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Leadership Practices for Undocumented and DACA Students at a Rural Iowa Community College

Dalila Avila Sajadian, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this qualitative narrative inquiry study was to provide a deeper understanding of community college leaders who serve undocumented and DACA students on their campus, and their decision-making processes as well as their meaning-making processes concerning this vulnerable population. This study was guided by the following research questions: a) how do leaders of a community college in Iowa describe their decision-making processes with regards to undocumented and DACA students? b) How do they make sense of the decision-making process? Participants included the President of the college, the Vice President of Academic Affair, the Vice President of Student Services, the Dean of Continuing Education, and a special populations advisor. The methodology used for this study followed a narrative inquiry framework. Data was collected through two semi-structured interviews with each participant. The themes identified through this study included: a) the status of the students was irrelevant to the services they were providing to the students; b) the leaders were very cognizant of an underlying fear in this vulnerable population; c) there was a collaborative effort from leaders at this institution to make the college a safe and welcoming environment for these students; d) there is a lack of information or misinformation surrounding undocumented and DACA students as a community and from institutional agents. The findings of this study provide some guidelines and recommendations to rural leaders to better address the needs of undocumented and DACA students on their campuses.

Subject Area

Higher education|Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Sajadian, Dalila Avila, "Leadership Practices for Undocumented and DACA Students at a Rural Iowa Community College" (2021). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI28419433.