Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Nyunt, Gudrun

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


This dissertation of practice explored the experiences of Latina women student affairs practitioners as they engage in leadership at community colleges. Guided by LatCrit, this study combined a narrative inquiry approach with the use of pláticas. Data was collected via interviews with five Latina women student affairs professionals. Through the use of pláticas, the findings narrates participants’ reflections on their experiences of navigating white, masculine leadership norms. Specifically, white, masculine norms of leadership led to Latina women not seeing themselves as leaders growing up and early in their careers. white, masculine norms of leadership also created barriers for when Latina women strove to engage in leadership. Participants shared how their voices were not heard, they did not feel valued by upper administration, they encountered pushback when they tried to be their authentic selves, and their cultural and linguistic capital was not respected. Latina women looked to mentors to figure out how to navigate these spaces but, due to the underrepresentation of Latina women in mid- or senior-level positions, they had limited access to mentorship that addressed their needs. Thus, as they strove to navigate the barriers they encountered to engaging in leadership, Latina women utilized a variety of responses. These responses included embracing their authentic self, balancing their Latina side with their American side, trying to fit in with white, masculine norms, or intentionally choosing not to engage in leadership; the responses also often changed based on the situation or context. Because Latina women recognized the importance of being leaders and role models to younger professionals and serving their diverse student bodies, they continued to strive to find better ways to navigate the barriers they encountered. This study’s findings shed light onto how intersections of race, ethnicity, and gender shape Latina student affairs professionals’ experiences when they strive to engage in leadership. This research expands on LatCrit to illuminate the experiences of Latina student affairs practitioners in community colleges. Future research should continue to explore critical race frameworks, include participants who have been historically excluded, and further expand on the topics that this study explored. Practical implications ask community colleges and institutions of higher equation to broaden their view of leadership to be inclusive of Latina leadership.


115 pages




Northern Illinois University

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Available for download on Thursday, January 18, 2024