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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Advisor

Fred Muskal

First Committee Member


Second Committee Member

Lillian G. Brown

Third Committee Member

Mari G. Irvin

Fourth Committee Member

Steve Trotter


The purpose of the study was to examine the career paths of upwardly mobile Hispanic educators to isolate those factors which were important in the mobility process. The goal of this study was to discover what factors account for mobility and what kinds of experiences hinder upward movement of minority individuals. Twelve Hispanic educators from central and northern California were interviewed using an open-ended, retrospective interview format. The data were analyzed to determine the common patterns in social mobility among the 12 participants from impoverished, minority backgrounds. The study identified ways in which social class impacted negotiating strategies, including situational survival, retaining a present time orientation, keeping the dream focus flexible, and settling on a community of symbolic membership. The data also identified ways in which culture impacted career through the importance of retaining symbolic membership as part of the dream, including career choice, and to provide cultural mentoring once well established in career. Mentoring became the most important feature of mobility both in early and professional career. In early career mentoring was often momentary and came from a variety of sources, including parents and teachers, among others. To be effective, mentoring had to structure advice about the future as a set of options wich could be compared within a present-time orientation. In professional career, mentoring was longer-term (or traditional mentoring). School counselors, educators, and therapeutic counselors need to be aware of the importance that momentary mentoring can have on minority youth; be there to suggest the next possible step for these youth to consider; and actively seek out and offer support in the form of pointing out options which make sense to students in terms of the present. Future research should examine other minority professional populations to test the hypothesis that successful mentoring for mobile minorities involves the conditions identified in this study. Several other hypotheses were also developed.