Connecting through Engagement: Latinx Student-Faculty Interaction in Community College

Felisha A. Herrera, Judith W. Hernández Chapar, Gabriela Kovats Sánchez


Student engagement with faculty has received increased attention from scholars and practitioners alike. However, much of the focus has been on the engagement experiences of students enrolled at four-year institutions, often excluding the experiences of Latinx1 students enrolled at two-year public institutions. The present study centers faculty, who are situated within positions of power, as institutional agents (Stanton-Salazar, 2011) and examines their formal and informal contacts with Latinx students who began higher education at community colleges. This study utilizes data from the 2004–09 Beginning Postsecondary Survey and employs descriptive analyses and blocked hierarchical regression to gain greater knowledge of the factors that impact Latinx students’ frequency of interaction with institutional agents. This study highlights the need to further disaggregate Latinx ethnic subgroups. Findings show that peer, academic, and social engagement are predictors of increased interaction with institutional agents. Of particular interest is the role of institutional contexts, as results reveal unrealized potential for Hispanic-Serving Institutions in promoting opportunities for interaction among Latinx and institutional agents. Implications for creating environments that foster student-faculty relationships are explored.

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