Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Lori D. Patton

Second Advisor

Nancy J. Evans


Multicultural student services (MSS) emerged on predominantly white institutions (PWIs) as a result of student of color movements demanding equitable access, representation, and culturally relevant support systems. Over time, the goal and purpose of MSS has shifted away from its political roots and these offices are now expected to provide diversity education for all students thus limiting their ability to serve as advocates for racial equity. The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of how the policies, unwritten rules, and practices of institutions of higher education shape the work of MSS and influence the overall access and success of students of color in American higher education. Through the use of institutional ethnography and critical race theory, this study mapped out how organizations, policies, unwritten rules, and practices shape the everyday work life of a MSS administrator at a public, land-grant, Midwestern university. The organizations that emerged were Midwestern State, Midwestern University, the College of Innovation, and Joshua as the MSS administrator for the College of Innovation. A series of master and counternarratives bring forth how racism shapes the policies, practices, and unwritten rules in each organization that mediate Joshua's work as a MSS administrator. Implications for practice and research aim to challenge institutions to examine how they define and practice racial equity and encourage colleges and universities to do more than simply decorate their windows with diversity.


Copyright Owner

Jessica Janet Ranero



Date Available


File Format


File Size

258 pages