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Academic Achievement of First-Generation Mexican American Males in a Community College

by Carlos C. Peña

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Institution: The University of the Incarnate Word
Advisor(s): Absael Antelo, Ph.D.; Jessica C. Kimmel, Ph.D; Gilberto Hinojosa, Ph.D.
Degree: Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership
Year: 2012
Volume: 140 pages
ISBN-10: 1612339522
ISBN-13: 9781612339528


The purpose of this study was to examine the complexities of successful attainment and achievement of 10 Mexican American males in a rural Southwest community college. This study strives to offer insights concerning the questions: (a) what behavioral patterns of current family, peers, and conditions in school have influenced the educational decisions of these Mexican American males? and (b) what social conditions motivate these Mexican American males to seek and achieve higher education despite adversity?

This qualitative research was also aimed at establishing and understanding how a selected number of Mexican American males have achieved academic success. The researcher chose 10 men with either an associate of arts or an associate of science degrees for an in-depth interview and used a semi-structured interview guide in an effort to prompt oral discourse. The interviewer posed questions concerning academic conditions, family impact, college environment, and financial issues. The responses to the questions led to similar themes involved in these students' course completion and graduation. The researcher used a theoretical framework using Bandura's Social Learning Theory (1977) in which he suggests that not only environmental factors, but motivational factors along with self-regulatory mechanisms affect an individual's behavior.

This research illustrated the conditions that facilitated reaching the participant's educational goal and mission, which was to complete a two-year degree at the community college. The inquiry examined the behavioral patterns that have been an influence on the educational decisions of these Mexican American males, and what social conditions have motivated them to seek and achieve higher education despite adversity.

About The Author

Dr. Carlos C. Peña is president of Leadership Concepts International (LCI), a business management solutions firm. LCI works with businesses as a management consulting and training firm offering services to organizations and businesses in the areas of board development, corporate training, group facilitation, research and special projects. Dr. Peña has over 25 years experience as a professional counselor, educator, trainer, speaker, and business owner. He holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership/Adult Education from The University of the Incarnate Word, and a Master’s in both Education Counseling Psychology and Psychopathology from Sul Ross State University.