Introduction The focus of this research project is to take a closer look at a group that is largely underrepresented at Miami University. We chose to research the Latin American community because its population makes up 2.8% of the undergraduate population (R. Scott, personal
communication, November 15, 2011), which is one of the smallest percentages of the student

body, making it a narrow and unique group to observe. In a grander scheme of things, Hispanics are the fastest growing demographic in the United States. At the same time, the Latino population is on average already at a socio-economic disadvantage in the US. As is the case in most disadvantaged communities, education is a problem. Since the economy and workforce are are increasingly requiring higher education levels, the economic gap could become more severe in the future without growing rates of higher education for this demographic. Fortunately, nationwide, this fear is reversing. Currently, Hispanics make up 16% of the US population and 19% of the college age 18-24 year olds. (Pew Institute, 2011) After years of a enduring educational gap between the Hispanic community and the general population, a similar growth has finally been encountered in Latinos in recent years in higher education; Hispanic enrollment spiked by 24% from 2009 – 2010, bringing the United States college population to an all-time high. (Pew Institute, 2011). Nonetheless, we must address that although Latino enrollment in the US is spiking, Hispanics continue to be the least educated minority in the United States, at 13% of college completion for 25-29 yr olds. (Pew Institute, 2011) The disparity between enrollment and completion of college may lead to conclusions that there is still an achievement gap with a universal retention problem within this population.

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On a local level, the average national growth of Latinos in college is severely lacking at Miami University as the percentage of Latino enrollment has remained pretty stagnant for the past 6 years only increasing from 1.9% in 2006 to 3.5% in 2011 (R. Scott, personal
communication, November 15, 2011). While we praise Miami University‘s overall graduation rate

of Latinos at 77% , the highest out of all minority groups at Miami, we must acknowledge that our latest retention rates of Latinos is still significantly smaller than that of Anglo-Saxon students (which averages around 83% according to Dr. Ron Scott (2011). Through this research, we thus seek to find reasons and causes for the difference in collegiate statistics between Latinos and the majority of students at Miami University in order to infer possible solutions to these problems. We believe that these problems (and solutions to them) come from interaction between the university and students that lead to attraction, development, and attrition of Latino students. Our research will therefore evaluate how the school recruits, develops, and retains students of Hispanic descent. We will use primary quantitative and qualitative data to identify if the university is using effective or ineffective strategies to succeed in these three categories. We will also compare them to existing research to find points of similarities and differences to the general Latino student population in the United States and uses these to infer what problems exist at Miami and how they can be solved. This research will attempt to equally encompass all three areas of interest to achieve a holistic and educated analysis of the Latino community on campus. Each area will be dissected and analyzed to fully understand each phase of the cycle of interaction between the university and its Latino students. In evaluating the attraction segment, we will evaluate Miami‘s recruitment effort and effectiveness from both the university faculty/staff as well as current Latino student perspectives. We intend to focus on what efforts have been put forth by Miami University to specifically
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recruit Latin American students as well as what factors attracted these students to the university. This includes personal enlistment efforts, scholarships and recruitment programs. In evaluating the development segment, we plan to discover what support systems and resources are available specifically for Latino students, if any. Additionally, we want to evaluate student‘s satisfaction of the university‘s efforts to foster a multicultural environment and Latino community. Within this segment we will attempt to create an accurate portrayal of the Latin American students experience at Miami University today and how it has changed from past years. This picture will include mention of programming, organizations, and other resources associated to Latino culture for Miami students. To assess the attrition segment, we plan to compare Miami University‘s efforts in retaining Latino students and the results of these efforts to general results from existing research in retaining this demographic in higher education. We believe that from student satisfaction rates and complaints we can identify Miami‘s successful initiatives and areas that need improvement in order to better retain this minority group. We will additionally use perspectives from former students that transferred to other institutions to get first person perspectives on the predominant factors that play a part in transferring to other schools. This is crucial to understand what makes the college experience successful for Latino students. While encouraging college enrollment among Latinos is clearly important, increased enrollments alone will not close the achievement gap because graduation rates still falter. Overall we hope to accomplish a holistic analysis of the university‘s efforts to attain, develop, and retain this specific demographic of human capital. Furthermore, we would like to suggest further research about Miami‘s Latino students and some customized strategies to

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improve the Latino community at Miami. Since there is a lack of research for the factors pertaining to Latino college enrollment and experiences, we hope our research will be taken into consideration at Miami University as a basis to better address the Latino population‘s specific needs at this school to at least in part begin making a difference in defeating this educational gap.

II. Literature Review Our secondary research naturally focused on Latino/Hispanic college students. For convenience purposes we will use the terms ―Hispanic‖ and ―Latino‖ interchangeably as the main difference – being that Latino refers to all countries belonging to Latin America whereas Hispanic refers to Spanish-speaking countries aside from Spain – will not severely affect our data or results. There is limited research that focuses on organizational behavior of Latino students in four year universities. Thus, during our research we looked at some of the existent articles and data relevant to Latinos in four year schools but also expanded our search to include literature that pertains to Latino students in community colleges. For our purpose we will generalize the term ―Latino student‖ to mean all collegiate Latinos/Hispanics (whether they are in a 2 year or 4 year school) unless we make an explicit differentiation between them. Within both realms of community college and 4 year universities, we examined articles and studies with data relevant to the recruitment, development, and retention of Latinos students. The literature that pertained to recruitment of Latino students included several articles that outlined the predominant factors that affected Latino interest in higher education and enrollment to be (1) pre-collegiate preparation (2) family relations as well as (3) financial support.

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One of the primary factors that have been identified tying the difficulty with recruiting Latino students is their pre-college academic preparation. We can then assume that a better secondary education can help Latino students aspire to have higher levels of education, making them more accessible to recruiters, but Latinos generally do not have these high-standard academic experiences (Zarate & Burciaga, 2010). According to Lozano and Huerta (2009) Concrete aspirations of higher education and readily available information about higher education, can help make the difference these student need to be inclined to partake in the college experience. Sometimes specific high school program to prepare these students for college and make them aware of certain opportunities are helpful in creating attainable higher educational goals (2009), as the researchers found, ―Students who became exposed to information about college opportunities [in high school] ….had higher, more stable aspirations than students who did not participate in an intervention program‖ (2009).Without special programs, ―anticipation of college enrollment has [generally] tended to decline as students progressed through their high school careers‖ (Crisp & Nora, 2010). Alongside preparatory experiences, parents also play a large role in higher education consideration for Latino students. This factor should be considered in recruitment because it heavily differentiates Latinos from non-Latinos as the ―differences [in how these two groups] approach the higher education experience….start with the role of the family‖ (Gilroy, 2010). Recruiters must consider that ―Latinos rely most exclusively on family and friends in choosing a school‖ (Person & Rosenbaum, 2006). This includes parents, who are a strong source of support for Latino students, as ―moral support for education is the foundation—perhaps the essence—of how Latino immigrant parents…..participate in their children‘s schooling,‖(Auerbach, 2006).
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Family is such an important part of the Latino social relationships that the lack of this moral parental support might be enough to deter students from schools or higher education all together. Higher education institutions must then ―think differently about recruiting Hispanics. They need to speak to the heart as well as the intellect." (2) It requires more than presenting the university and academic excellence statistics to the child, ―you have to sell the college and the student's aspiration to the family" (Gilroy, 2010). Another important factor that is especially relevant to the Latino community is the availability of financial aid to Latino students and information about it. According to Zarate and Burciaga (2010) ―Latino and African-American students responded positively to financial aid offers, more so than white students.‖ Because of the undeniable census data on the lower socioeconomic status of the average Latino family, ―improving financial aid access [is] as important as increasing college access‖ to Latinos (Zarate & Burciaga, 2010). As aforementioned, it is not just the availability of funds that is important, but also the dissemination of its availability. O‘Connor and his research partners claimed that ―studies consistently show that Hispanics are at a major disadvantage compared to Blacks and Whites in their access to college financial information‖. They also mention that this lack of access to information affects college choices since these students are ―discouraged from attending 4-year colleges, even if accepted, for fear of not qualifying for need-based financial aid‖ (O‘Connor, Hammack, & Scott, 2010). When we looked for research pertaining to the development on Latino students in collegiate campuses, we primarily focused on programs and resources for help available for students and how they positively or negatively affect the students‘ cognitive and academic

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development. We found that Latino student success was primarily tied to (1) the ability to contribute to their educational institution, (2) social integration and (3) faculty interaction. Latino students involved in higher education want to be able to feel that they are an important and valuable part of their campuses. Previous research has stated, that there is a relationship between Latino students‘ obligations to give back to the community and Latino/a students‘ sense of belonging (Nunez, 2009). Similarly, it has been found that ―membership in a social-community organization was significantly related to Latino students‘ sense of belonging…‖ (Crisp & Nora, 2010). Additional engagement, such as acquiring an on-campus job ―may exert a positive pull to college [for Latinos] by providing the opportunity to interact with faculty and peers.‖ (2010) another heavily important variable that affects development of Latino students is social integration. While most research has ―failed to identify a direct relationship between social integration and persistence in college‖ (Crisp & Nora, 2010) we believe that this is an important factor for the development of young Latinos in college campuses. There is evidence that ―it is possible that ethnic networks in college with a larger, more diverse student body might allow Latinos to feel a part of and participate in the mainstream,‖ (Person & Rosenbaum, 2006). This emphasizes the positive effect a Latino presence has for students of the same ethnicity. Within this factor lies the idea of Chain Migration. According to Pearson & Rosenbaum (2006) Latino students tend to choose schools where they have established connections to the Latin American community; such is the case in Hispanic Serving Institution – which are colleges and universities that have been identified as serving a certain percentage (usually >25%) of Latino students. Research has found that for students attending HIS‘s, who are able to achieve academically, the

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―odds of being successful were found to be 1.50 times [larger than those not attending HIS‘s]‖ (Crisp & Nora, 2010) Lastly, it has been further found that faculty involvement with Latino students is a primary factor developing this population. Hubbard (2010) stated that, ―by fostering an institutional ethos regarding a belief in the ability of all students to learn, administrators and faculty can help students feel welcomed into the academy and unafraid to explore new learning challenges.‖ This can more easily happen at institutions that predominantly serve students of color where ―students are more likely to encounter role models who can reinforce aspirations for academic pursuits‖ (Hubbard & Stage, 2010). This might be due to the predominantly small size of these type of institutions or the solidarity found between faculty and students that share the same ethnicity. Nonetheless, all staff and administration at universities must be well equipped to handle multicultural students, including Latinos. This is especially true for mental health administration as ―it is important that college and university counseling center staff members be able to provide culturally sensitive and competent mental health services to these populations should they seek such intervention‖ (Constantino, Wilton, & Caldwell, 2003). Blacks and Latinos reported more need for these services than other ethnicities (2003). The retention portion of our research naturally overlaps with development as we still hold that (1) social integration plays a big factor in retaining Hispanic student as they develop themselves in an institution. Nonetheless, a big determining factor for maintaining Latino students in an academic institution is (2) competent or improving academic performance. Research has found that ―Latino/a students who perceived their campus as ethnically diverse were more likely to persist in college‖ (Hubbard & Stage, 2010). Whether this support is from a Latino community or not, this social support must be available and effective in making

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Latino students welcomed and accepted since research shows ―of the reasons Hispanic students drop out at such high rates is that they feel they are facing this situation on their own‖ (Crisp & Nora, 2010). During times of stress or when they are outside of their comfort zone, Latino coping mechanisms may not be prepared to adequately do it alone. It has been shown that ―a lack of support [is] associated with less successful coping‖ for college students (Young, Johnson, Hawthorne, & Pugh, 2011). As a matter of fact Schneider and Ward analyzed the social support of 35 Latino college students and deducted that ―if universities increase support from parents, teachers, and peers there might be a significant increase in Latino students' college adjustment.‖ (Young, Johnson, Hawthorne, & Pugh, 2011) Latino students choosing to stay in a certain institution can also be highly related to academics. This could even be an issue present even prior to college attendance. Latinos have ―distinct and inferior school experiences‖ prior to higher education experiences.‖ (Zarate & Burciaga, 2010) These are directly related to attrition in colleges, which can be attributed to the fact that these Latino students were unprepared to engage in college level schoolwork (Crisp & Nora, 2010). The reverse is true as well since academic performance is highly influential in persistence in college. Apparently ―even the perceptions that they had made cognitive gains during their first year in college were influential in Hispanic students‘ decisions to remain enrolled in college‖ (2010). students.

III. Purpose and Objective

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Overall, our secondary research highlighted the main problems and success factors that Latino students have in higher education when they are attracted, and attempted to be developed and retained by their educational institutions. We will proceed to see if these factors play a part in Miami‘s Latino population and where the university is faltering in interacting with these. It will be especially interesting to observe these factors playing out in a campus where Latinos are very obviously underrepresented. This research has the potential to shed light as to why there are so few Latino students in largely homogenous campuses, if they are culturally satisfied, and what possible solutions there are to attract and retain them.


Sample Our information came from quantitative and qualitative sources including surveys and

interviews. Interviews were conducted among both faculty and students. Two faculty members were chosen for this interview and both were selected because of their ties to the Latin American community. They were contacted and briefed on the nature of the research. After explaining their rights as interviewees, they consented to participate in the research acknowledging their rights. The first faculty member interview was Dr. Ronald Scott, the Associate Vice President of Institutional Diversity. The second interview was with Yvania Garcia, Assistant Director of Diversity Affairs and Coordinator of Diverse Student Development in the Office of Diversity Affairs. Students were selected for interviews based on their affiliation with Latin American culture on campus. Alyssa Hopun, a junior at Miami University, was identified as a student with strong ties to the Latin American community. She is involved in several on campus organizations and strongly identifies as a Latin American. She was chosen to provided a student perspective on the Latin American community as an involved member. On the other perspective, Daniel

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Gonzalez, a senior Latinos student was selected to provide his views as a Latin American that does not strongly identify with the Latin American community at Miami University. Next, Hugo Cruz was interviewed to provide the perspective of a student that does not strongly identify as a Latin American and has transferred from Miami University. A second transfer student Teresa Ibañez was also interviewed, to provide the insight of a student who somewhat identifies as a Latin American. Lastly, Alexandra Annay, a 2006 alum of Latina descent who was heavily involved in Latino culture as an undergrad, was selected to interview on the topic. Surveys were distributed to students and faculty to gather aggregate perspectives and information. Out of the 150 surveys that were distributed to Latin American students, 62 were completed and returned. Students were selected based on their affiliation with Latin American organizations or classes. This was done because students with a direct relation to the Latin American community at Miami would have a better perspective on the issue. This is a valid representation of the Latino community at Miami because according to information provided by Ronald Scott out of the 14,936 undergraduate students, 2.8% are of Latino ethnicity. This means there are around 418 Latino students on campus. The 62 survey responses indicate a representation of almost 15%. 93.5% of students were between the ages of 18 and 23. Their year in school varied, but they were relatively consistent in distribution among first through fourth year in school. Of those surveyed, 27.4% were male and 72.6% were female. Their home town and major varied extensively. However, 61.3% of students were not first generation college students and 38.7% were. Also, 83.9% of those surveyed identify as Latin America and 16.1% do not. Out of the 40 faculty surveys distributed, 19 were completed. Faculty were chosen based on their familiarity of the Latin American community based on the classes they taught or

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department affiliation. This measure was chosen because these faculty members would have more insight on the current efforts being put forth by the university and able to identify possible areas of improvement. Out of survey responses, 29.4% of faculty identified as being Latino American and 70.6% did not.


Procedures and Measures

To infer results from this primary data, information was compiled from our different samples and comparatively analyzed. Interviews were conducted in person based off of questions that were established prior to the interview. These questions were specifically focused on the subject‘s personal experience and attitudes about Miami University‘s methods in attracting, developing and retaining Latin American students. Researchers were permitted and encouraged to ask further questions depending on the response of the interviewee. Surveys were also created and specifically focused on addressing the same three areas as the interviews. These surveys were created and maintained electronically using on online survey engine called Survey Monkey. This kept surveys organized and allowed for easier analysis of data. Surveys were distributed via email through list serves and organizations which primarily included that of the Association of Latin and American Students and the Spanish and Latin American Studies Departments. Two separate surveys were created for each target group, including different and similar questions. Several questions were similar to gauge how consistent faculty and student opinions were. For the most part, questions differed to capture the perspective each group would have.

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Questions and surveys were created to gauge faculty and student perspectives on the efforts being put forth by Miami University to address the needs of current and potential Latino students. In evaluating the attraction segment, we structured questions to gain a better understanding on the existing efforts and success of the university at attracting and recruiting Latino students. In evaluating the development segment, we specifically asked questions to further understand the support systems and resources available to Latino students that have been identified in previous studies as integral to Latinos success in higher education. Lastly we wanted to address the retention segment by creating questions that revealed student and faculty opinion regarding Miami‘s success in retaining Latino students.


Methods and Results

To analyze the data, we generated statistical information and graphical representations of information gathered from surveys along with comparatively analyzing information gathered from interviews. First we will analyze answers from questions specifically focused on Miami University‘s efforts to attract Latin American students. We presented four factors that could potentially influence Latino students to enroll at Miami University and used a Likert scale (from 1 to 5) to ask both faculty and students to rate how motivating each factor was. These four factors included scholarships offered to Latinos, a sense of Latin American community, recruiters targeted toward Latinos and Miami Latino organizations. Our results showed some consistencies and some discrepancies. When looking at student data, we discovered that a majority of students found all four factors between ―Not motivating‖ and ―Somewhat motivating‖ a higher number of responses in each motivating factor were concentrated in ―Not

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Motivating‖. The only exception to this was scholarships offered to Latinos. In this category, 39.3% said the factor was not motivating at all, but 29.5% said that it was highly motivating. This data indicates that of Latino students surveyed, their decision to enroll at Miami University was not strongly influenced by Miami University initiatives except for scholarships. 1 (Not Motivating) 39.3% 2 11.5% 3 (Somewhat Motivating) 9.8% 4 9.8% 5 (Highly Motivating) 29.5%

Scholarships offered to Latinos Senses of 45.9% Latin American Community Recruiters 52.5% targeted towards Latinos Miami Latino 44.3% Organizations













To analyze this information further, we ran a cross tabulation analysis to only look at students that identified as Latin American. This allowed us to better understand the group that is more influenced by these factors. We found that 71.2% of respondents that identified themselves as Latin American said that they felt they had been recruited by Miami University. Also looking more closely at this group, the only factor that they rated as motivating or highly motivating to enroll at Miami was also scholarships, which only came out to 30.8%. When analyzing the motivational influence of these same four factors by faculty members we received more mixed results. When looking at scholarships offered to Latino students, the rating with the biggest response frequency was a 5 (Highly Motivating) indicating faculty thought this was a highly motivational factor. 58.8% of faculty surveyed rated ―A sense of Latin American community‖ as a 1 or 2 (Not Motivatig), indicating that they do not think this
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is a highly motivating factor for Latinos to enroll at Miami. When looking at recruiters targeted towards Latino students, faculty has mixed results that spanned over the entire rating scale. Faculty also thought that Miami Latino organizations were between more spread out, but the scores were concentrated in the middle of the scale. When looking at student and faculty results on this question, we can draw the conclusion that faculty think that Miami initiatives are slightly more influential than students do, but still not highly motivating factors. 1 (Not Motivating) 6.3% 2 25.0% 3 (Somewhat Motivating) 6.3% 4 25.0% 5 (Highly Motivating) 37.5%

Scholarships offered to Latinos Senses of 29.4% Latin American Community 23.5% Recruiters targeted towards Latinos Miami Latino 6.3% Organizations













Additionally, when breaking down the recruitment factors for Latino students, we cross tabulated students that identify with Latin American culture and their generation in college. We found that for first generation students and non-first generation students, motivating factors were rated similarly. Research did show that a larger number of first generation college students that identify as Latin American did not feel recruited (77.3% compared to 66.7% of all respondents). For first generation college students, results were skewed largely toward parents not being involved in choosing schools. Non-first generation parents were much more involved which was surprising. The majority (66.7%) of first generation college students did NOT think that Miami

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provided their parents with the materials needed to be informed about the school and higher education whereas 70% of non-first gen students thought Miami did. We wanted to explore the scholarship piece further so we analyzed that specific data using another cross tabulation analysis. We compared the results of those students identified with Latin American culture and felt recruited to see if they were motivated by scholarships more or less than those that did not identify with Latin American culture and were recruited. We found that within the group of students that identify as Latin American, 66.7% thought that scholarships were highly motivating factors in their decision to enroll at Miami. When looking at students that do not identify with Latin American culture, we found that only 16.2% thought that scholarships were motivating. These results indicated that scholarships are a primary motivating factor for students who felt that they were recruited and identify with Latin American culture. We also found upon cross analysis that out of students that identified with Latin American culture, those that were NOT satisfied with Miami‘s efforts to address their needs did not consider Miami scholarships to Latinos as a motivating factor (42.9%, rated it a 1 -- ―Not Motivating‖), while students that ARE satisfied found them highly motivating (43.8% rated a 5—―Highly Motivating‖). We also surveyed students and faculty asking if they think that Miami specifically recruits Latino students. Faculty response indicated that 11.8% of surveyed faculty feels that Miami does recruit Latinos and 88.2% do not feel this way. When comparing this to student response, 25.9% of surveyed felt that they were recruited by Miami University and 70.5% did not feel like they were recruited. Of those that felt they were recruited, a slight majority, 61.1%, felt their ethnicity was an influence of that recruitment.

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Among faculty responses, we filtered out the data to only include faculty that identified at Latin American to see how the results were altered. We found that these faculty members did have a higher interaction rate that non Latin American faculty; 80% said that Latino students have approached the with concerns or for advise compared to the 58.8% response of all faculty. This statistic prompted us to only look at those faculty members that had been approached by students. We found that among these faculty members, a majority thought of every motivator as ―Non-motivating‖ when students decide to enroll at Miami except for scholarships, where answers were divided. Further, 90% of this group said that Miami does NOT recruit Latinos. We also found that 40% said they had been trained to address Latino student needs but interpreted a bias because these faculty members are highly likely to be in the Latin American Studies or Spanish Department. Lastly, we found that 88.9% said that they believe students consider transferring from Miami because of issues dealing with their ethnicity. Another factor explored by the survey was the relationship between parents of Latino students and Miami University. Prior research has shown that in Latin American cultures, parents play a larger role in their child‘s educational decisions. When examining this factor in the survey, we found that 19% of surveyed students said their parents did not play a role in their decision, 44.8% said somewhat, 20.7% said they did play a role and 15.5% said they were heavily involved. These results indicated that for both groups parents had only been ―Somewhat Involved‖ in picking schools, which is unusual compared to nationwide research. Out of these students, 41.4% of students did not feel that Miami provided adequate materials about the college decision to their parents, although for first generation college students that identified as Latin Americans, the percentage was a much higher 66.7%. Surprisingly, only about 30% of

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students that identified themselves as Latin American considered their parents ―Involved‖ or ―Highly Involved‖ in picking schools when choosing where to go to college. We decided to further evaluate this data through cross tabulation of students who identify as Latin American and who had parents that attended college in the United States. Interestingly, we found that students whose parents had attended a University in the United States did not consider any of the criteria we gave them as motivating to enroll. In the category of a ―sense of a Latin American community,‖ 81.8% of students whose parents had gone to school in the US rated this criteria a 1 or a 2 in the Motivating scale to enroll at Miami. They were also not interested in Scholarships, recruiters, or Miami Latino organizations. While our wording could have been confusing, we found that results were quite the opposite for students whose parents had NOT gone to school in the United States. These students reported that scholarships for Latinos were highly motivating, a sense of Latin American community at least somewhat motivating and a majority were neutral or found recruiters motivating. We concluded from that information that Latino students with parents who had attended US colleges were not looking for a connection to the Latin American factors we researched. We did, however, find that a majority in both groups (63.6% with parents that had attended US schools and 71.4% of parents that had not attended US schools) are not satisfied with Miami‘s efforts to address needs of Latin American students. Next we will analyze questions asked that specifically focus on the development segment of the research. We designed survey questions to asses how effectively Miami develops Latino students. In the development of these students, we chose to research the availability and support of faculty members. Our previous research indicated that Latino students rely on faculty resources to adjust and develop in a higher educational setting. We looked at both faculty and

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student opinions to asses how effective faculty were in helping Latino students. The survey revealed that 58.8% of faculty that were surveyed had been approached for help or advise from a Latino student. However, we found that only 23.5% of surveyed faculty had been trained to be able to address the specific needs of Latino students. When looking at student perspective on the issue, only 31% of students surveyed were satisfied by the efforts of Miami to address their needs as a Latino student. To further understand this piece, we incorporated a rating scale in the survey. Students and faculty were presented with the same six factors that, based on our research and personal experience, we decided would be effective in determining if developmental needs of Latinos were being met. These included; an advisor and/or mentor that you can access and discuss Latino related issues or concerns with, organization(s) targeted toward meeting your social needs as a Latino, events focused on Latin American celebrations or culture, a Latin American community or presence, academic resources specifically geared for Latinos and providing resources of information for Latino parents. The graph below illustrates the student responses in the six categories. In the first category, the largest percentage of students (48.3%) ranked Miami providing advisers at a very low degree. The next highest categories are two and three which indicate that overall advisers were provided to a low degree according to student perspective. When looking at the same category results from the faculty that were surveyed, there were inconsistent results. The highest categories were one and four (26.7%), with 20% of faculty responding that they did not know. This indicates Miami University could improve on their provision of advisers to Latino students. Next, when looking at organizations targeted towards meeting Latino needs we found that the highest category was rated at a three, or average degree, with 31%. Faculty responded

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that overall 46.7% agreed with students and answered with a rating of three. This indicates that students and faculty feel that organizations could improve as a resource. The third category was events focused on Latin American celebrations or culture. The two highest ratings chosen for this were three and four indicating an average yet somewhat high degree. This means students felt this was not provided to a high degree, warranting potential room for improvement. Faculty rated this predominantly between three and five, the highest category being five with 33.3%. This indicated that faculty feels this aspect is provided to a higher degree than student do. The fourth category was a Latin American community or presence. Latin American students did not see this as a factor provided to a high degree, with 93.1% rating it at an average (three) or below. The highest rating chosen was a five, the lowest degree possible. Faculty has similar results with 80% rating this factor below a three, most highly concentrated rating being a two at 40%. These results indicate that students and faculty do not think that a Latin American community is provided to a high degree. The fifth category is academic resources specifically for Latinos. 41.4% of students rated this factor at a one indicating a low degree. Faculty also had the strongest rating for this category low with 40% of faculty surveyed rating the factor at a two indicating somewhat low. The results tell us that both students and faculty do not think this resource is being provided at a high degree to Latino students. The last category was providing resources or information for Latino students. 47.4% of students surveyed gave this the lowest possible rating of a one. Interestingly, faculty had the highest rating for this category as a three for being provided to an average degree. These results could indicate an availability of these resources but a lack of awareness.

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Overall, this chart shows us that out of six areas being identified as necessary resources to provide to Latino students to help their development at Miami, five could drastically improve in their ratings. This indicated that there is clearly a lack of development of Latino students at Miami University. This in turn could result in a lower retention rate of Latino students as explored in the next part of this research. The third segment that this research examined was the ability of Miami University to retain the Latino population. Documents provided by the INSERT STATS FROM RON. The surveys also revealed information pertaining to retention of Latino students. Responses indicated that 73.3% of surveyed faculty thought that Latino students considered transferring because of issues directly related to their ethnicity. When students were asked the same question, we found that only 27.6% of students had actually considered transferring because of issues related to their ethnicity. We also found that 70.7% of students surveyed did not know of any other Latino students that had transferred because of issues related to their ethnicity. This inconsistency reveals a discrepancy in how faculty and Latino students view the dissatisfaction of Latino students. The final questioned asked in both surveys was if the student of faculty member were satisfied with Miami‘s efforts to meet the needs of Latino students. Students responded that 69% did not think so and faculty responded that 73.3% did not think so. Both of these numbers are very high percentages indicating an overall dissatisfaction with Miami‘s efforts. 100% of faculty also indicated that they think Miami can improve their efforts to attract, develop and retain Latino students. We were able to draw sufficient data from the surveys that were distributed. However, we chose to further dissect our findings through interviews with individuals that could provide

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further insightful data. We interviews two faculty members closely tied to diversity initiatives at Miami, two Latin American students that transferred from Miami University to other higher education institutions, two current Latino students (one that identifies with Latino culture and one that does not), and a Latino alum of Miami. When discussing the recruitment piece of our research, the interviewees had a lot to say about Miami‘s initiatives. Despite the numerous differences in the situations of those who were interviewed, an overall consensus was that although Latinos are an important and growing population of this nation, Miami does not recruit Latino students effectively. Yvania Garcia, Assistant Director of Diversity Affairs and Coordinator of Diverse Student Development, believes that recruiting Latino students is very important, ―because it helps with diversity at the university ..., it helps build ties to community especially with Hamilton having high Latino populations, it diversifies [the] relationships Latino students can have with each other, helps them learn about the richness of their own culture and helps students connect with Latino staff and community.‖ She continues to explain her efforts to work with the Admissions offices to improve this number but explains that the efforts of Miami are focused more specifically on increasing diversity rather than specifically focusing on Latino students. Ron Scott, Vice President of Institutional Diversity, reiterates this point when he states, ―We would rather have a continuous goal of trying to diversify the student body more each year, not necessarily increase every ethnicity or race at Miami, but increase diversity as a whole...demographics are constantly changing.‖ Another important topic discussed during interviews was the role of families in the Latin American student‘s decisions. We found that contrary to prior research, parents of Latino students were not heavily involved in their child‘s decision to choose their college. We did find

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that the role of family in a Latin American students life is very important and influences their ability to succeed at Miami. Both current students also expressed their close relationships with their families during their interviews. We also found that this was the primary factors influencing Latino student‘s decision to transfer. Dr. Ron Scott and Yvania Garcia, the interviewed faculty members, states this as a reason they thought students would be motivated to transfer. Furthermore, both of the students that we interviewed that had transferred from Miami cited their primary reason as wanting to be closer to their families. Surveys revealed that scholarships were the only motivating factor included as a Latin American cultural motivators in our research. We found that the student respondents for the interviews did not think scholarships were highly influential. During our interviews with them scholarships and finances were never cited as a motivating factor or reason to transfer. Interestingly, both faculty members that were interviewed emphasized the financial aid and scholarships offered to Latino students. The next trend we identified when compiling results from interviews was the importance of Latino culture, specifically support systems, at Miami for Latinos to be able to develop as students. Alyssa Hopun, current student identifying as a Latin American, thinks that the Latino culture at Miami is disappointing. When asked if she felt that Miami promotes and supports Latino culture she responded with ―I feel like they try, but they are rarely successful... most of Miami‘s recruitment is focused towards other minorities, especially African Americans. They have told me that it‘s not that they don‘t target Latinos, but that Latinos don‘t want to come.‖ She adds that ―I‘m seeking a more diverse population in general, because I don‘t feel like I belong to this one.‖ This was reiterated by Alexandra Anaya, the ‗06 Miami graduate, who stated, ―There wasn‘t a Latino community…. There was so little of us…. we could at least make

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a change and provide a small space to welcome Latino students and other cultures to feel welcome and express themselves without having to just hang out with Latino students.‖ We know that a Latin American community was important to Latino students, however, those that were interviewed did think that Miami was more diverse than they anticipated. Teresa Ibanez, the transfer student who did identify as a Latina, stated ―I wasn‘t really expecting any Hispanic community at all, but I was surprised to find at Miami that Hispanics were really close and you could meet a lot of them easily.‖ Alexandra Anaya enforced this opinion stating, ―Miami actually provided me with a way to explore my Latina identity and I was able to grow from it then.‖ Even students who did not chose to participate in Latin American culture, such as Hugo Cruz, stated that they ―but did hear about Latino activities going on around campus.‖ Faculty that were interviewed also believed that there was a Latin American community and presence at Miami. Preliminary research revealed that Latino students depend on connections with faculty members for support. We specifically asked both faculty members if there were mentoring programs in place to help Latino students. Dr. Ron Scott stated there were not and that it is hard to implement such programs. However, Yvania Garcia discussed in length the important of programs like these and the extensive plans to implement such programs in the near future. This difference in opinion could be attributed to the fact that Ms. Garcia identifies with Latin American culture and may be able to relate to this groups specific needs more than others. When looking at the retention piece of this research, we found that in all interviews, no one thought that retaining Latino students was a problem associated with a dissatisfaction of the cultural presence at Miami. The two transfer students we interviewed cited family as the primary reason that they decided to leave Miami.

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III. Discussions and Implications A. Discussions Looking at the recruitment segment of our research, we are able to draw several important conclusions. This is the area Miami‘s efforts that is in need of the biggest improvements. Overall we concluded from survey results that students were not motivated to enroll by Miami‘s efforts to recruit Latin Students but were motivated by other unrelated factors. The only factor that did influence Latino students to enroll was scholarships specifically offered to Latino students. The interviews revealed that there is a lack of focus on recruiting Latinos specifically and a, focus on increasing diversity as a whole. An increase in recruiting efforts would yield students that truly are diverse and contribute to Latino culture at Miami to therefore build the Latin American community up. We also found that Miami could improve their efforts to develop Latino students at Miami. There are factors that we found in both surveys and interviews that have contributed to the development of these students such as students organizations and other Latin American students. However, Miami does not provide enough of a support system to truly help Latinos develop as students and individuals. Through our research we found that Miami‘s efforts to retain Latino students was not an issue as previously hypothesized. We did find a percentage of Latino students that have transferred from Miami, but we found that these situations were based on issues related to family. Students wanted to be closer to home to help their families which is an expected pattern of behavior in Latinos. We did not find any initiatives be Miami to retain Latino students, but this is not an area that the school could influence.

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(We have gathered that the Miami student profile is a narrow niche that is not

representative of the rest of the Latino collegiate population in the United State. Most students of Latino descent at Miami apparently did not choose Miami for its support of their culture and so their expectations did not include a large cultural support from the university. Because many of them were raised in Latino households, however, it is not a far stretch of the imagination, that a more adequate strategy to address disconnects and cultural issues is in order, not only to further please the current Latino population at Miami, but also to attract a more diverse Latino pool of students that have the academic and leadership caliber of a Miami student but need more support from the university. We strongly believe that widening recruitment efforts to different types of Latinos will create a truer form of diversity. The main area that we have concluded from our research that the university is faltering in is recruitment of Latinos. We are excited to hear that there is a multicultural recruiter who is in the process of being hired. We fully support the university‘s plans to have an new recruiting direction to target families of multicultural students. Most Latino students at Miami have strong ties to their families, even if they do not feel fully connected to their culture. This would thus not hurt the recruitment of Latino students who are similar to the pool that we have to day, but rather it would widen Miami‘s sphere of influence to students whose families play a much larger role in college decision making. We would additionally like to support the tactic to target high schools and middle schools to introduce younger students to Miami University. We do not believe that Miami has sufficient programs targeted to younger Latino students seeking higher education. The university is well respected in nearing communities and the alumn who we interviewed even mentioned that a Hamilton elementary school highlighted Miami to parents of students as a goal for their children. Miami should take advantage of the prestige that it has in local communities and develop intervention programs and workshops to bring the name of the university to young students so their goals and aspirations will be more concrete and might even revolve around Miami University. To target more Latino students we also believe that Miami needs to be more transparent about the scholarships they offer to students of multi-cultural background. It was obvious from our research, that lack of financial aid or financial aid information is one of the predominant factors for Latino to deter from enrolling in universities. This was also the main motivator that Latino student founds to enroll at Miami University. However, from the interview with Ronald Scott we found that Miami does not advertise this financial assistance to potential students. While this might reinforce the image that Miami‘s recruitment efforts are founded on academic and leadership potential, we think a more blatant initiative to expose this monetary assistance is needed in recruiting a diverse pool of Latino students. Despite Latino students being relatively satisfied with the programming and efforts put forth toward developing the Latino community on campus, there are several improvements that could build a stronger and more cohesive community of Latino students and staff. As admitted by Ron Scott and suggested by faculty in the digital
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questionnaire, there is no concrete hierarchy of communication established for Latino Students and staff at Miami University. Therefore, it is difficult to disseminate important or relevant information about Latino oriented events, programs, scholarships, and opportunities in which students might be interested. Even the simple initiative to create a Listserv that could integrate Hispanic students, faculty, and staff, would be a good beginning to launch a more cohesive social integration strategy. Our survey results also indicated that Latino students are not assigned any type of cultural mentor or advisor. While this is understandable because of the unusually independent Latinos that are attracted to Miami‘s campus, we still believe that an adviser of similar ethnic background would be of help for students when they are faced with family issues, financial issues, and advise on their growth and progress at Miami University. We believe this could even be translated to individual departments in the university where ad advisor could address all multi-cultural students in their progress and offer them any needed help. Ideally, the university should work to not just diversity its student population, but also to diversity faculty as the pool of diverse students grow in order to accommodate for support and representation in academia and administration. Lastly, we do believe that the University needs to sponsor Latino oriented organizations to a greater extent. As seen from our interview with an alum, the Latino groups and student led events have decreased since she was an undergraduate. However, there are still organizations that specifically target Latino students and faculty. We believe that these could be an excellent foundation to build the much needed Latino oriented network of students and faculty. Through a partnership with these organizations, the dissemination of information and opportunities geared toward Latinos could begin to transform into a seamless one. With a concrete network, even students who not feel strongly associated to Latino culture can have a network of people that are available for them to explore their own culture to a larger extent. With faculty and a network involved, Hispanic students will be informed and hopefully feel empowered through their mentors and peers to make personal and institutional progress in their campus. We are pleasantly surprised to declare that Miami University has surpassed our expectations in the retention piece of our research. The university not only has the highest rate of retention of Latinos and most other ethnicities in the state of Ohio. Even the students we interviewed that transferred to other institution did not do it out of pure unhappiness or for being unable to adapt to the Miami culture. Our survey actually showed significant discrepancies in how satisfied faculty perceive Latino students to be and how satisfied they truly are as well as and if they believe these students have considered transferring to a different school compared to how many actually have considered it. Despite the positive results, we strongly uphold our belief that our previous recommendations of creating a concrete Latino network and mentoring program. We believe this will simulate a ―home base‖ at college and provide the needed support that could alleviate some of the coping difficulties some students might have while being away from home, family, friends, and/or their culture. Unfortunately our research did not focus in academic achievement of Latino students at Miami. We understand that for confidentiality purposes, academic achievement might be
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difficult to control even with an adviser. We still uphold that a network of peers and mentors would help provide students with the resources they need for help, but this does not guarantee that they will exploit them to their advantage when they need them. )
B. Implications This study can help provide Miami with a direction towards tackling the issue of underrepresentation of Latinos. We have identified that the primary segment Miami should focus on is the recruitment of Latino students. The school needs to focus on motivating factors that do not exclusively include scholarships. Our research has also proven to be helpful when looking at the development of Latino students. These students need more of a support system to help them to be successful. Lastly, we have found that Miami does not implement any programs or initiatives to retain Latino students but that this is not an area in which the university should focus on improving. C. Limitations Our research has some limitations that may have skewed our data and created misrepresentations in our inferences. First of all, there were limitations in our questionnaires. We used a judgment sampling method where we selected students and faculty that had relevant knowledge in the area of interest, in this case, Latin American student behavior and programs. For our student survey we thus selected only Latino students to who distribute the survey. Because of the small population of Latino students, we knew the number of questionnaires returned would be relatively small. Our data would have been better supported if we would have had a randomized sample. This would have been possible if we would have had access to a list of every student listed as Hispanic/Latino on campus and contacted a random sample of them. Our faculty/staff survey had similar limitations since it was also a judgment survey. Since we are aware that the number of Latino faculty is even smaller than the number of Latino students, we selected faculty and staff from departments that would have close contact to Latino students or
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were of Latino descent. Since we picked the Spanish and Portuguese department and the Latin American Studies department and asked them to distribute it to other faculty with a relevant perspective. This could have created a strong bias with the responses since mainly two departments in the whole school received the survey. The content of our survey also had some flaws. We noticed that the wording of one of our significant questions could have caused confusion within our respondent pool. This was the question that asked ―Rate the following factors from 1-5 ( 1 = not motivating, 5 = highly motivating) in regards to you decision to ENROLL at Miami University.‖ While we meant for this question to indicate which factors Miami made apparent and available for potential incoming students, it could have been interpreted as ―Which factor was important to you in your decision to pick colleges?‖ which could have skewed our results. We additionally neglected to include adequate questions on academic performance or activities that made students feel that they were making a difference on their campus, which were important factors of Latino student development. Our interviews, although representing qualitative materials, also had limitations. First of all, we recognize that because the subject of the research was extremely pertinent to us as researchers, we had strong biases about the answers that we assumed we would receive when interviewing our subjects and our phrasing, tone, and body language may have indicated this and created a reactive effect error where we were unconsciously trying to trigger a specific response or answer. We also wish we could have conducted more interviews. We unfortunately did not have access or knowledge of any Latino students that had completely dropped their college education after attending Miami; the only former students we interviewed now attend Ohio State University.

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Finally, we understand that our research dealt with a small demographic in an unusually homogeneous campus, where we have observed that students, independent of race, ethnicity, or culture, tend to adapt into a specific identify to fit the ―Miami profile‖ and majority social norms. Because of this, our subjects and data would not fit the average Latino collegiate student profile and we do not expect our data or findings to translate into a much larger picture other than to schools with a similar culture and environment as Miami University. D. Future Research Naturally, in future research we suggest using questionnaires with a randomized probability sample that can better predict the responses of the whole population. In retrospect, we realize and suggest that an interview with a student that has dropped out would be adequate and relevant to the research. This would have given us much more insightful data on what efforts in Miami‘s strategy were the most unsatisfactory. Furthermore, we also wish we would have interviewed a Latino commuter. We believe that a student commuter would have a lot more contact with family and be able to provide a better perspective of Latino parental influence since they would deal with them on a daily basis. We additionally suggest expanding future research beyond the isolated campus of Miami University and conducting comparative case studies with Universities that have a similar environment to see how results vary. Additionally, it would be interesting to conduct longitudinal studies with this unique population to acquire multidimensional and dynamic data with different variables. Some interesting questions to explore with a longitudinal panel would be: How satisfaction rates in Latinos affect academic performance and graduation rate, and what are the non-Latino identities that Latinos most easily adapt to on Miami University‘s campus and why.
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Daniel Gonzales

Current student

Do they identify with Latin American culture? No

Thoughts on Recruitment

Thoughts on Development

Thoughts on Retention

Alyssa Hopun

Current student

Yes, highly involved

Parents not involved in decision, chose Miami not based on Latin American motivators Scholarships highly motivating

Thinks that Miami “probably” has a Latino support system

Does not see this as a problem for Latino community

Hugo Cruz

Transfer student


Teresa Ibanez

Transfer student


Alexandra Anaya

Miami Graduate ‘06


Latin American motivators not a part of decision to enroll Did not expect Latino culture at Miami, not influenced by Latin American motivators Latin American motivators not a part of decision to enroll,

Difficult to find others who can relate to her culture, thinks Latino culture at Miami is disappointing, attempts are “rarely successful,” no support system Did hear about activities on campus, did not participate Did not seek Latin American community

Has considered transferring because of issues related to ethnicity because “I don’t feel like I belong”, does know of students who have transferred Transferred to be closer to family, culture not a factor in transfer Transferred to be closer to family, culture not a factor in transfer

Dr. Ron Scott

Vice President of Institutional Diversity


Yvania Garcia

Assistant Director of Diversity Affairs


Thinks recruitment should focus on increasing diversity as a whole and not specifically Latinos, states future plans to increase diversity Thinks is crucial to specifically recruit Latino students, working to address the issue

Wanted to be part of Latin American community but did not find one, wishes there would have been stronger community when attending Miami Cites student organizations as support but he indicates there is not mentorship program specifically for Latinos or plans to address issue in immediate future Cites multiple resources for Latino students, has strong relationships with Latino students

Did not see as issue

Thinks that financial reasons or family issues are part of transfer rate among Latinos, admits no efforts to retain Latino students Does not see retention as issue

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Bibliography Auerbach, S. (2006). "If the Student Is Good, Let Him Fly": Moral Support for College Among Latino Immigrant Parents. Journal Of Latinos & Education, 5(4), 275-292. doi:10.1207/s1532771xjle0504_4 Constantino, M. G., Wilton, L., & Caldwell, L. D. (2003). The Role of Social Support in Moderating the Relationship Between Psychological Distress and Willingness to Seek Psychological Help Among Black and Latino College Students. Journal Of College Counseling, 6(2), 155-165. Crisp, G., & Nora, A. (2010). Hispanic Student Success: Factors Influencing the Persistence and Transfer Decisions of Latino Community College Students Enrolled in Developmental Education. Research In Higher Education, 51(2), 175-194. Gilroy, M. (2010). Tools for Success in Recruiting and Retaining Hispanic Students. Education Digest, 76(3), 20-23. Hubbard, S. M., & Stage, F. K. (2009). Attitudes, Perceptions, and Preferences of Faculty at Hispanic Serving and Predominantly Black Institutions. Journal Of Higher Education, 80(3), 270-289. Lozano, A., Watt, K. M., & Huerta, J. (2009). A Comparison Study Of 12th Grade Hispanic Students‘ College Anticipations, Aspirations, and College Preparatory Measures. American Secondary Education, 38(1), 92-110.

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O'Connor, N., Hammack, F. M., & Scott, M. A. (2010). Social Capital, Financial Knowledge, and Hispanic Student College Choices. Research In Higher Education, 51(3), 195-219. Person, A. E., & Rosenbaum, J. E. (2006). Chain enrollment and college enclaves: Benefits and drawbacks of Latino college students' enrollment decisions. New Directions For Community Colleges, (133), 51-60. doi:10.1002/cc.227 Pew Hispanic Center. (2011, October 25). Hispanic College Enrollment Spikes, Narrowing Gaps with Other Groups. http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=146 Young A., Johnson, G., Hawthorne, M., & Pugh, J. (2011). Cultural Predictors of Academic Motivation and Achievement: A Self-Deterministic Approach. College Student Journal, 45(1), 151-163. Zarate, M., & Burciaga, R. (2010). Latinos and College Access: Trends and Future Directions. Journal Of College Admission, (209), 24-29.

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