Serving Undocumented Latino/a Students

Serving Undocumented
Latino/a Students –
Understanding Campus
Leslie Jo Shelton, Ph.D.
University of Arkansas
[email protected]
Research Questions
How do undocumented Latina@ college students
demonstrate resilience as they navigate
higher education?
1. How does being undocumented shape a
student’s college experience?
2. What factors contribute to overcoming
challenges these students encounter in higher
Definitions and Terminology
Critical Race Theory (CRT) and LatCrit
Campus Climate
Study Background
—  Problem Statement
—  65,000 undocumented U.S. high school graduates a
year (American Immigration Council, 2011)
—  7,000-13,000 undocumented students enrolled in
college in the U.S. (Educators for Fair Consideration, 2012)
—  Policy; Awareness; Dehumanizing and Silencing
—  Significance
—  Economic, Ethical, and Humanistic
—  Purpose of Study and Contributions
—  Student narrativesà Fill gaps in literature à Raising
awareness and informing practice
Policy Context
Study Background
—  Literature Review
—  Immigration and Higher Education Policy
—  Design
—  16 participants
—  Seeking participants
—  Two rounds of semi-structured interviews
—  Skype audio/phone
—  Various four-year PWIs across the U.S.
—  Counter stories
Perceptions of Campus Climate
—  Desire for “typical college experience”
—  Social interactions
—  [White students] “…just didn’t want anything with me. Like
they’d just turn around and walk away or, you know, they’d say
really rude things as well. A lot of racist comments. I just
kinda got used to it…” -Zoe
—  Coming out
—  “Sometimes when you tell some people, you know, their
perspective changes about you and they think less of me, and
sometimes they don’t even want to talk to you.” -Alexa
—  Other undocumented students
—  College “wasn’t a friendly environment,” but I “made it through
the environment because of the people I surrounded myself
with.” -Maria
Discussion and Implications
—  Campus Climate
—  Sense of belonging and mattering
—  Microaggressions
—  Campus Services
—  Identity-based spaces
—  Educator skills
—  Ethic of Care
—  Grounded in voice and relationships
—  Student affairs values
Suggestions for Practice
—  Educator efforts
—  Raising awareness
—  Training
—  Resources
—  Support network
—  Ethic of care
—  University resources
Peer and educator mentor programs
Physical spaces
Inclusive practices
—  Benchmarking and Surveys
—  Interview Method: Skype or phone vs. Face to face
—  Heavy presence of students from states like CA
—  Various levels of “out” with status
—  Identity-based differences between interviewer and
Future Research
—  Longitudinal study of original participants
—  Diversify sample
—  Collaborations with K-12 regarding educational
Thank you!
Leslie Jo Shelton, Ph.D.
University of Arkansas
[email protected]