Hispanic Males' Perceptions of Higher Education for Leadership Development

Hispanic Males' Perceptions of Higher Education for Leadership Development

Author: 
Luis R. Ramos
Program of study: 
D.M./IST
Abstract: 
The purpose of this qualitative instrumental single case study was to examine the perceptions of Hispanic male students about the role of seeking a higher education for their leadership development while enrolled in a 4-year degree program at a state public university in Connecticut. Theoretical framework in this qualitative study employed the educational leadership theories of DePree and Fullan. A qualitative instrumental single case study was appropriate for this research study because the method and design allowed the investigation of a phenomenon of concern for a population of common culture, language, and beliefs. Research participants consisted of 15 Hispanic male students between the ages of 19 and 25. Participants’ background included the following countries: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico (USA), and Venezuela. Connecticut counties represented in this study included Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, New Haven, New London, and Windham. Face-to-face interviews with the participants helped gain insight and understanding of Hispanic males’ perceptions related to the role of seeking a higher education for their leadership development. Data analysis revealed 5 major themes: leadership perceptions, leadership engagement, societal influences, cultural influences, and lack of Hispanic males in leadership roles. The results of the study indicate that participants view their leadership development as a positive and very important part of their college experience. Societal influences are considered negative factors that prevent many Hispanic males from pursuing a college education. However, cultural influences, such as family values and parental influences as well as leadership engagement through community involvement, extracurricular activities and access to mentoring programs influence participants positively.
Dedication: 
This work is dedicated to many important people in my life, but first I want to thank God for giving me the strength to overcome every obstacle and succeed through every struggle. This long journey was challenging; however, with the support of my family Jannette, Jeanely and Valerie, my three most favorite women by my side, everything was possible. They sacrificed dad-time while I was in school. Thank you for believing in me and for putting up with my grumpiness and frustrations at times. At the beginning of this journey a sweet boy came into my life and changed it completely. I also dedicate this work to Gabriel Luis Hunt, papa loves you more than words can describe. To my sons, Shawn Hunt and Victor Montañez, thank you for becoming part of my circle of trust and supporting my daughters. To my parents Sergio Ramos and Ana Alicea, for without them I would not be here. Dad, I know you are looking down at me from heaven, you are always in my heart. Mom, although you do not always remember me at times, I know you would be very proud of your youngest son’s accomplishments. To my cohorts Jamie Vargo-Warran and Curtis Campbell, we all struggled together on this journey; thank you for your words of encouragement and support when I was feeling down and defeated. A special thanks to a very good friend, Miguel Correa who was always available to lift me up, especially when I was feeling mentally exhausted. I dedicate this work to all the participants of the study, who due to confidentiality reasons must remain anonymous; thank you for volunteering and for your valuable contribution. Also, I dedicate this work to all Hispanic males, especially the members of my immediate and extended family, I hope this work inspires you to aim high. Finally, to everyone who has touched my life in a special way, I am eternally grateful.
Acknowledgements: 
I want to acknowledge my dissertation committee chair, Dr. Therese Kanai. Thank you for your patience, support, guidance, and constructive feedback throughout this journey. I want to acknowledge my dissertation committee members, Dr. Stephanie K. Ferguson and Dr. Mary Jo Moran for their support and helpful feedback; thank you for spending your personal time going over every draft to ensure the final draft was quality work. Thank you for answering every question and every email. I am indebted to these three extraordinary doctors for helping me get to the finish line. Lastly, I want to acknowledge the School of Advanced Studies faculty at University of Phoenix for imparting me knowledge in their respective fields of expertise.