships (LAAP) project, now in its last year of implementation with a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE).
The executive staff of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA) at Kansas State University will help facilitate the workshop sessions, together with outstanding leaders from Montana State University, the Electronic Campus of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS). GPIDEA is actually co-sponsoring this HETS workshop as part of another grant support they have received from FIPSE to offer expert consulting to other consortia organizations and universities that are trying to build alliances for distance learning. Due to the transcending significance of this workshop, observers from the Western State Commission of Higher Education (WICHE) will be attending in order to learn more from this inter-institutional collaboration process.
“Our workshops for institutional leaders make up an important part of the Consortium’s strategies to keep enhancing the benefits of online learning initiatives within, among, and outside our member institutions. This Second Annual Workshop could be the setting for the creation of new alliances and online initiatives to widen educational and training opportunities for Hispanic learners”, said the HETS Executive Director.
Last year’s workshop brought about the interest of a vast group of academic leaders who actively engaged in working jointly towards the creation of new online learning opportunities for Hispanic students. The Second Annual Workshop for Institutional Leaders will take place concurrently with this year’s HETS Board of Directors Meeting.
Contact information: Wilmarie LaTorre, HETS-LAAP Executive Assistant. Tel. 766-1912, ext. 2221.
The Hispanic Educational Telecommunications System (HETS) received at the beginning of this semester the membership requests from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, National University in La Jolla, California, and the New Jersey City University, as a part of the outreach efforts done recently to affiliate new member institutions. HETS has now a membership of 22 leading higher education institutions in Puerto Rico, Colombia, and states such as California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Founded in 1993, the consortium is the nation’s first bilingual distance education consortium and has its headquarters on the Inter American University of Puerto Rico.
The new HETS member institutions have the commitment of offering to their students a quality educational face to face experience, as well as at a distance. Each of them has unique characteristics that contribute to the enrichment and diversity of the Consortium. Kutztown University is a member of the State system of Higher Education of Pennsylvania. Kutztown University is committed to continuous improvement, partnerships, and collaborations that encourage the development of citizens who contribute to a global society. Currently 8,200 students from 20 states and 40 countries are enrolled at this university.
National University, a 4-year private, not-for-profit university system, is a leader in online education, offering numerous online graduate and undergraduate degree programs, as well as credential and certificate programs. It’s dedicated to making lifelong adult learning opportunities accessible, challenging and relevant to a diverse population of adult learners. National University in La Jolla, has a total enrollment of 16,848 students, out of which 16% are of a Hispanic origin.
New Jersey City University, which is New Jersey’s only public urban college, is the premier cooperative education college in the state of New Jersey. It is also a leader in distance learning, offering courses and degree programs online, as well as valuable web-based support services for their students.
HETS is currently redesigning its website, adding the best links numerous online resources, courses, and programs that member institutions have already located in their own websites. This will give other member institutions the opportunity of sharing valuable online learning and student support resources that may provide a greater access to Hispanic students through the HETS portal. Also, HETS is looking forward to fostering new opportunities for building additional partnerships and collaboration initiatives among all its member institutions. For more information about HETS and its projects, visit us at www.hets.org and virtualplaza.org.
San Juan, PR – The Hispanic Educational Telecommunications System (HETS), a unique bilingual distance learning consortium, celebrated its Second Annual Workshop on “Reaching Policy Agreements for Collaboration Initiatives among HETS Partner Institutions,” last June 21-23 in New York. HETS gathered almost 40 higher education leaders from its member institutions to explore agreements and policies needed to help implement three online programs that are being jointly developed by faculty from 10 colleges and universities affiliated to the consortium.
These institutional leaders met to help build multi-campus support for the online, professional certificate programs in cross-cultural health care, bilingual journalism, and security management, and to discuss key academic, administrative, financial, and marketing issues impacting the implementation of these first collaborative initiatives. Furthermore, the Consortium’s Board of Directors made important decisions in areas related to the joint initiatives such as pricing, launch dates, and profit distribution.
The workshop, which coincided with this year’s HETS Board of Directors meeting, focused on strategies to transcend individual campus policy differences to foster more online education partnerships. HETS ultimate goal is to increase Hispanic college graduation rates with the anywhere/anytime reach of Internet-based learning approaches to overcome the barriers of cost, language, and geography in reaching out to the country’s largest ethnic population.
“Our workshops for institutional leaders make up an important part of the consortium’s strategies to enhance the benefits of online learning initiatives within, among, and outside our member institutions,” said HETS Executive Director Nitza M. Hernández. “The involvement of academic deans, registrars, distance learning directors, and finance officers from our partner institutions through this past workshop shows their genuine interest to help HETS in widening educational and training opportunities for Hispanic learners,” Hernández added. HETS financial support to inter-institutional collaboration initiatives has been possible thanks to a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE), now in its last year of implementation.
This year’s workshop was co-sponsored by Kansas State University’s Institute for Academic Alliances. The Institute’s executive staff facilitated the sessions and expert advice, along with leaders from Montana State University, the Electronic Campus of the Southern Regional Education Board, and the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications. A distance learning alliances consulting grant that KSU received this year from the Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) supported their co-sponsorship of the HETS workshop.
HETS is the nation’s first bilingual distance education consortium with a membership base of 20 leading higher education institutions in Puerto Rico and states such as California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Founded in 1993, the consortium has received grants from the US Department of Commerce and the Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) of the U.S. Department of Education. HETS is now expanding its outreach to more Hispanic-serving institutions, top-100 colleges and universities graduating Hispanics, and distinguished universities in Latin America.
HETS, with headquarters at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico and regional offices at the Borough of Manhattan Community College of the City University of New York, developed the first bilingual Virtual Learning and Support Plaza at www.virtualplaza.org with a grant support from FIPSE and in-kind contributions from member institutions and corporate partners. The Virtual Plaza features interactive, 24-hour access to online networking, partnership-building and information resources, college and career mentoring for students, academic programs and faculty training initiatives for a growing online familia of students, educators, partners and sponsors.
For more information, contact HETS central office at (787) 766-1912, extension 2221, or visit www.hets.org and virtualplaza.org.
An inaugural student focus group offered high marks and encouragement to spread the word to more college students about an innovative online mentoring program from the Hispanic Educational Telecommunications System (HETS). HETS on April 22 hosted the focus group of 24 student leaders from five HETS-member colleges and universities in Puerto Rico to ask for advice on improving the reach and results of the Virtual Learning and Support Plaza. HETS developed the first bilingual, interactive e-mentoring and higher education services Internet portal at www.virtualplaza.org.
The students praised the online mentoring initiative for providing academic support and practical information on the world of work from trained volunteers in college and career fields representing a wide array of professions. Students are offered the free e-mentoring support in English and Spanish matching their academic and career interests through the anytime/anywhere reach of the 24-hour web site.
Students also gave high marks to the cultural “comfort zone” of a web site that offers them the support of a diverse family of “cyber-godparents” (cyber-padrinos/cyber-madrinas) as a resource for experiencing different cultures, perspectives, career experiences and languages. Domingo Benítez, a student at the University of the Sacred Heart in Puerto Rico, said the Virtual Plaza allows students to “form a real image of the working world” and focus on specific skills that will best benefit their career goals. While online education is a valuable tool that can expand access to knowledge far beyond the physical borders of a student’s home campus, the concept of online learning still is relatively new for many students, he added. “Online education can be a good learning method, but it needs to become more widely known,” Benítez said.
Mariela de Jesús, a major in chemical engineering at Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, said students accustomed to interacting with traditional campus counselors must become more familiar with the concept of “virtual” mentors. “Although a virtual mentor is going to have a lot more time available, one always misses `seeing’ the person who is helping you,” she said.
The focus group cited the advantages of having access to virtual mentors that allow students to bypass traditional campus counseling office hours and appointment schedules. The students also praised the potential reach of the Virtual Plaza to any participating campus. Important qualities for e-mentors, according to the student focus group, are professionals willing to share their experiences with both career successes and obstacles. Cyber-godparents should be warm, objective, accessible and genuinely interested in meeting the college and career needs of their “cyber-godchild,” the students agreed.
The results of the student focus group meeting will contribute to efforts to enhance the reach of HETS, the first telecommunications consortium established to serve the higher education needs of Hispanic communities through bilingual distance education. The 18-member consortium of higher education institutions in California, Florida, New Mexico, New York, Puerto Rico and Texas – with an affiliated member in Colombia – has its headquarters at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico.
The Virtual Plaza developed by HETS is funded in part with a grant from the Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnerships (LAAP) program of the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. For more information, visit www.virtualplaza.org.