Abstract: This case study examined how a specific Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) pursues an institutional equity agenda. Through interviews with sixteen full-time employees representing a two-year public institution of higher education in the Pacific Northwest, this study explored faculty and staff perceptions of the purpose of an HSI designation and the intentionality of serving Latina/o students. The literature review provides a historical context of Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and the role MSIs serve in higher education. Themes identified through an in-depth thematic analysis include knowledge and awareness of HSIs, serving and supporting students, access and opportunities, and sense of community. Findings revealed the Critical Race Theory tenets of liberalism, the permanence of racism, interest convergence, and a related white fragility in many college employees. Findings also indicated that faculty and staff (a) support serving all students, (b) lack knowledge, awareness, and reflection on how the institution serves Latina/os students, (c) confused equality with equity, and (d) made no connection with the HSI identity. Recommendations include in-depth professional development and training centered on cultural awareness, cultural competence, cultural differences and cultural disengagement; and HSI 101 workshops and open forums. An additional recommendation includes creating institutional definitions using CRT language as a foundation to build an institutional culture as an effective HSI.
Dr. Paulette Lopez is the Dean of Workforce Professional Technical Education at Highline.
She previously served as the Dean for Workforce Education at Yakima Valley College.
Siskanna Naynaha. (2016). Assessment, Social Justice, and Latinxs in the US Community College. College English, 79(2), 196–201.
Abstract: The Pew Hispanic Research Center reports that between 1996 and 2012, enrollment in US higher education among Latinxs between the ages of 18 and 24 increased by 240 percent. Moreover, in 2012 college enrollment among Latinx high school graduates aged 18 to 24 surpassed that of Whites for the first time in history (Krogstad and Fry), and NCES calculations show that more than half of those Latinx students enroll in two-year schools (Fry 6). Hence, in 2015 Latinxs found themselves the explicit targets of community college recruitment efforts aimed to capitalize on the increased presence of students from Latinx backgrounds. Once they pass through the doors, however, Latinx students too often find institutions ill-prepared to support their retention and success. What Latinx students find in community colleges is a culture that is finely tuned to the needs and interests of a historically White student body, faculty, and staff.
Clayton, A. B., Medina, M. C., & Wiseman, A. M. (2019). Culture and community: Perspectives from first-year, first-generation-in-college Latino students. Journal of Latinos & Education, 18(2), 134–150. https://doi.org/10.1080/15348431.2017.1386101
Abstract: This qualitative study explores the college choice process and first-year experiences of first-generation college Latino students. Case study analysis was used with one-on-one interviews, revealing five emerging themes: (1) Latino identity expression; (2) first in the family; (3) desire for sense of community; (4) embracing Latino identity in college; and (5) personal responsibility for education. Findings revealed how the importance of cultural identity and responsibilities regarding first-generation college attendance were important to participants' experiences.
Carales, V. (2020). Examining Educational Attainment Outcomes: A Focus on Latina/o Community College Students. Community College Review, 48(2), 195–219. https://doi.org/10.1177/0091552120903087
Abstract: This study examined how a set of theoretically derived factors predicted the educational attainment outcomes of Latina/o community college students. The guiding research question was, “What precollege and background characteristics, college experiences, and environmental pull factors uniquely predict persistence, certificate or associate degree completion, and transfer or bachelor’s degree completion for a national sample of Latina/o community college students?” Method: Three logistic regression analyses were conducted using a nationally represented sample from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS: 04/09). Results: Latina/o community college student educational outcomes were found to be related to demographic or precollege variables including primary language spoken in the home, citizenship status, socioeconomic status, degree expectations; college experiences including academic integration, first-year college grade point average (GPA), enrollment intensity, co-enrollment; and environmental pull factors including the receipt of a federal student loan and Pell Grant. Conclusion: Findings underscore the importance of financial aid in promoting success outcomes and alleviate affordability concerns for Latina/o community college students. Findings also reinforce the notion of considering educational intentions when developing advising services and programs that foster or match those ambitions. Doing so will improve both student outcomes and institutional effectiveness.
Felix, E. R., & Bensimon, E. M. (2016). Hispanic-Serving Institutions. In K. Lomotey (Ed.), People of Color in the United States: Contemporary Issues in Education, Work, Communities, Health, and Immigration (Vol. 1, pp. 166-178). Greenwood. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX6092400031/GVRL?u=highlinecc&sid=GVRL&xid=94ac3656
As of the most recent count there are 409 accredited degree-granting, not-for-profit institutions that meet the 25 percent Hispanic undergraduate full-time equivalent enrollment criteria to be designated as a Hispanic-serving institution, known as HSI, by the U.S. Department of Education ( Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities 2015 ). The proportion of the Hispanic student body at HSIs ranges from 25 to 99 percent of full-time equivalent students. Therefore, Hispanic students are not necessarily the largest ethnic group at HSIs ( Dowd et al. 2012 ). This entry addresses the historical development of HSIs, features of the HSI sector, performance of HSIs based on Latina/o outcomes, and the role HSIs play in educating students of color and concludes with brief comments on the future of HSIs.
Felix, Eric R.; Castro, Marlon Fernandez. Planning as strategy for improving Black and Latinx student equity: Lessons from nine California community colleges. Education Policy Analysis Archives, [S.l.], v. 26, p. 56, Apr. 2018. . doi:https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.26.3223.
Abstract: In 2014, California policymakers passed the Student Equity Plans (SEP) policy to address disparities in the community college system. The reform effort formalized a campus-wide planning effort that required institutions to examine their data for disparities, develop goals and strategies to mitigate identified inequities, and use new fiscal resources to realize their plans. In recent years, there has been an increase in the enactment of state-level higher education policies, but few, if any, have focused on the notion of equity or explicitly named racial and ethnic groups as policy beneficiaries. This study examines nine student equity plans in the state’s largest community college district. Drawing upon critical policy analysis, we place a focus on understanding if, and how, the planning process was used to address inequities facing Black and Latinx students. Based on our analysis we found several themes on how plans identified and address barriers facing Black and Latinx students. After examining 178 equity activities, we found only 28 promising activities that explicitly targeted Black and Latinx students with culturally relevant, data-driven, evidence-based strategies. These findings have compelling implications for policymakers seeking to develop reform efforts and institutions using policy to address current and historic inequities faced by Black and Latinx students. The use of planning for improvement is commonplace in educational policy, but we find that more training and capacity-building efforts are necessary to use planning as an opportunity to address racial inequity in community college.
Tovar, E. (2015). The Role of Faculty, Counselors, and Support Programs on Latino/a Community College Students’ Success and Intent to Persist. Community College Review, 43(1), 46–71. https://doi.org/10.1177/0091552114553788
Abstract: This study examines how interactions with institutional agents (faculty and academic counselors) and select student support programs influence success (i.e., grade point average) and intentions to persist to degree completion for Latino/a community college students. Using social capital theory and college impact models, the study controls for the effects of select pre-college student characteristics, transition-to-college experiences, and academic and social factors. Findings indicate that interactions (quantity and type) with institutional agents exercise a small, but significant effect on Latino/a students’ success. Similarly, participation in an academically rigorous program and a counseling-intensive support program influences students’ success and intent to persist. Implications for practice are addressed.