Journal of Applied Research in Community Colleges

FALL 2016 - VOLUME 23, ISSUE 2

Untapped Potential: Improving Latino Males Academic Success in Community Colleges

Luis Ponjuán, Texas A&M University
Susana Hernández, Texas A&M University

The plight of Latino males in higher education has gained considerable attention over the last decade. There is a growing concern about the educational experiences of male students of color in higher education, especially Latino male students. Specifically, Latino male students are beginning their postsecondary careers at community colleges, yet are trailing their White male student peers in degree completion rates. There are various factors that highlight why Latino male students are not successfully navigating the pathway to community college enrollment and degree completion. The unique challenges this segment of students face provides a compelling incentive to better understand the various factors that affect their educational success. The purpose of this conceptual paper is to provide a comprehensive discussion about the educational experiences of Latino males in community colleges. We believe this paper can provide compelling evidence for educational policymakers, community college leaders, and families to improve Latino male students’ community college enrollment, participation, and degree completion. We conclude our discussion by providing recommendations to guide community college programs and policies to address the unique needs of Latino male students.

Keywords: Community colleges, Latino males, degree completion

Ponjuán, L., & Hernández, S. (2016). Untapped potential: Improving Latino males academic success in community colleges. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 23(2), 1-20.

Engaging Latino Men in Community Colleges: The Role of Student-Faculty Interactions

Sarah L. Rodriguez, Iowa State University
Kristine Massey, The University of Texas at Austin
Victor B. Sáenz, The University of Texas at Austin

Community college faculty members are essential to promoting student engagement and success, yet little research in this area has focused on the interactions of Latino men with their faculty members. The study utilized Harris and Wood’s (2013) Socio-Ecological Outcomes (SEO) model which focuses on the educational success of men of color in community colleges, to examine how Latino men made meaning of their interactions with faculty members and how these interactions influenced their community college success. Latino men made meaning of their faculty experiences based on (a) the accessibility and approachability of the faculty member, (b) their own hesitancy to seek help from faculty members, and (c) the level of investment or authentic care exhibited by the faculty member. These student-faculty interactions influenced the way in which Latino men engaged both inside and outside of the classroom as well as the way in which they sought support from faculty members.

Keywords: faculty, Latino, men, men of color, engagement

Rodriguez, S. L., Massey, K., & Sáenz, V. B. (2016). Engaging Latino men in community colleges: The role of student-faculty interactions. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 23(2), 21-40.

Retaining Latino Males in Community Colleges: A Structural Model Explaining Sense of Belonging through Socio-Academic Integration

Hugo A. García, Texas Tech University
Tiberio Garza, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Due to the American compulsory educational system’s structured inequalities and the stratification mechanisms embedded within it, Latino students’ academic performance and higher education participation and persistence are problematic. The purpose of this study is to examine the factors that facilitate sense of belonging among Latino male students who are enrolled in community colleges. Additionally, this study will examine how these experiences influenced their persistence. We integrate Tinto’s (1993) constructs of academic and social integration, with Deil-Amen’s (2011) socio-academic integration construct to inform this study. Results indicate that socio-academic integration had the most contribution to sense of belonging. Policy implications suggest academic and student affairs of a community college could increase the sense of belonging among Latino males by focusing on socio-academic integration.

Keywords: Community colleges, Latinos, Persistence, Academic integration, Social integration

García, H. A., & Garza, T. (2016). Retaining Latino males in community colleges: A structural model explaining sense of belonging through socio-academic integration. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 23(2), 41-58.

Strategies for Navigating Financial Challenges among Latino Male Community College Students: Centralizing Race, Gender, and Immigrant Generation

Elvira J. Abrica, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Eligio Martinez, Jr., Cal Poly Pomona

This qualitative, longitudinal study explored the academic persistence of Latino men attending a two-year, public community college during the 2015-2016 academic year. Our analysis focused specifically on how participants navigated financial challenges they faced, particularly the ways in which race, gender, and immigrant generation shaped participants’ strategies for overcoming financial challenges. Findings indicate that the types of financial challenges participants faced were largely consistent with those identified in extant literature, but that they navigated and persisted despite these challenges by relying on a host of complex strategies not previously highlighted in extant literature. We offer recommendations for interventions for men of color that build on students’ motivation and strong desire to be successful, both economically and academically.

Keywords: financial challenges, Latinos, identity

Abrica, E. J., & Martinez, E., Jr. (2016). Strategies for navigating financial challenges among Latino male community college students: Centralizing race, gender, and immigrant generation. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 23(2), 59-72.

Latino Men in Two-Year Public Colleges: State-Level Enrollment Changes and Equity Trends over the Last Decade

Deryl K. Hatch, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Crystal E. Garcia, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Victor B. Sáenz, The University of Texas at Austin

Latino males continue to lag behind their peers in college enrollment and attainment, even as evidence suggests the 2-year public college sector in particular is making some strides to address this inequity. Yet there are few published figures of enrollment trends for Latino males in 2-year public colleges on a national or state-by-state basis to provide context that might informs local policy and practice. Using the most recent available data from IPEDS and the U.S. Census Bureau’s Community Population Survey, this study establishes trends over roughly the last decade in enrollment numbers and, through the use of equity indices, gains and losses in equitable representation in relation to relative local demographic changes. Results showed that while there has been overall national growth in Latino male enrollment and equity, the patterns varied widely by state, with some parts of the country and neighboring states experiencing relative successes and shortcomings in addressing inequities. Results provide a more nuanced picture of the status of Latino male participation in this sector with implications for policy, practice, and research.

Keywords: Latino men, demographics, educational equity

Hatch, D. K., Garcia, C. E., & Sáenz, V. B. (2016). Latino men in two-year public colleges: State-level enrollment changes and equity trends over the last decade. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 23(2), 73-92.

Managing Expectations and Striving to Succeed: A Portrait of a Latino Male Student’s Experience in an Early College High School

Taryn Ozuna Allen, University of Texas at Arlington

Early College High Schools (ECHS) are often located on a community college campus, and they provide students with the opportunity to simultaneously earn their Associate’s degree and high school diploma. By using Lawrence-Lightfoot’s approach to portraiture, I highlight the unique experiences of one Latino male enrolled in an ECHS in North Texas. The findings suggest that a key challenge for ECHS students is managing a demanding college course schedule while in high school. Among the advantages, this study reveals ECHS students can benefit from small classes, personalized instruction, and in-depth faculty student relationships. Recommendations for practice are offered based on the findings.

Keywords: community college, ECHS, Latino males

Allen, T. O. (2016). Managing expectations and striving to succeed: A portrait of a Latino male student’s experience in an early college high school. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 23(2), 93-105.