The impact of Latinx faculty and administrators on Latinx student completion rates in California Community Colleges

Thesis (M.P.P.A., Public Policy and Administration)--California State University, Sacramento, 2020.

The lack of teacher racial/ethnic diversity is a prevalent national public policy issue, also facing California's K-12 schools and public universities. Given low completion rates of Latinx students in California Community Colleges, I studied whether institutions with higher percentages of Latinx faculty and administrators have higher completion rates among different Latinx student groups. This thesis contributes to the limited academic research regarding the institutional characteristics that drive differences in success rates for Latinx students in California community colleges. I carried out this research by assisting in data collection for a larger research project led by Professor Dr. Wassmer and doctoral student, Meredith Galloway. We collected cohort-level and institutional-level data using publicly available data from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office’s Student Success Scorecard and Datamart websites. We collected institutional-level and cohort-level data such as completion rates for first-time enrolled, first-year students who declared their goal was to either complete a certificate, associate degree, or transfer (or be transfer ready) to a college or university. I examined completion rates for five groups Latinx students designated prepared and economically advantaged, Latinx students designated prepared and economically disadvantaged, Latinx students designated unprepared and economically advantaged, Latinx students designated unprepared and economically disadvantaged, and overall cohort completion rates as a base comparison. Completion rates are measured by the percentage in the total entry-year cohort achieving their stated goal within six years. We examined 108 California community colleges from fall 2007 to fall 2011 and analyzed up to 540 observations. Using panel-data regressions, I found Latinx faculty and administrators had, in most cases, a positive but small impact on Latinx cohort completion rates. Additionally, I found regression results were Latinx faculty and administrators had no effect or a negative impact on Latinx cohort completion rates depending on the different classifications of Latinx students examined. These findings suggest the relationships I studied are complicated. I provide possible explanations to my results and discuss other institutional policy variables that support Latinx student outcomes in California Community Colleges. Finally, I discuss how these findings can contribute to future research studies and education policy discussions.