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Date of Award

Summer 2019

Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no restriction)

Work Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name

Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Christopher B. Knaus, Ph.D., Chair

Second Advisor

Laura Flores-Cailloux, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Gerald Pumphrey, Ed.D.


This case study examined how a specific Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) pursues an institutional equity agenda. Through interviews with sixteen full-time employees representing a two-year public institution of higher education in the Pacific Northwest, this study explored faculty and staff perceptions of the purpose of an HSI designation and the intentionality of serving Latina/o students. The literature review provides a historical context of Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and the role MSIs serve in higher education. Themes identified through an in-depth thematic analysis include knowledge and awareness of HSIs, serving and supporting students, access and opportunities, and sense of community. Findings revealed the Critical Race Theory tenets of liberalism, the permanence of racism, interest convergence, and a related white fragility in many college employees. Findings also indicated that faculty and staff (a) support serving all students, (b) lack knowledge, awareness, and reflection on how the institution serves Latina/os students, (c) confused equality with equity, and (d) made no connection with the HSI identity. Recommendations include in-depth professional development and training centered on cultural awareness, cultural competence, cultural differences and cultural disengagement; and HSI 101 workshops and open forums. An additional recommendation includes creating institutional definitions using CRT language as a foundation to build an institutional culture as an effective HSI.