Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, PhD


School of Educational Studies

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

DeLacey Ganley

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Dina Maramba

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Linda Perkins

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2023 Christina J Ryan Rodríguez


Community College, Hispanic Serving Institution, Latinx Students, Leadership, Presidents, Racial Consciousness

Subject Categories

Educational Leadership | Higher Education Administration


This qualitative case study examined how California Community College Presidents (CCCPs) make meaning of leading a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) to evaluate how CCCPs respond to Latinx student success gaps and support initiatives at their campuses. Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) have been more visible within community college literature, but what remains unclear is specifically how leaders at HSIs enact their leadership and direct their efforts to serve Latinx students. This dissertation addressed the gap in MSI scholarship to explicitly focus on the role of CCCPs at HSIs and their service to Latinx students. The study applied Eddy’s Multidimensional Leadership Model (MDLM) as a theoretical framework to guide the questions and analysis of 18 interviews with CCCPs from HSIs in Southern California. Through the process of this research, the MDLM was reimagined to include specific dimensions closely related to the patterns in CCCP leadership derived from the data. The interviews with CCCPs were focused on leadership and were analyzed through the four dimensions of the MDLM framework: adaptive competencies, style, strategy, and identity to encompass a holistic view of each participant’s unique leadership profile. The adapted MDLM also represents the uses of self- reflection, which is a critical practice for leaders to understand who they are and align that with behaviors of leadership to mobilize their campuses.The themes that emerged from the data were adaptive competencies, style, strategy, and identity. Each theme represented a dimension of the revised MDLM, which was represented on a range that allowed a nuanced understanding of the combination of traits, characteristics, and lived experiences that inform each participant’s leadership profile. In addition to the four critical themes that comprised the analysis, a fifth overarching theme, racial consciousness, was woven throughout the other dimensions. Racial consciousness is a theme that emerged in interviews with CCCPs categorized as the critical awareness of the implications of racial disparities that influence student experiences. Racial consciousness then refers to centering race as a factor in addressing equity goals. Not all CCCPs demonstrated a practice of or comfort with racial consciousness, though the impact of racial disparities were evident in amongst all interviews. Therefore, this study indicates that CCCPs can focus on becoming racially conscious. The findings of this study outline strategies that CCCPs can use to deepen their racial consciousness. The findings of this dissertation also revealed that the CCCPs' leadership profiles shaped their approaches to leading HSIs in a variety of ways. CCCPs of color engaged their leadership profile from an asset-based perspective, while white presidents still working through self-reflection are more deficit minded in internalizing how their whiteness impacts equity work. All the presidents interviewed shared their commitment to creating an inclusive and supportive campus environment for all students, but it was more challenging for white presidents to center racial justice as a lens to enact their leadership. The study also found that despite CCCPs’ commitment to closing equity gaps for Latinx students, their preoccupation with navigating the complexities of the current political climate and overcoming challenges such as limited resources and a lack of support from the state kept them from moving the college campus identity to center racial identity as an HSI. Finally, the results of this study show that another critical component of leadership was the focus on serving versus enrolling at HSIs. Despite presidents recognizing their diverse student enrollment and concentration of Latinx students, their strategies varied regarding intentionality in centering Latinx student experiences, in contrast to strategies that serve all students. Developing a strategy can help CCCPs to work through the tensions that they face to provide adequate interventions specifically for Latinx students at HSIs. Through interviewing CCCPs, the results of this study showed indications that self-reflection and a critical self-awareness are essential to the successful leadership of CCCPs at HSIs with a mission to serve the needs of Latinx students.