Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Larry H. Ebbers


For every 100 Chicana/o students only 24 will enroll in college and of those students only seven will obtain a bachelor's degree (Yosso, 2006). These data present the need for increased examination of how students are retained in higher education. Therefore, this study sought to further understand and explore the retention factors contributing to the development and anticipated college completion of a case of Chicana/o studies students working toward the completion of their bachelor's degrees. Findings revealed that retention was impacted by academic factors such as faculty affirmation, and positive contributions to academic development. Social factors contributing to retention included community building, developing and discovering a sense of self, and supportive personal relationships. With a theoretical framework grounded in the model of student engagement and validation theory guiding the analysis, the model of Chicana/o student retention in Chicana/o studies was conceptualized. The model provides an understanding of how validation, relational learning, and engaging academic spaces helped to facilitate increased knowledge acquisition, personal development and professional aspirations. This study provides new knowledge and evolution of existing theories, which speak to retention in understudied contexts like Chicana/o studies. Recommendations and implications are provided.


Copyright Owner

Philip L. Vasquez



Date Available


File Format


File Size

250 pages