Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Marie Simonsson

Second Advisor

Dr. Karen Watt

Third Advisor

Dr. Ralph Carlson


Current efforts in higher education institutions to increase persistence and success among Hispanic students continue to be ineffective and thus new conceptual frameworks need to be explored. Data from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities asserts that increasing the number of Hispanics that graduate is vital for our country’s future. In turn, Hispanic-Serving Institutions need to nourish and nurture their students to ensure that they graduate and institutional frameworks would benefit from cultural and epistemological congruence with Hispanic students, their families, and their communities.

Educational leaders have urged educators to take on the responsibility and commitment to students’ success and to have a positive impact on the communities they serve. This quasi-experimental study intends to measure the impact of a Hispanic-Serving Institution’s social responsibility on underrepresented students’ institution affiliation, especially Hispanic students in South Texas.

The following research questions guided this study: 1) What types of perceptual and behavioral characteristics (e.g. social integration, academic integration, perceived campus climate, CESL enrollment status, service learning enrollment status, language proficiency, gender, and immigration status) are associated with sense of belonging for college students, especially Hispanic students at a HSI in South Texas? and 2) How do community-engaged scholarship and learning experiences encompassed in CESL courses (the treatment) impact college students’ sense of belonging and academic and social integration, especially Hispanic students at a HSI in South Texas?

In order to answer the two research questions, a quasi-experimental research design was used in this investigation. It involved two forms of analyses: Regression Analysis addressing question one and Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) addressing question two. The Multiple Regression Analysis (N = 208) yielded significant findings (p < .05). The full model revealed that 48% of the variance in Sense of Belonging, the dependent variable, was explained by four predictor variables: Peer Group Interaction; Faculty Concern for Student Development and Teaching; Academic and Intellectual Development; and English Proficiency. Although there were no differences (p > .05) detected among the comparison groups, recommendations to improve research design, methodology and treatment fidelity for future studies were provided.


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