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Using Ethnography in the Community College as a Strategy to Recruit Latino

This article introduces the ethnographic component of a Cultural Studies course at Mountain View College, Cultural Studies 2370: Fiesta Oak Cliff. The Cultural Studies course is described in greater detail in another article (see Garcia, Gonzalez, and Grimes, 2004). Our aim here is to demonstrate how this component of the course assists Latino students in the community college to overcome major transfer barriers. Our article is organized along three general sections. The first describes Mountain View College, the community college partner of the FIPSE project, and Oak Cliff, the largest Latino barrio in Dallas, well within the college’s serving area. Low transfer rates of Latino students in Mountain View College and DCCCD in general, together with transfer obstacles, are presented in the second section. The transfer obstacles to be discussed are monetary barriers, social and cultural barriers, lack of clarity and relevance of higher education, and insufficient preparation for upper-level work. The specific ways in which the ethnographic-based curriculum of the Cultural Studies course overcomes the targeted transfer barriers is discussed in the third and last section. It illustrates the manner in which ethnography and the field school mitigate these obstacles.

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