The impact latino professional development mentoring has in higher education

Salinas, C., Riley, P., Camacho, L., & Floyd, D. L. (2020). Mentoring Experiences and Perceptions of Latino Male Faculty in Higher Education. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 42(1), 117–140.

Summarized by Ariel Ervin

Notes of Interest: 

  • Several institutes of higher education that make an effort to support their Latino students tend to overlook the struggles of their Latino faculty members
  • Issues from Latino faculty members include, but are not limited to, discrimination, cultural taxation, and isolation
  • This study analyzes the effect mentoring has on professional development 
  • Researchers also look at how Latino male faculty in higher education discern mentoring as a mentor and as a mentee 
  • This study includes 7 semi-structured interviews with seven faculty members in an educational leadership program
  • Results indicate that higher education mentoring, the willingness to pass on the experience of mentoring, as well as family values influence the Latino male faculty perception of mentorship

Introduction (Reprinted from the Abstract)

While some higher education institutions attempt to help support and retain Latino students until graduation, these same institutions often neglect the experiences of Latino faculty members. The main challenges Latino faculties encounter in higher education include cultural taxation, discrimination, and feelings of isolation. Research is limited on the experiences and role of mentorship for Latino male faculty. This phenomenological study examines how Latino male faculty members in higher education perceive mentoring both as a mentee and as a mentor. This study also examines the impact of mentoring on professional development and the path of Latino male faculty. Findings illustrate that family values, mentoring in higher education, and desire to pay forward the mentoring experience are factors that impact Latino male faculty perception of mentorship.

Implications (Reprinted from the Discussion)

With the small amount of consistent literature regarding the direct impact mentorship has on either a mentee or a mentor, it proves difficult to truly measure the impact one person has on another. However, through the literature we are made aware of the links between impactful relationships and success. Where, like our participants, success is translated from the assistance of another person(s), each relationship is unique and brings different outcomes: familial, cultural, professional, and cognitive. This directly reflects the degree of difficulty in quantifying mentorship as a concept. Within this study, there were differences in the relationships the participants shared with their mentors. Through Alejandro’s story, we noted a direct relationship between Alejandro and his mentor, as an advisor who chaired his dissertation committee. In many ways, one can recognize the effects in these particular circumstances of mentorship. Fidencio, on the other hand, expressed the level of connection he made with others in the field. Through his mentor, Fidencio was able to have confidence to build such connections. Although it may not be always quantifiable, mentorship within higher education has shown to increase a mentee’s connection with the field and, in turn, removes the deterrent these Latino faculty members have faced to further progress within the field.

The culture of mentorship in the Latino faculty participants of this study began prior to entering academia. Latin American culture plays a large role in the culture of mentorship within these men. All seven participants expressed that first mentoring experiences started within their families and their own communities. When seeking a supportive environment while pursuing a college degree, the majority of participants turned to family prior to professional mentorship. Similar to the literature review, this aligns with the family first, or familismo, culture identity of Latino faculty while attempting to navigate feelings such as isolation and alienation. It can also be argued that such feelings have hindered the likelihood of many Latino scholars to pursue higher education further in what has historically been a predominately White system of education. Many of the participants’ successes can be contributed to their tight family culture, Latin American culture. It is noticed that familismo, extremely prevalent while pursuing a post-master’s degree, served as a link from Latin American culture to the culture of higher education, allowing these Latino male faculty to become successful and display a direct connection between mentorship, a lack of isolation, and success.

This study further supports the relation to mentorship within higher education, as established by the findings of Torrens et al. (2017) and Nora and Crisp (2007). Participants of this study felt the positive impact from a mentor in each of the four elements: (a) psychological or emotional support, (b) goal setting and career paths, (c) academic subject knowledge support, and (d) the existence of a role model (Nora & Crisp, 2007). The emotional support of a mentor during post-baccalaureate work is reflected in each of the Latino faculty members’ stories. Assistance navigating each of their ties, or lack thereof in some circumstances, to the culture of each post-baccalaureate program was also noted. Furthermore, featured in many of the stories told by the participants, the existence of such role models produces significant opportunities despite common roadblocks in education that may have been stacked against them in terms of limiting factors such as cultural taxation (Cargill, 2009; Padilla, 1994; Urrieta et al., 2015) and discrimination (De Luca & Escoto, 2012; Sadao, 2003; Thompson, 2008; Verdugo, 2003).


To access this article, click here.