Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Velma Menchaca

Second Advisor

Dr. Alejandro Garcia

Third Advisor

Dr. Federico Guerra


This study used an ethnographic lens to examine the historic organizational development of a distance education support department within a Hispanic-serving institution of higher education. The Borderlands University (BU; pseudonym) Online Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center (OTLT) is representative of the structure and culture of a successful distance education support department for the 21st century. Through qualitative ethnography, this research study examined the development of cultural and structural components necessary for the success of this organization. This includes the internal community of support departments housed within institutions of higher education. Technologically raised generations emerging from traditional schools, “digital natives,” are entering the realms of higher education at a rapid rate (Moloney & Oakley, 2010; Maguire, 2005; Gunawardena & McIssac, 2003; Phipps et al., 1999; Allen & Seaman, 2003; Wolcott, 1994). This research functions as a prescriptive formula, identifying the culture of the team and structural components necessary to create a distance education organization aligned with the mission, values, and needs of the internal and external community it serves.


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