Chicana/o Studies and its Impact on Chicana and Chicano Undergraduate Students: The Role of a Culturally Relevant Education
Chicanas/ Chicanos make up 9-10% of students who graduate with a baccalaureate degree in the United States (Covarrubias, 2011). A number of these students have enrolled in Ethnic Studies programs like Chicana/o Studies. As colleges and universities seek to improve college retention and graduation rates, there is an imperative to investigate alternative ways of improving educational attainment for Latina/o students. Little is known about how culturally relevant education as found in Chicana/o Studies impacts student academic success and their future aspirations. Thus, an examination on Chicana/o Studies and its impact on students who major or minor in Chicana/o Studies informs student success in their academic, career and personal achievements. The purpose of this study is to examine curriculum and pedagogical impact of Chicana/o Studies on Chicana and Chicano alumni who majored or minored in the discipline at a four-year university located in Southern California. This dissertation draws from twenty-five oral interviews querying participants on the impact of Chicana/o Studies curriculum, pedagogy, femtoring, mentoring, and [tor]mentoring. The theoretical frameworks guiding this study are Critical Race Theory, Chicana Feminism, and Chicana Feminist Epistemology in determining how educational institutions subordinate participants while at the same time resisting inequalities with the assistance of a culturally relevant curriculum and pedagogical practices.