School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Cristie J McClendon


Acculturation, Cultural diversity, Cultural socialization, Latino assimilation, Latino self-perception, Latino serving institution


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to understand the self-perceptions of Latino students at an institution of higher education in Eastern Pennsylvania. Specifically, first and second year Latino student’s self-perceptions of campus assimilation and involvement in campus activities were studied. Latino assimilation into Western culture has been tumultuous. Although statistics report Latino college enrollment to be the second highest in the nation, second only to Asian enrollment, degree completion rates continue to be the lowest in the nation. Subsequently, a rise in Latino population is dramatically influencing the higher education classroom, and educators are confronted with meeting the educational needs of the Latino population. Furthermore, the assimilation process of the college Latino student is arduous, and the research on self-perceptions of Latino student academic and social integration on the college campus is sparse. The voice of 10 volunteer Latino students on a non-Hispanic serving college campus in Eastern Pennsylvania revealed three unique themes that influence belongingness, academic, and social integration on the college campus. The desire to provide better opportunities for themselves and others is the drive behind academic success. Tinto’s interactionalist theory serves as the foundation for exploration of the Latino student’s individual experiences of academic and social integration on the college campus. Triangulation is supported by individual interviews, student journaling, and use of the cultural congruity scale. Additionally, field journaling of researcher notes are used to provide further value. Finally, recommendations for future research based on Latino student voice are explored.