Innovation in Higher Education: Three Sites in Haiti

Recent decades have brought seismic changes to global higher education. Educational leaders labor to sharpen administration, funding, teaching and learning practices in response to an increasingly globalized and technological world. The possibilities that this changing landscape may provide are perhaps most exciting for those currently economically disadvantaged and historically underserved by higher education. The advent of a knowledge economy and the need to train hundreds and thousands of new students paired with technological developments may help correct inequalities in access and excellence in education. This study asks the question: What, however, is the lived reality on the ground? Are university faculty and administrators in historically underserved communities finding new and exciting paths forward? Or, are these educational leaders feeling entrenched and forced to well-worn paths of disempowerment? This study leverages cross-disciplinary conversations with innovation research to critically analyze these, and other, questions. Deploying a multi-site case study in the Caribbean nation of Haiti, this study gathers evidence from documents and semi-structured interviews with nine leaders in higher education across three institutions. The findings of this study indicate that innovation can take and is taking place in higher education systems in the developing world. Though structural inequalities remain, educational leaders in Haiti are working to realize perceived opportunities to define the “good” of education both privately and publicly; leverage international support; encourage students (and graduates) to stay in country; increase student support services; and secure validity while relying on local expertise. These findings help detail a picture of global higher education and a historically marginalized community.

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Haitian Adult Immigrants as Learners and Parents

Haitian immigrant parents often face challenges to visibly engage in their children’s education in the United States due to social, cultural, and economic factors. This study addressed parent involvement (PI) among Haitian immigrant parents of adolescents in a Florida community. The purpose of this exploratory, multiple-case study was to better understand connections between immigrant Haitian parents’ beliefs and learning experiences and their experiences supporting their adolescents’ learning. Three research questions were developed to explore Haitian adults’ lived experiences and perceptions of themselves as keepers of knowledge and as learners, their experiences and perceived roles as parents, and the resources they possessed that could increase PI. The conceptual framework included social constructs of family literacy, new literacy studies, and funds of knowledge. Nine Haitian parents of teenage children and 3 educators and liaisons from the community were selected for interviews. Qualitative data analysis included open coding, theme identification, and triangulation of data from an archival PI survey. Findings indicated that adults’ experiences with learning at home and learning at school influenced their perceived parenting roles and self-efficacy at home, the type of PI in which they engaged, and future aspirations for their children. Results were used to develop a white paper aimed at community stakeholders to enhance educators’ and social service providers’ cultural knowledge of Haitian families and to promote two-way communication. The project may encourage the development of culturally responsive PI strategies and adult learning opportunities benefiting local and trans-national Haitian communities throughout the United States.

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Factors That Contribute to the Educational Success of Haitian-American Women

The purpose of this study was to explore the factors that influence academic success among Haitian-American women. A survey research method was used in this study. A quantitative approach was taken when analyzing the data. For this study, 213 Haitian-American women with college degrees completed the Inventory of College Success for Haitian-American Women. One descriptive analysis was conducted and 10 hypotheses were tested by one-way ANOVA. This study examined 16 dependent variables and 10 independent variables with 10 hypotheses. The results indicated that Haitian-American women perceived self- motivation, financial assistance, accessibility to resources, self-perception, time management, spiritual life, family support, prior academic achievement, and affordability of college tuition to be the factors that contributed to their educational success. Knowledge of a second language was perceived as the factor that contributed the least to their educational success. The groups studied revealed more similarities in their responses on the factors than differences.

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