Research Brief, Issue #13 Understanding Family Relationships for Queer Latino Men at Selective Higher Education Institutions
Authors: Antonio Duran, M.S., doctoral student at Ohio State University and David Perez Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Miami University in Oxford,
Although research on Latino men in higher education has increased over the past decade (Carrillo, 2013; Garcia, Huerta, Ramirez, & Patrón, 2017; Gloria, Castellanos, Scull, & Villegas, 2009; Pérez, 2017; Pérez & Taylor, 2016; Sáenz & Ponjuán, 2009; Sáenz, Ponjuán, & Figueroa, 2016), few scholars have examined the experiences of subgroups within this student population. Notably, only a small number of empirical studies have focused on the experiences of Latino college men who also identify as part of the queer community (Duran & Pérez, 2017; Eaton & Rios, 2017; Rios & Eaton, 2016). This research gap is alarming, considering that literature indicates queer Latino men frequently face marginalization from Latinx communities based on perceptions that they are more feminine (Hirai, Winkel, & Popan, 2014). Related to this point, one common theme that arises in this extant scholarship is the contentious nature of Latino men’s relationship with their immediate and extended family. Though Sáenz and Ponjuán (2009) argued that familismo [familism] can be pivotal to the success of Latino men, these relationships are different for individuals who identify as sexual minorities (Ryan, Huebner, Diaz, & Sanchez, 2009). With this in mind, Duran and Pérez (2017) critically examined how queer Latino college men navigate their familial relationships—both biological and chosen (Weston, 1991)—while enrolled in selective higher education institutions where they might contend with greater marginalization around their social identities. Using Yosso’s (2005) Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) framework, this research sought to elucidate queer Latino men’s engagement with familial capital from an asset-based perspective. In particular, we analyzed the stories of 15 Latino men who identified as part of the queer community utilizing qualitative data from TNSLMA. The two research questions that guided our study were as follows: (1) How do queer Latino men approach the topic of their sexuality with their biological family members while enrolled in higher education? (2) How do queer Latino men experience different forms of familial capital during their time in college that contributes to their success?
Findings from this study offer nuanced understandings of queer Latino undergraduate men as they navigate selective institu- tions. First, these results serve as a catalyst for scholars to challenge essentialist understandings of Latino men by initiating studies that critically examine how intersecting social identities (e.g., sexuality, disability, etc.) influence their collegiate expe- rience. For example, research that shed light on the experiences of queer Latina women (Revilla, 2010; Vega, 2016) and transgender Latinx individuals are much needed. Second, the narratives shared by the participants challenge higher education practitioners to consider the various types of familial relationships that queer Latino undergraduate men develop in college. These familial bonds with peers transcended traditional conceptualizations of friendship; instead, these chosen family relation- ships provided them with a sense of familismo that fosters the educational success of Latino college students (Pérez & Taylor, 2016; Sáenz & Ponjuán, 2009). Collectively, the findings presented in this study underscore the important role faculty, staff, and peers can play in queer Latino men navigating campus, achieving their goals, and resisting oppressive environments at selective higher education institutions.
Author: Elvira J. Abrica, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Education Administration, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
As an institutional researcher working in a California community college, Dr. Abrica was trained to calculate transfer, degree, and certificate completion rates using two specific frameworks: The Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Scorecard Framework for Student Success and California’s Student Equity Plan Disproportionate Impact Methodology. Although she knew how to calculate these success rates, Dr. Abrica wanted to know why success was measured differently according to these metrics and how her reporting efforts could facilitate a more robust understanding of success for men of color. Guided by her positionality as an institutional researcher (Milner, 2007), she explored the following research questions: 1) How do rates of transfer, degree and certificate completion differ specifically for men of color using two metrics identified within California Community College accountability frameworks: Scorecard and Student Equity? 2) What are some alternative ways of measuring the trajectories of men of color that can provide a more nuanced portrait of success among men of color? Thus, the purpose of this quantitative study, exploratory and descriptive in nature, was twofold: to understand how student outcomes—specifically for men of color—are measured and to explore ways in which my routine accountability reporting could underscore success among males of color who might otherwise not be included in standard success metrics.
To compare measures of success for men of color (as calculated using the two different methodologies), Dr. Abrica ran sim- ple descriptive statistics for the outcomes of transfer, certificate, and degree completion. In order to explore potential alter- native measures of success among men of color, she isolated cases in which students had not received a degree, certificate, or transferred after six years (between fall 2009-fall 2015), those who were not “successful” by standards outlined in the two accountability frameworks. Data were accessed through her position as an institutional researcher, wherein she routinely reported success using the two frameworks. Permission was granted to explore enrollment for men of color who would oth- erwise not be included among six-year completers and transfers.
Findings from this study show that rates of success for men of color were similar between the two frameworks. The most significant difference in measures of success using the two frameworks lies in the ways the initial cohorts, from which rates of degree, certificate, and transfer are drawn six years later, are calculated. The Equity cohort included 676 Black, Latino/Hispanic, Native, and Asian males while the SPAR cohort included only 387. This is explained by the parameters for the initial cohort required by SPAR. Enrollment patterns of those men of color who did not complete or transfer in a six-year period (N=517) revealed that 26.7% of students did not stay enrolled in fall 2009 and that 13% did not enroll past fall 2009. Yet, 13 of the total 517 men of color (who, again, did not transfer or complete within six-year per both the Scorecard and Equity frameworks), were consistently en- rolled each semester between Fall 2009 and Fall 2015. Similarly, 14 of the 517 men were consistently enrolled for two years.
In exploring enrollments among non- completer and non-transfer students, she uncovered consistent enrollment patterns, what Dr. Abrica refers to as an indicator of student resilience. Resilience is defined as the ability to persist toward educational goals in light of racial marginalization experienced in post-secondary contexts. The introduction of the metric of student resilience complicates routine accountabil- ity that, too often, reinforces a narrative of student failure rather than holding institutions accountable for providing equitable opportunities to all students. The metric of resilience, perhaps, moves us toward measures that are reflective both of institu- tional effectiveness and individual agency employed to navigate those contexts.In terms of the two main accountability frameworks, the Equity Plan framework allowed for the inclusion of students without a valid social security number. Such cohort parameters have obvious implications for undocumented students who would not be included among those with a valid social security number. Researchers might consider including in routine reporting an estimate of undocumented students and track both student resilience and institutional effectiveness in support- ing success. Finally, findings from this study extend beyond the context of California. Institutional researchers across the country should continue to reflect on ways in which data tell a story about both institutions and students. Narratives of suc- cess of men of color and other historically marginalized populations must be balanced and reflective of their resilience, ef- fort, achievement, and investment in the community college.
Research Brief, Issue #11 Latino Men and Masculinities: Community College Transfer Experiences in Texas, California, and Florida
Authors: Sarah L. Rodriguez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Community College Leadership/Higher Education, at Iowa State University, Marissa Vasquez, Ed.D., Assistant Professor in the Depart- ment of Administration, Rehabilitation, and Postsecondary Education (ARPE) at San Diego State University (SDSU), and Cristobal Salinas Jr., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Leadership and Research Methodology Department, in the College of Education, at Florida Atlantic University.
This Project MALES research brief focuses on how masculinity influences the community college to four-year university transfer experience. Further, the phenomenological study referenced in this brief focused on examining the lived socialization and masculinities experiences of 36 undergraduate Latino men who had transferred from a community college to a four-year university in Texas, California, or Florida. Participants were over the age of 18, self-identified as Latino or Hispanic, self-identified as men, had transferred from a community college to a four-year institution, and were currently enrolled as undergraduate students at a four-year public institution. This study was guided by the following research questions: 1) What prior gender socialization experiences do men bring with them as they transition from the community college to the four-year college experience? 2) How do masculinities and identity conflicts affect male students’ attitudes and behaviors during this transition?
This study found that Latino men brought prior gender and racial/ethnic socialization patterns with them during the transfer process. These socialization patterns influenced the ways in which Latino men engaged with the college-going process and shaped their perspectives about masculinities. In order to understand men as complex individuals, future research will need to consider intersectionality to uncover the multiple identities of men who are transfer students. Student organizations for men of color could also be studied to explore how they impact Latino men throughout the transfer process and during their experience in college. Understanding how programming in these areas at com- munity colleges affects students after transfer could shed new light on how interventions enable students to succeed and how their identities develop. The findings of this study can also inform practice and policy in higher education. The findings suggest benefits from and a need for spaces on college campuses for discussing issues related to masculinity. Creating such spaces and support structures at the community col- lege level may help to better prepare men for their transfer experiences and take advantage of such structures more readily when they move to four-year colleges. Policy makers should also look at men as complex individuals and consider their multiple intersecting identities. This view of men should be considered at both the initial conception of policies and throughout evaluation and refinement as well.
Research Brief, Issue #10 Latino Men in Two-Year Public Colleges: State-Level Enrollment Changes and Equity Trends over the Last Decade.
Author Deryl K. Hatch-Tocaimaza, Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
This Project MALES research brief utilizes the most recent available data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and the U.S. Census Bureau’s Community Population Survey (CPS) to establish trends over the last decade in overall enrollment numbers and, through the use of equity indices (Bensimon, Hao, & Bustillos, 2006), gains and losses in equitable representation in relation to relative local demographic changes. IPEDS provided enrollment numbers for all U.S.-based and Title IV-participating institutions in the 2-year public sector, while CPS provided yearly estimates of population characteristics at the state level. The research questions guiding this study were: 1) How have enrollment patterns for Latino males developed over time in two-year public colleges in different parts of the country? 2) How do these changes in proportional representation in the study body reflect gains or losses in terms of equity in relation to local demographic changes?
While trends in national enrollment, particularly within public 2-year colleges, shows that participation of Latino males have increased overall, results of this study provide a more nuanced look into the uneven distribution of enrollment and equity trends across geographical areas. Parsing out and examining the variation in Latino college student enrollment and equity by geography matters for a few reasons. Rather than rely on statistics that reflect national trends which may substantially differ by state context, the results of this study provides practitioners and policymakers a clearer picture of the status of Latino equity within their own state and the extent to which public 2-year institutions are effectively recruiting and enrolling Latino students. Results of this study provide evidence that equity gains and losses that have taken place over time may be gendered, perhaps due to different family and migration patterns in established vs. “new” Latino destinations. This finding entails different policy emphases to better serve Latino males who face different kinds of barriers that are in many ways a function of geography (Hatch, Mardock-Uman, and Garcia, 2016). It is imperative for states to critically examine how educational opportunities are afforded to men throughout the education pipeline. As shown in these findings, the results that some states have within the same region can be drastically different, begging the question of what some are doing relatively better or worse than their neighbors to serve Latino men in either place.
Research Brief, Issue #9 Catching them Early: An Examination of Chicano/Latino Middle School Boys’ Early Career Aspirations
Author Eligio Martinez Jr., Visiting Assistant Professor, California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
This Project MALES research brief focuses on acknowledging the unique experiences of Chicano/Latino boys and examining the formulation of their post-secondary aspirations. This study uses four interrelated theoretical perspectives to guide the understanding of how Chicano/Latino middle school boys may formulate their post-secondary aspirations: Bandura’s (1977 social cognitive theory, Bourdieu’s (1983) social and cultural capital theory, and Yosso’s (2005) community cultural wealth model. Taken together, these theoretical perspectives describe the multi-faceted nature of Chicano/Latino middle school boy’s post-secondary aspirations development. The qualitative study referenced in this brief takes place at Dolores Middle School (DMS, pseudonym), located in a historically white community with a recent influx of Latino immigrants in the Pacific Northwest. The study examined the aspirational development of 11 Chicano/Latino boys derived from a representative sample of DMS 8th grade Chicano/Latino students who participated in a larger year and a half ethnographic study regarding their socialization. The following research questions are what guided this study: 1) How do Latino middle school students formulate their college and career aspirations? What obstacles or resources, if any, do they perceive as potentially limiting or supporting their success? 2) What individuals and experiences influence their early aspirations? How do these individuals shape students’ aspirations?
Findings from this paper highlight the need to focus on how students formulate their career plans in earlier stages of the pipeline and the significance that having sources of information can have on the development of future aspirations. In examining these early career decisions and factors that relate to choice can provide insight for school counselors who seek to promote the academic and career development of all students (Akos, Lambie, Milsom & Gilbert, 2007). As practitioners continue to search for ways to keep students engaged through different segments, exposing students to college culture and providing them with information can make the path to college and careers more clear and allow them to remain hopeful about their futures. Providing students with information about college and different careers early, can allow students to see the feasibility of pursuing certain careers and allow them to maintain high aspirations for the future.
Research Brief, Issue #8 Caught in-between: AfroLatino Males in Higher Education
Author Claudia García-Louis, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Texas San Antonio
This Project MALES Research Brief focuses on highlighting the lived experiences of six self-identified undergraduate AfroLatino males attending a small, urban, commuter campus in the northeastern United States. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with the participants (Patton, 2002). The guiding research questions for the study were: (1) How do AfroLatino males view their themselves in relation to Latina/os and African-Americans on campus? (2) How do AfroLatino males mold their racial, ethnic, and cultural identity? Findings from this study show that AfroLatino males are forced to traverse socially constructed categories, that in effect, thrust them into (in)visibility through the social investment of African American and Latinx nomenclature. Based on the findings, AfroLatino males feel overlooked on campus. Despite campus being located in a very diverse city and neighborhood, not one participant could identify a single program, service, club, activity, or class that was dedicated to AfroLatinxs. Moreover, in addition to navigating campus culture and academics, they were also forced to make daily decisions about whether to disclose their ethnic, cultural, and/or racial identity.
Research Brief, Issue #7 Latino Male High School Math Achievement: The Influential Role of Psychosocial Factors
Author Ismael Fajardo, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Associate. University of Washington Seattle
This Project MALES Research Brief focuses on understanding and investigating the psychological, social, and cultural factors that influence standardized math achievement for Latina/o students in a high school context, as it is conducive to completing a high school and college degree. The following research questions are what guided this study: 1) What are the direct effects of psychological, social, and cultural factors on eleventh-grade math achievement for Latino students? 2) Does the PSC model vary across gender? Findings from this study show that Latino male high school students’ math achievement is significantly influenced by psychological, social, and cultural factors.
Research Brief, Issue #6 English, Español, and “Academia”: The crossover socialization of multilingual Latino male faculty in education
Author Cristobal Salinas Jr., Ph.D.,Assistant Professor, Florida Atlantic University
This Project MALES Research Brief explored the lived experiences of how Latino male faculty members make meaning of their socialization into the academia and how socialization impacts their decisions to pursue full-time and tenure-track positions in the field of education. As such, the following research questions guided this study: 1.) How do tenure-track and full-time tenured Latino male faculty members enter the field of education? 2.) How do tenure-track and full-time tenured Latino male faculty members make meaning of their socialization into the academy? Findings from this study suggest that through their socialization, Latino male faculty are crossing intellectual, emotional, psychological, and geographical borders. .
Research Brief, Issue #5 Finding Los Científicos Within: Latino Male Science Identity Development in the First College Semester
Author: Charles Lu, Ph.D., Executive Director, Gateway Scholars and Summer Bridge Programs, UT-Austin
This Project MALES Research Brief focuses on examining science experiences of Latino males majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The qualitative, phenomenological study referenced in this brief examined their first semester science experiences using a science identity framework. The two main research questions guiding this research study were: (1) How do Latino males majoring in STEM disciplines ascribe meaning to their science experiences in the first semester of college? (2) How do Latino males’ science identities develop in their first college semester? The findings from this study bring attention to the ways Latino males’ science identities are deconstructed, challenged, and shaped in their first semester of college. Many of the men enjoyed the prestige and exclusivity that they associated with STEM, and this affected the way they constructed their reality within and outside the scientific world.
Research Brief, Issue #4 How Latino Male Cope with Academic and Social Obstacles During College
Author: Sarah Rodriguez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Iowa State University.
This Project MALES Research Brief explored the academic and social obstacles that first and second generation Latino male college students encountered within a predominantly White, research intensive, and highly selective institution and examined how these students coped with those obstacles. Using a qualitative, phenomenological approach, their work explored the following research questions: (1) How do Latino men experience and make meaning of the academic and social obstacles that they encounter during college? (2) How do Latino men utilize coping responses to overcome academic and social obstacles? The study referenced in this brief is from ten semi-structured interviews with Latino male undergraduates at the University of Texas at Austin.
Research Brief, Issue #3 An Intersectionality Analysis of Latino Men in Higher Education and their Help-Seeking Behaviors
Author: Nolan Cabrera, Ph.D., Assistant Professor University of Arizona.
This Project MALES Research Brief focuses on exploring the intersection of being Latino and being male and its relationship to educational achievement, within the context of Arizona and anti-Latina/o policies. The qualitative study referenced in this brief is from eight semi-structured interviews with Latino male undergraduates at the University of Arizona. Exploring (1) The academic and racial stresses do Latino men face during their undergraduate experiences, (2) The help-seeking behaviors do Latino men engage in to manage the stresses in their lives, and (3) The relationship between help-seeking behaviors and Latino masculinity. The narratives of these Latino male students were illuminating. They tended to experience stresses in their lives stemming from both racism and academic struggles; however, they seldom engaged in help-seeking behaviors. Part of this avoidance stemmed from fear of vulnerability.
Research Brief, Issue #2 Experiences of Latino Male Students Enrolled in History Black Colleges and Universities
Author: Taryn O. Allen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Texas, at Arlington.
This Project MALES Research Brief focuses on understanding how the learning environment of Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) could counter the achievement gaps confronting Latino male students. The qualitative, phenomenological study referenced in this brief, explored the lived experiences (Creswell, 2014) of ten Latino male undergraduate students enrolled in to two, four-year HBCUs in Texas. The guiding research questions for this study were: (1) What individuals, relationships, and experiences, if any, promote sense of belonging? (2) What individuals, relationships, and experiences, if any, hinder sense of belonging?;; and (3) What do Latino males suggest to promote their sense of belonging at HBCUs? Sense of belonging was measured using Strayhorn’s (2012) concept of sense of belonging in college.
Research Brief, Issue #1 The National Study on Latino Male Achievement in Higher Education
Author: David Perez II, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Miami University of Ohio.
This Project MALES Research Brief focuses on highlighting a set of qualitative studies that integrate two asset-based theories—Yosso’s (2005) community cultural wealth framework and Schreiner’s (2010) thriving quotient, to understand how 100 Latino males employed different forms of capital to thrive academically, intrapersonally, and interpersonally at 20 selective universities. TNSLMA represents the first national and largest qualitative study to focus on how Latino males conceptualize and embody success in higher education.