Excelencia in Education Selects Knowledge River Program as 2022 National Finalist of What Works for Latino Student Success

Aug. 25, 2022

The Knowledge River Program one of only 20 in the country to receive national recognition for asset-based approach to serving Latinos.

A group of Knowledge River students

Knowledge River students from cohorts 16, 17 and 18 during orientation in 2019.

Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on efforts accelerating Latino student success in higher education, announced this month it has selected the Knowledge River Program at the University of Arizona as a national finalist for the 2022 Examples of Excelencia.

The Knowledge River Program, housed in the School of Information in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, specializes in educating information professionals who have experience with and are committed to the information needs of BIPOC communities with an emphasis on Latino, Native American, and Black populations and with respect to intersectional identities within these communities.

Knowledge River Scholars graduate with an ALA-accredited M.A. in Library and Information Science. During their graduate studies, KR Scholars receive opportunities for academic support, specialized advising, participation in a cohort-based learning community, mentorship, access to a network of Knowledge River alumni, and professional development activities.

“Knowledge River has served as a cornerstone program for ethnic diversity in librarianship, and we continue to build on this model and work with our funding partners to serve aspiring scholars," said Berlin Loa, director of the Knowledge River Program. "It is an honor to receive this recognition and to represent both the iSchool and the University of Arizona, but more so to work with these incredibly talented and ambitious scholars who bring a depth of cultural and technical knowledge to the field of information science.”

Examples of Excelencia was created in 2005 and is the country’s only national effort to identify, aggregate and promote evidence-based practices improving Latino student success in higher education. As leaders seek where to invest time and resources in what works for Latino students, these 20 programs demonstrate that it is possible to develop asset-based, culturally responsive practices that can improve success for Latino and other post-traditional students.

Excelencia is answering the national call to identify and invest in evidence-based practices that improve college completion,” said Deborah Santiago, Co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education. “These 20 programs are evidence-based exemplars led by practitioners working directly with students and community that go beyond enrollment to intentionally serve students on their journey to degree completion.”

This year Excelencia received 93 program submissions representing 17 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.  The Knowledge River Program and the other 19 finalists will be featured online as well as in Excelencia’s Growing What Works Database – the only national online, searchable database for institutional leaders, funders, and policymakers interested in identifying what works for Latino students.

"Knowledge River has been a source of pride of the iSchool for over 20 years, a highly-respected program aimed at diversifying the profession of librarianship," said Catherine Brooks, director of the School of Information. "As Arizona's iSchool, we have made an impact on representation across the nation and could not be more pleased to have received this recognition."

On September 29, 2022, four of the 20 finalists will be announced as the 2022 Examples of Excelencia and recognized at the annual Celebración de Excelencia. The national announcement will be made live at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. and livestreamed online.