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The Importance of Students’ Equity in College Career Centers Proposal

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Updated: Aug 26th, 2022

Every year, the number of immigrants and undocumented students increases in the United States. Morrison et al. (2016) claim that one in every three children will grow up in an immigrant family by the year 2040. Undocumented students face systemic, cultural, and institutional barriers in college career centers due to the lack of documentation (Kantamneni et al., 2016a; 2016b). They are also ineligible to receive any federal financial aid and are not allowed to fully participate in American society (Enyioha, 2019; Bjorklund, 2018).

Consequently, immigrant and undocumented students have higher dropout rates and lower performance than their U.S. citizens peers, and it hurts their career development (Ngo & Astudillo, 2018; Kantamneni et al., 2016b). Discrimination, fear of deportation, psychological pressure, and social barriers do not allow such students to work toward their career goals and find suitable jobs after college graduation. Therefore, it is important to promote students’ equity in college career centers.

A critical theory of love (CToL) and funds of knowledge (FoK) concept theory are aimed to engage with diverse students and create a safe space for them in colleges. The CToL promotes love, justice, compassion, and tenderness towards immigrant and undocumented students, enabling “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (Barnett and Witenstein, 2020, p. 2; Brooks, 2017). The FoK concept theory is aimed to protect and share the cultural and historical roots of the students (Mariscal et al., 2019). Utilizing the principles promoted by these theories will benefit college students significantly.

The embodiment of CToL and FoK in the college outreach program will help to establish connections with students of diverse origins and social statuses. According to Kiyama and Rhoades (2012), such a connection can be achieved through professional organizations, career centers, committees, and task forces, leading to equity and access opportunities, affirming students’ place as competent professionals.

The use of these theories will also facilitate students’ professional development and give them the possibility to be institutional agents in U.S. society. A recent study showed that those undocumented and immigrant students who received some moral and financial support from their teachers, communities, and the government, outperformed their native American peers and improved their GPAs levels (Ngo and Astudillo, 2018). One can see that equity and shared values promotion are essential to this group of students.

This paper proposes to use participatory action research (PAR) to tailor solutions for undocumented and immigrant students. According to Mariscal et al. (2019), the use of PAR allows teachers to investigate their own FoK and cultural and linguistic insights, which will enable them to create innovative and culturally competent ways to address students’ learning processes and challenge oppressive practices. Educators should promote shared values and traditions to ensure freedom and equality for all (Pour-Khorshid, 2016). In addition, the role of teachers and career advisors is to work collaboratively with students and use the FoK concepts to reshape the framework of immigrant and undocumented students’ needs.

College career centers should use PAR practices and FoK concepts to engage with students because these concepts will allow them to develop and implement plans that will promote the equity and well-being of undocumented students. Both colleges and students will benefit from such changes because they will improve students’ performance, increase their GPAs, and help students choose their career paths on a par with their American peers. In conclusion, the outreach programs will create equal access to knowledge and career opportunities, enabling immigrants to become high-skilled professionals and bring benefits to society.

References

Barnett, R. M., & Witenstein, M. A. (2020). Imagining a climate of equity through a critical theory of love: Using CPAR to identify guiding principles that humanize library work. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 46(5), 1-7. Web.

Bjorklund, P. Jr. (2018). Undocumented students in higher education: A review of the literature, 2001 to 2016. Review of Educational Research, 88(5), 1-40. Web.

Brooks, D. N. (2017). (Re)conceptualizing love: Moving towards a critical theory of love in education for social justice. Journal of Critical Thought and Practice, 6(3), 102-114. Web.

Enyioha, J. C. (2019). College access for undocumented students and law. Educational Considerations, 45(1), 1-11. Web.

Kantamneni, N., Dharmalingam, K., Tate, J., Perlman, B., & Majmudar, C. R. (2016a). DREAMing big: Understanding the current context of academic and career decision-making for undocumented students. Journal of Career Development, 1-15. Web.

Kantamneni, N., Shada, N., Conley, M. R., Hellwege, M. A., Tate, J. M., & Wang, S. C. (2016b). Academic and career development of undocumented college students: The American dream? The Career Development Quarterly, 64, 318-332. Web.

Kiyama, Lee & Rhoades (2012). A critical agency network model for building an integrated outreach program. The Journal of Higher Education, 83(2), 276-303. Web.

Mariscal, J., Kiyama, J. M., & Benavides, V. N. (2019). The embodiment and enactment of funds of knowledge among Latina/o university outreach staff: Leadership in learning environments. Journal of Latinos and Education. Web.

Morrison, S. M., Walley, C. T., Perez, C. P., Rodriques, S., Halladeen, I., & Burdier, V. (2016). Ideas and Research You Can Use: VISTAS, 43, 1-12. Web.

Ngo, F., & Astudillo, S. (2019). California DREAM: The impact of financial aid for undocumented community college students. Educational Researcher, 48(1), 5-18. Web.

Pour-Khorshid, F. (2016). H.E.L.L.A.: Collective Testimonio that speak to the healing, empowerment, love, liberation, and action embodies by social justice educators of color. Association of Mexican American Educators (AMAE) Journal, 10(2), 16-32.

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IvyPanda. "The Importance of Students’ Equity in College Career Centers." August 26, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-importance-of-students-equity-in-college-career-centers/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "The Importance of Students’ Equity in College Career Centers." August 26, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-importance-of-students-equity-in-college-career-centers/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'The Importance of Students’ Equity in College Career Centers'. 26 August.

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