Student mothers are an often overlooked population within higher education. However, one national study found the majority of students raising children while attending college are located in community college and they are predominately female. Therefore, the experience of student mothers in California, which has the largest system of community colleges in the country with 114 colleges provides important understanding about this population. This qualitative study shares the stories of 23 student mothers enrolled in two California community colleges through a conceptual framework that combines the Intersectional Model of Multiple Dimensions of Identity and Resiliency Theory. Student mothers described their intersecting identities as both invisible and empowering. Findings from the study point to the resiliency of student mothers who utilized personal assets (e.g. organizational strategies, self-care, and self-talk) and institutional resources (e.g. child care, opportunities for student engagement, and faculty support). The implications for this study are centered in an Ethic of Care by institutionally adopting practices and policies that engage students in a maternal way that responds to their needs with care. Recommendations for research and practice propose community colleges develop a strategic method to gather data on student mothers to better serve this student population. Further, institutions are encouraged to re-examine child care services and faculty support on campus. Policy changes can begin with educating faculty and students about Title IX, so student mothers can better exercise their rights within a more inclusive community college campus.
|Commitee:||Olson, Avery B., Rodden, Jennifer M.|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Community college education, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Assets, Community college, Identity, Intersectionality, Resiliency, Student mothers|
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