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A Case Study Policy Analysis of One Bilingual Higher Education Institution: How Are Bilingual English-Spanish Universities Planning to Remain Viable?

Martinez, Carmen Alicia (2022) A Case Study Policy Analysis of One Bilingual Higher Education Institution: How Are Bilingual English-Spanish Universities Planning to Remain Viable? Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Hispanic college enrollment in the U.S. will surpass 4.4 million students by 2025, far exceeding the growth rate of any other racial or ethnic group. Hence, the number of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) identified by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) increased to nearly 570 in 2020 and is likely to accelerate (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, n.d.).
This qualitative case study took place at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). one of the largest U.S. HSIs. Located at the South Texas borderland, it claims to be a "highly engaged bilingual university." This qualitative case study describes and interprets UTRGV's bilingual model of higher education through institutional document analysis, supported by semi-structured interviews.
Data were conceptualized using an adaptation of Dafouz and Smit's (2016) ROAD MAPPING of English-Medium Education in Multilingual University Settings (EMEMUS), originally used to study the introduction of English to European universities. Informed by sociolinguistics, critical language and race theory, LangCrit (Cumins, 2014), and bilingual education policy, this study addresses the primary question—how the first public bilingual English-Spanish university plans to remain viable.

Findings suggest UTRGV's bilingual initiative is in its infancy. It is nested in how the community positions itself through language within a broader framework, e.g., language policy, bilingual education, HSIs' research, and meanings associated with personal value, legitimization, and social justice. Indeed, UTRGV has supported the creation of a bilingual, bicultural, and biliterate institute to promote higher education in English and Spanish; however, this strategic plan remains disconnected from institutional language policy.
The success of the UTRGV bilingual initiative symbolizes the beginning of recognizing the linguistic capital of the U.S. Hispanic population and an opportunity for HSIs to capitalize on the wellspring of emerging bilinguals whose cultural heritage and linguistic wealth deserve strengthening, consideration, and relevance. Findings revealed that UTRGV's Hispanic and first-generation college student community is committed to becoming a highly engaged bilingual university and the blueprint for other HSIs to follow.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Martinez, Carmen Aliciacam73@pitt.educam730000-0001-7072-044X
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMcClure, Maureenmmcclure@pitt.edummcclure0000-0002-6253-5153
Committee MemberGarcia, Gina A.GGARCIA@pitt.eduGGARCIA0000-0002-6706-9200
Committee MemberDonato, Richarddonato@pitt.edudonato0000-0003-2715-2584
Committee MemberSundusiyah, Anisans161@pitt.eduans1610000-0002-1094-975X
Date: 13 May 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 January 2022
Approval Date: 13 May 2022
Submission Date: 28 April 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 233
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: bilingual universities, college linguistic wealth, cultural heritage, bilingual higher education, bilingual policy, Hispanic Serving Institutions
Date Deposited: 13 May 2022 16:39
Last Modified: 13 May 2022 16:39


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