Campus Access Only

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of University of the Pacific. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Thomas Nelson

First Committee Member

Harriett Arnold

Second Committee Member

Robert Oprandy

Third Committee Member

Douglas Tedards


A qualitative collective case study explored variables that had an effect on decisions to pursue postsecondary education for twelve Cambodian Americans; the meanings they ascribed to engagement in the postsecondary educational process; factors that had an influence on selection of an institute of higher education; and self-described challenges and efforts to overcome challenges in the educational process. Results indicate Cambodian refugee parents supported their children's educational aspirations and nine of twelve respondents are currently engaged in or plan higher education, and one respondent plans vocational postsecondary education. Most respondents who lived in an ethnic enclave chose careers that contribute to the collective paradigm and have a positive sense of identity. Respondents identified academic challenges in English writing, vocabulary, and in higher mathematics. Female respondents cited desires for independence and self-determination as rationale for higher educational aspirations while males cited a desire to improve family quality of life. Respondents rarely received guidance counseling sufficient to support educational endeavors. Most attended community college and chose transfer universities that would allow them to live with relatives. Attaining fluency in Khmer supported academic achievement as did close relationships with instructors and teaching methodologies compatible with collectivistic cultural paradigms. Personal standards of achievement and motivational strategies were important to academic success and a connection between religious association, collectivism, and being male was in evidence.





To access this thesis/dissertation you must have a valid email address and log-in to Scholarly Commons.

Find in PacificSearch Find in ProQuest



If you are the author and would like to grant permission to make your work openly accessible, please email