Dissertation Proposal Colloquium Announcement by Tiffany Cunningham

Announcement of Dissertation Proposal Colloquium

You are cordially invited to attend a
Dissertation Proposal Colloquium

Development of “College-Going” Culture: A Focused Ethnographic Case Study of a Predominantly Latinx Secondary School

May 3, 2022
4:00 PM (PDT)

Sarina Molina, EdD, Chair
C. Bobbi Hansen, EdD, Member
David Preston, PhD, Member

In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree

Doctor of Philosophy
Tiffany Cunningham

Because the doctoral candidate does not live in San Diego, this proposal presentation will be held on Zoom. Please email the student who is presenting if you are interested in attending.


Across the United States, Hispanics make up 18.5% of the population and of those peoples, 36% attend postsecondary education. However, only 14% of Hispanics graduate (U.S. Census Bureau, 2020). These students face significant barriers in learning about the implicit norms and practices in higher education and Hispanic, or Latinx, students, face additional barriers due to false deficit beliefs: families are often assumed to be uninterested when in reality, these families are often deferring to the authority of teachers and schools (Hansen-Thomas & Sourdot, 2015; Kiyama, 2018; Martinez & Mendoza, 2020). Additionally, first-generation college students must demonstrate a certain level of college readiness: college knowledge, measurable skills, and immeasurable skills (Chlup, et al., 2018; Duncheon, 2021; Morley, et al., 2021). However, Latinx students struggle to develop these skills due to academic and financial barriers (Martinez & Mendoza, 2020; Wilbur & Roscigno, 2016; Yasuike, 2019), regardless of the assistance provided by secondary schools through College and Career Centers and summer transition programs (Cunha et al., 2018; Howard & Sharpe, 2019). This research study will focus upon learning about the “college-going” culture on a secondary school’s campus through qualitative case study methodology (Bhattacharya, 2017; Fusch, et al., 2017). Guided by Critical Race Theory, particularly Latino Critical Theory (Delgado Bernal, 2002; Delgado & Stefancic, 2017), and Social Capital Theory (Entwistle, 1978; Yosso, 2005), this research study will develop a holistic analysis of the key components within “college-going” culture of a predominantly Latinx secondary school as perceived by students, families, teachers, counselors, administrators, the college and career specialists, and the Associated Student Body. This study will provide insights regarding ways in which secondary schools may be able to provide additional support for aspiring first-generation college students and highlight strategies and practices that are transferable to other secondary schools to be used by teachers, counselors, families, and administrators.

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