Applying Organizational Leadership Theory to Evaluate a Community College Orientation and Preparation Program with Predominantly Latino/a Students: Qualitative Interviews in a Service-Learning Project

Abstract

In this case study, a team of doctoral students—Luis M. Andrade, Angela Hoppe Nagao, Esmeralda Medrano, and Josephine Macharia Lowe—in a community college leadership program participated in a service-learning field project as part of an organizational theory course to analyze comparative outcomes of a college orientation and preparation program for a predominantly Latino/a student population at a local community college. Supervised by three community college leaders, the team sought to qualitatively understand Latino/a students' reasons to participate or not participate in an orientation program at the college. The team autonomously collected data and applied research methods, including qualitative interviews, to examine the situation, to analyze findings, and to provide recommendations. The objectives were to understand the real-world application of research and organizational theory in obtaining the course learning outcomes, while providing consultative service to the local community college. The chosen case involves a program that provides resources, orientation mentoring, and support and counseling services for underrepresented Latino/a students in Southern California. The findings revealed that traditional qualitative methods require extensive cultural understanding and planning to effectively reach Latino/a community college students and that orientation programs must continuously evolve their strategies to better assist underrepresented community college students.

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