Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 2009 Issue »

    Dimensions of the Transfer Choice Gap

    Experiences of Latina and Latino Students Who Navigated Transfer Pathways

    Estela Mara Bensimon and Alicia C. Dowd
    This article draws on the voices of three Latina and two Latino students who navigated transfer pathways from a community college to four-year colleges. Although all but one of these students was eligible for admission to the selective University of California system, none of them exercised that choice. In fact, only one enrolled in a selective university. The transfer outcomes for the group interviewed illustrate the informational and cultural barriers that students must overcome in order to exercise choice in the selection of transfer institutions. The findings indicate that institutional “transfer agents” are needed to help qualified community college students overcome informational and cultural barriers to transfer into selective institutions. The students’ transfer stories reveal the detrimental consequences of lack of access to transfer agents.

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    Estela Mara Bensimon is a professor of higher education at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education, where she studies racial equity in higher education outcomes from the perspective of organizational learning and socio-cultural practice theories. She is particularly interested in place-based, practitioner-driven inquiry as a means of organizational change in higher education. Her work on practitioner knowledge, organizational learning, participatory critical action research, accountability, feminist theories, and leadership has been published in journals such as Review of Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, Harvard Educational Review, Liberal Education, Metropolitan, and Change. She served as president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education and as vice president of AERA’s Division J. She is the codirector of the Center for Urban Education, which is dedicated to socially conscious research, and pioneered a multidisciplinary inquiry approach to help higher education institutions across the country become more accountable to students from underserved racial and ethnic communities.

    Alicia C. Dowd is an associate professor of higher education at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education and codirector of the Center for Urban Education. Dowd’s research focuses on the political economy of higher education, including issues of institutional accountability, effectiveness, assessment, and equity. Dr. Dowd has served as the principal investigator of several major national studies focused on racial-ethnic and socioeconomic equity in transfer, developmental education, and STEM fields. Her work has been published in Review of Educational Research, Harvard Educational Review, Journal of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, and Teacher’s College Record.

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    Winter 2009 Issue


    Sylvia Hurtado
    Editors’ Introduction
    Ángeles, Sacrificios, y Dios
    A Puerto Rican Woman’s Journey Through Higher Education
    Marisa Rivera
    Latina/o Undergraduate Students Mentoring Latina/o Elementary Students
    A Borderlands Analysis of Shifting Identities and First-Year Experiences
    Dolores Delgado Bernal, Enrique Alemán Jr., and Andrea Garavito
    Existentialism at Home, Determinism Abroad
    A Small-Town Mexican American Kid Goes Global
    Joe Robert González
    From the Bricks to the Hall
    Mellie Torres
    The Re-Education of a Pocha-Rican
    How Latina/o Studies Latinized Me
    Arelis Hernandez
    Sin Papeles y Rompiendo Barreras
    Latino Students and the Challenges of Persisting in College
    Frances Contreras
    Dimensions of the Transfer Choice Gap
    Experiences of Latina and Latino Students Who Navigated Transfer Pathways
    Estela Mara Bensimon and Alicia C. Dowd
    Critical Race Theory, Racial Microaggressions, and Campus Racial Climate for Latina/o Undergraduates
    Tara Yosso, William Smith, Miguel Ceja, and Daniel Solórzano
    Mexican American and Educated
    Marlen Vasquez
    Increasing Latino/a Representation in Math and Science
    An Insider’s Look
    Jarrad Aguirre
    Challenging Racist Nativist Framing
    Acknowledging the Community Cultural Wealth of Undocumented Chicana College Students to Reframe the Immigration Debate
    Lindsay Pérez Huber
    Results Not Typical
    One Latino Family’s Experiences in Higher Education
    Margarita Jimenez-Silva, Norma V. Jimenez Hernandez, Ruth Luevanos, Dulcemonica Jimenez, and Abel Jimenez Jr.
    Barriers to Success
    A Narrative of One Latina Student’s Struggles
    Jannell Robles
    The Xicana Sacred Space
    A Communal Circle of Compromiso for Educational Researchers
    Lourdes Diaz Soto, Claudia G. Cervantes-Soon, Elizabeth Villarreal, and Emmet E. Campos

    Book Notes

    Standing on the Outside Looking In
    edited by Mary F. Howard-Hamilton, Carla L. Morelon-Quainoo, Susan D. Johnson, Rachelle Winkle-Wagner, and Lilia Santiague.

    Undocumented Immigrants and Higher Education
    Alejandra Rincón.

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