African-American and Latino students are failing to make the grade in higher education. The numbers of black and Hispanic college graduates lag significantly behind white and Asian-American students, and the numbers are even lower at the master's and doctorate level (Ryu, 2010). And while Latino/as are the largest and fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, they remain the least well educated at all levels of degree attainment. As educators, we are left challenged as to how to break the cycle. In many instances, colleges and universities succeed at the recruitment of students of color, yet retention and attrition are more daunting tasks. We include as part of this reflection piece – and a way to inform this chapter – reference to research (Peña, Hernandez, Viernes-Turner & Dirks, 2007) we conducted with several colleagues that studied African-Americans and Latinos/as in higher education, as well as our personal observations as mentors in minority mentoring programs. We also offer our insights as two academics who were once thought of as high-risk students but are now enjoying careers in the field of sociology. We have discovered that minority students value seeing their own as not only professors but in the first author's case, an associate dean.
Peña, M. and Wilder, J. (2011), "Chapter 16 Mentoring Transformed: When Students of Color see Diversity in Leadership", Jean-Marie, G. and Lloyd-Jones, B. (Ed.) Women of Color in Higher Education: Changing Directions and New Perspectives (Diversity in Higher Education, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 345-363. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3644(2011)0000010020
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