Giving a Voice to CSTEP Directors: Transformative Leaders of University Equity Initiatives

Renaldo Diaz Alba, Fordham University


Objectives. This study explores the experiences of transformative leaders on college and university campuses who direct equity programs serving a population of students, whom, as being underrepresented minorities (URM) or economically disadvantaged, are historically under-resourced pursuing majors and careers in the country’s most high need professions and most rigorous programs of study in STEM, health and health-related careers, and the licensed fields. Methods. This study uses qualitative research methods to explore narratives of eleven participants who serve(d) as CSTEP project directors while also providing leadership as an executive committee member in the statewide professional Association of Program Administrators for CSTEP and STEP (APACS). With a qualitative heuristic inquiry approach, the interview data collected and analyzed provides intimate collections of formative personal and professional experiences and challenges of running an equity program on college/university campuses. Results. Findings illuminate transformative leadership processes and characteristics directors used and relied on to navigate great personal and professional risks to serve their students in the face of bias and racism embedded in institutional structures. Conclusions. The findings of this study capture the essence of values, experiences, and worldview participants possess as directors and as statewide leaders. Recommendations for practice encourage educational leaders to leverage the human capital of equity leaders to enhance their campus community. Recommendations for research propose a deeper exploration into narratives of leaders of equity initiatives to fully account for the impact of their work and, conversely, the impact of the work on equity leaders.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Alba, Renaldo Diaz, "Giving a Voice to CSTEP Directors: Transformative Leaders of University Equity Initiatives" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28777415.