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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The persistence to graduation of Hispanic community college students
by Ortiz, Lillian, Ed.D., University of Hartford, 2009, 191; 3387551
Abstract (Summary)

The open door policy of community colleges has played a key role in providing access to higher education to the masses throughout the past 50 years. For many years Hispanic and other immigrant populations have entered community colleges in search of an opportunity to rise out of many societal problems. Unfortunately, many don't end up successfully completing.

Therefore, this study explored how college personnel and Hispanic graduates reported on the organizational and personal factors that helped Hispanic students to persist to graduation. Using a single site case study design, quantitative data was collected electronically through a web-based survey called Zoomerang™. Qualitative data was collected through a one-on-one interview with ten college personnel and ten Hispanic graduates.

The conceptual framework utilized for this study was the Nora and Cabrera Student Adjustment Mode (1996). College personnel and Hispanic graduates reported their perceptions about the effects of organizational and personal factors that led to the successful completion and graduation of Hispanic students. Research questions were based on findings that related to six factors (1) institutional commitment; (2) academic experiences; (3) remediation strategies; (4) personal goal commitment; (5) environmental supports; and (6) social integration. The web-based survey consisted of a 30-item likert scale and the interview tool consisted of 26 questions.

There were several conclusions in this study: (1) Both college personnel and recent Hispanic graduates' perceived that there was a high level of institutional commitment at Evergreen Community College that supports Hispanic students' persistence to graduation; (2) The availability of developmental courses and counseling prepared students to be successful in their credit-bearing academic experiences; (3) Hispanic student's ability to remain resilient is related to the welcoming environment that faculty and staff promote as part of a culture of teaching and learning; and (4) Respondent groups agreed that increasing opportunities for social experiences in the college environment can reduce isolation and detachment for first time Hispanic community college enrollees.

This study suggested that additional research into Hispanic persistence with a larger selection of community colleges using the Nora and Cabrera (1996) organizational and personal factors Student Adjustment Model would be helpful in expanding the understanding of success among the Hispanic student population as opposed to why Hispanic community college students’ fail when they enter college.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Intriligator, Barbara
Commitee: Danehy, Thomas, Diehl, Susan, LaRocco, Diana
School: University of Hartford
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 71/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Organizational behavior, Hispanic American studies
Keywords: Academic experiences, Community college students, Environmental factors, Graduation, Hispanic, Institutional commitment, Persistence, Personal goal commitments, Remediation strategies, Social integration factors
Publication Number: 3387551
ISBN: 978-1-109-53610-2
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