Miami Dade College
Higher education has experienced an unprecedented growth in the number of Latino/Hispanic students. Unfortunately as the literature has revealed, many institutions have not had success in serving this population. By all accounts Hispanics are the youngest and fastest growing population in the United States enrolling in college. However, they have the lowest educational attainment levels in the nation. New population growth is beginning to sprawl into geographic areas unfamiliar with serving this minority population. In just a few short years demographic changes are forecast to forever impact the landscape of colleges across the country: Hispanic-serving institutions will be at the forefront of American higher education. At present, colleges are not sufficiently prepared to meet the needs of its future students. The purpose of this case study was to provide a detailed analysis of a single case, Miami Dade College West Campus. Through an information-rich case study, this researcher set out to examine how Miami Dade College West Campus could serve as a new model for effective Hispanic-serving institutions. Sources of evidence used for the analysis included interviews with members of the dominant coalition involved in planning the campus and document analysis with a particular focus on the strategic planning process. The findings of the case study identified certain themes as central to Miami Dade College West Campus’s effectiveness in serving Hispanic students. First, findings indicated a predominant student-centered institutional culture. Second, the campus developed a strong campus-community interdependence that mutually supported growth and success. Findings also suggested a comprehensive approach to racial and ethnic diversity across campus. Finally, as is supported in the literature, institutional leadership was an integral component of the institution’s ability to effectively educate Latino students. The implications of this research can provide guidance and support to institutions as national demographic shifts will demand the need for quality, focused information on Hispanic-serving institutions.