Collaborative for Hispanics in Higher Education & Student Success

About Project CHESS

In 2018, Cal Lutheran and Moorpark College received a Title V HSI grant by the US Department of Education to address the needs of underrepresented students, transfer students, and historically minoritized men of color.

MI Group


Why Project CHESS?

  • Cal Lutheran and Moorpark College already have a close relationship. 31% of Cal Lutheran undergraduates are transfers, 27% of those come from Moorpark College.
  • Cal Lutheran and Moorpark College already serve similar populations and are addressing the same changing demographics. 31.7% of Moorpark College students are Hispanic as are 29% of Cal Lutheran undergraduates; those populations are expected to increase for both institutions.
  • Cal Lutheran and Moorpark College are challenged to overcome similar barriers while each offers strengths that can be utilized in cooperative efforts.


Project Overview

There are five project goals which are designed to be realistic, achievable, student-centered, and focused on Hispanic student success that will leverage the strengths of the cooperative, address identified needs, and contribute to growth and self-sufficiency for both Cal Lutheran and Moorpark College.

Project Goals

  1. Increase the number of Hispanic students who succeed in introductory/gateway courses by redesigning those courses to align pedagogical techniques with learning styles of underrepresented students.
  2. Improve retention rates of Hispanic males from the first to second year by building on an existing Cal Lutheran program and filling a needed gap for Moorpark College.
  3. Increase transfer success of Hispanic students by improving retention rates at Moorpark College and making Cal Lutheran a more receptive environment for them.
  4. Increase the capacity to effectively serve more students by updating instructional space to match current practices and increase the capacity for student access.
  5. Strengthen articulation between Moorpark College and Cal Lutheran by utilizing joint faculty to redesign courses and establish true articulation across a number of disciplines.

Project Design

Each of the project goals has specific objectives to address weaknesses identified in a comprehensive analysis of Cal Lutheran and Moorpark College and to counter practices known to disadvantage Hispanic and other underserved students.

Theory of Change

Students who feel academically capable, engage in the classroom, connect to peers and the campus community, and are focused on careers will experience student success evidenced by increased persistence toward degree completion.

Capable Engaged Connected Focused
  • Academic Mindset Advising and Mentoring
  • Active Learning
  • Culturally Relevant Courses
  • Transfer Student Center
  • Peer Mentors
  • Career Workshops
  • Career Role Models

Project Activities

  • Cultural competency/culturally sustaining pedagogy workshops for faculty
  • Redesign of courses
  • Joint faculty workshops
  • Joint Faculty Learning Circles
  • Peer mentoring for historically marginalized male students
  • Career-focused activities for historically marginalized male students
  • First-Year Experience advising at Moorpark College
  • Academic Mindset Development Activities

More about the Project Activities



The Project CHESS Community

Who will be served?

Project CHESS will serve historically marginalized and low-income students at Moorpark College and California Lutheran University, as well as those who want an opportunity to build leadership skills and connection.

Historically marginalized: Populations that have historically been excluded from dominant social, economic, cultural, or political life.

Latinx: Relating to people of Latin American origin or descent, whereas, the x is used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina.

Who will be involved?

The project will include new hires for key personnel at Cal Lutheran and Moorpark College as well as the support and cooperation of existing staff and faculty at both institutions.

Collaboratively, personnel will coordinate cross-campus efforts in project planning, faculty development planning and implementation, hiring of new staff, review of program milestones, renovation project direction, peer-mentoring activities, grant reporting, project evaluation review, institutionalization planning, and communication of updates to campus communities.


More about the Project Team

CHESS is a Title V Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) grant funded by the Federal Department of Education PR/Award # P031S180135.