Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Lea Hubbard, PhD, Chairperson; Robert Donmoyer, PhD, Member; Antonio Jiménez-Luque, PhD, Member


sense of belonging, Hispanic faculty, Hispanic Serving Institutions


Over the past 20 years, student and faculty diversity in higher education has increased, but not at similar rates. Student diversity in higher education has surpassed faculty diversity and leaves a situation in which predominantly White faculty instruct a largely non-White student population. Studies have shown tenured and tenure track faculty of color (FOC) in predominantly White institutions (PWIs) often encounter a myriad of negative experiences such as microaggressions, perceived incapability, invalidation of published work, and lack of mentorship. We know little, however, about how tenured and tenure track Hispanic FOC experience higher education in two-year community college Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) in California where representation among students of color and FOC is greater. We also know little about how their experiences affect their sense of belonging.

This qualitative study explored factors that challenged and supported the experiences of tenured Hispanic faculty in nine California community college HSIs. Thirteen tenured faculty were interviewed to understand specifically how representation of Hispanic FOC and structural and cultural factors influenced their sense of belonging.

This study indicates that it was extremely important for Hispanic faculty to make connections with other Hispanic and non-Hispanic FOC to feel a sense of belonging. They made those connections, however, with individuals inside and outside the college. Moreover, rather than representation of FOC being the primary factor, it was the specific actions taken by administrators, faculty, staff, and students to recognize and support them that affected the extent to which they felt valued and accepted. When there was a caring and supportive tenure process, formal practices of recognition, and resources available to support their professional growth, these Hispanic tenured faculty felt they belonged. They felt marginalized however when events caused them to feel they were expected to fit the prototype of White faculty or when administrators and faculty did not do more to hire other FOC.

This study offers new directions for leaders who are focused on attracting, hiring, and retaining FOC. Challenging status quo practices are imperative in eradicating harmful institutional practices that detract from the experiences of faculty of color and their sense of belonging.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies