Panel Paper: Facilitating College Success Among Emerging Hispanic Serving Institutions

Friday, November 9, 2012 : 8:20 AM
Adams (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Susan Gooden1, Kasey Martin1 and Margaret Simms2, (1)Virginia Commonwealth University, (2)Urban Institute

Although colleges must have a full-time Latino student enrollment of at least 25 percent to federally qualify as a Hispanic Serving Institution, colleges with a Latino student enrollment of 15-24 percent are commonly referred to as “Emerging Hispanic Serving Institutions.” As more community colleges approach such Latino student enrollment percentages, the changing demographic presents opportunities and challenges relative to diversity management. It is important to equip community college administrators—all of whom are public administrators--  to effectively manage their changing institutions and promote student success.

Utilizing a qualitative approach, this article analyzes multiple perspectives on factors related to Latino student success.  Data for this study were collected primarily through semi-structured interviews with college administrators, faculty and staff, as well as focus groups with Latino students at two community colleges. The data were collected from June to August 2011. The

interviews capture perspectives on the challenges facing Latino students, the programs and services colleges are using to support student success of Latino students, and general lessons and experiences in navigating this demographic shift.  In essence, the article provides an “on the ground” approach to diversity management by analyzing multiple perspectives from students, faculty and administrators.

The central findings of this article suggest that, while multiple perspectives exist, there are common areas of consensus relative to promoting cultural competency and fostering Latino student success.  First, many Latino students arrive to campus with limited college knowledge. Administrators and faculty can make important progress in increasing college knowledge through specific formal and informal means. Second, administrators, faculty, and students, identified the need to hire more Latino faculty, increase bilingual staff, and provide cultural competency training for all faculty. Third, engaging Latino families and the broader Latino community is critical in promoting Latino student success. Community colleges need to reach out to Latino students’ families directly and include a family-based perspective in their recruitment and retention efforts.  The article concludes by noting the benefits of utilizing a multiple perspective approach as an effective diversity management tool for public administrators.