Department of Educational Administration


First Advisor

Deryl K. Hatch-Tocaimaza

Date of this Version


Document Type



Mardock Uman, N. (2018). A resource-oriented investigation into the community college matriculation and persistence of U.S.-educated English language learners (Doctoral dissertation).


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctorate of Philosophy, Major: Education Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Deryl K. Hatch-Tocaimaza. Lincoln, Nebraska: October, 2018.

Copyright (c) 2018 Naomi Mardock Uman


The purpose of this qualitative single case study with embedded units of analysis was to provide evidence of the personal, institutional, and community resources leveraged by U.S.-educated English language learners (US-ELLs) to matriculate and persist at community colleges and of how their educational experiences were shaped by community college policies and practices. By considering the experiences of multiple students through in-depth interviews and drawing on additional insight provided by interviews with institutional agents, this resource-oriented investigation into US-ELLs’ matriculation and persistence was designed to counter the prevailing deficit orientation that may limit educational opportunity for US-ELLs at community colleges. The study was guided by the following questions: 1) What resources do US-ELLs describe drawing on to matriculate, navigate through ESL and basic writing courses, and successfully complete a first-level college composition course at a community college? 2) How did students leverage these resources to expand their educational opportunities at a community college? 3) How did community college policies and practices for US-ELLs shape these students’ matriculation and course-taking experiences? Participants included seven US-ELLs who were enrolled in a large public community college in the Midwest and 11 faculty and professional staff members who worked with US-ELLs at that community college. Data was collected at the individual level through two interviews with each student participant and at the institutional level through interviews with the faculty and professional staff and through document review. This study found that three types of Yosso’s (2005) Community Cultural Wealth were most salient for the student participants in this study: aspirational, linguistic and social capital. However, the ways in which US-ELLs leveraged these resources to support their community college matriculation and persistence was influenced by the institutional policies and practices they experienced in the course of matriculation and persistence. Community college policies and practices towards ELLs, specifically those surrounding assessment and placement and ESL course content, materials, and instructional methods, may be limiting the educational opportunities of US-ELLs.

Advisor: Deryl K. Hatch-Tocaimaza