Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Nydia C. Sánchez, PhD, Chair; Cheryl Getz, EdD, Member; Courtney Campbell, PhD, Member


academic advising, academic advisor, advisor, academic advising and servingness, hispanic serving institution, servingness, servingness advising, servingness advising approach, validation, validation theory, validating experiences, LatCrit, racialized experiences, indicators of servingness, holistic advising, holistic care, action research, collaborative action research


Research on student success is replete with studies showing that academic advisors play a vital role in shaping students' achievement, tenacity, and persistence (Hatch & Garcia, 2017; Hunter & White, 2004; Kuh et al., 2005; Kuhn, 2008; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005; Strayhorn, 2015). Using the multidimensional conceptual framework of servingness in HSIs (Garcia et al., 2019) as a lens, I conducted a collaborative action research study that examined an academic advising model that was recently launched at a large, public, four-year Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). Specifically, the purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of advisors who are part of the holistic care advising model (HCAM) and how they incorporated advising practices that align with indicators of servingness. In total, my action research study consisted of one pre-cycle and four cycles of data collection over a period of five months.

Primary data sources included three focus groups with six professional advisors, two males and four females, ranging from 28 to 45 years old, who were part of the HCAM. Supplemental data included a survey, as well as an institutional audit and review of public records regarding the institution's HSI designation and advising practices (e.g., newspaper articles, institutional reports and webinars, websites, etc.). Through the collaborative action research cycles and the data analysis process, five servingness advising practices as themes emerged, as well as validating experiences and racialized experiences from the perspective of the advisors. More specifically, findings detail the ways mentoring and support groups for Holistic Care Advisors (HCAs) provided space for transformational resistance and collaborative action. Despite serving within an HSI, HCAs faced challenges rooted in White-centric ideologies and hierarchies, with academic affairs personnel viewed as more knowledgeable and respected. My findings emphasize the essential needs of HCAs and the importance of continuous mentorship, support, and collaboration among advising professionals. Overall, this study outlines specific strategies that can be used to facilitate the continued professional development of advisors in the field with implications for policy and practice.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies

Available for download on Wednesday, December 04, 2024