A community college HSI: the effect of an HSI designation on organizational identity
Carter, Todd L.
Patterson, Jean A.
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Carter, T. L., & Patterson, J. A. (2019). A Community College HSI: The Effect of an HSI Designation on Organizational Identity. Community College Review
Objective: Most community colleges receiving the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation have no specific mission to serve Hispanic students. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore how receiving an HSI designation affects the identity and practices of a community college. Method: Ten years of institutional documents covering the HSI transition period and 40 individual interviews were analyzed for common identity themes and indicators of a commitment to serving Hispanic students. Results: Participants attributed no meaning to the HSI designation; however, the identity labels did have meanings associated with being Hispanic-serving. A “serving all students” ideology combined with a color-blind approach and fear of external stakeholder reaction to the HSI designation were barriers to adopting an HSI identity. Contributions: Previous studies have relied on evidence of planned change as an indicator of an HSI identity. Unplanned change, however, has received very little attention. Our study demonstrates that unplanned changes in some practices and structures did result in movement toward being more Hispanic-serving as the college attempted to serve all students. As many HSIs have chosen not to address a formal change in identity, the unplanned change construct provides valuable data that might otherwise be overlooked.
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