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Authors Volume XI, Fall Issue

Article 1: A National Portrait of STEM Trajectories Through Two- and Four-Year Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Felisha A. Herrera, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Postsecondary Education,
Director, Research & Equity Scholarship Institute,
San Diego State University

Felisha A. Herrera, PhD is the Director of the Research & Equity Scholarship Institute on Student Trajectories in Education (RES-ISTE). She is also an associate professor of Postsecondary Education and Community College Leadership and affiliated faculty in the Joint PhD Program at San Diego State University (SDSU). Prior to joining SDSU, she served as an assistant professor of Community College Leadership and affiliated faculty in Public Policy at Oregon State University from 2012-2015. Dr. Herrera completed her Ph.D. in Education (emphasis in Higher Education & Organizational Change) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she was a research analyst for the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute (HERI). She also earned a master’s degree from UCLA, master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of New Mexico (UNM) and an associate’s degree from UNM-Taos (branch community college). Her scholarship is enhanced by nearly two decades of experience as a higher education professional at two- and four-year institutions, several Minority-Serving Institutions/Hispanic-Serving Institutions, including faculty and professional positions in student affairs, institutional research, and administration.  Her work is also informed by her own educational history as a community college graduate, low-income, first-generation college student, and mother scholar.

Dr. Herrera is a consummate scholar, who has published in top tier, peer-reviewed journals and has procured over $3.9 million in funding to support her research. She serves as the PI for several large-scale research projects, including two current NSF funded projects—ED-SYSTEMS (NSF DUE-1644990) & HSI-STEM (NSF DUE-1832528)—investigating the role of community colleges and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and as Co-PI for ADAPT: A Pedagogical Decision-Making Study (NSF HRD-1759947). To inform system-wide change, her research employs advanced statistical techniques to examine contextual factors—institutional (structure, process, and policy), geographic, demographic, political and economic contexts—that impact postsecondary outcomes for students of color. Her work encompasses several strands of scholarship including student mobility; community college pathways; underrepresented students in STEM; and a critical examination of policy issues related to diversity & equity in education.

Contact information:
Website: ;


Victoria C. Rodriguez-Operana, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Research & Equity Scholarship Institute, San Diego State University; and
Lecturer, Human Developmental Sciences,
University of California, San Diego

Victoria C. Rodriguez-Operana, Ph.D. (she/her/hers) is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the Research and Equity Scholarship Institute on Student Trajectories in Education (RES-ISTE). Dr. Rodriguez-Operana co-leads RES-ISTE on two NSF-funded projects examining the role of community colleges and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in the STEM pathways of underrepresented students of color: ED-SYSTEMS (NSF DUE-1644990) & HSI-STEM (NSF DUE-1832528). She also teaches courses in Human Developmental Sciences at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). 

With more than a decade of research experience in education, psychology, and human development, and publications in the Journal of Early Adolescence, Journal of Adolescent Research, and Asian American Journal of Psychology, her research examines how social identities and relationships within proximal contexts (e.g., family, school) influence the developmental outcomes (e.g., academic, social, psychological) of students of color. Prior to joining RES-ISTE, Dr. Rodriguez-Operana was a member of UCLA’s Children’s Understanding of Economic and Social Inequality Lab and worked on several projects, including studies examining: persistence among community college students in CalWORKs, psychosocial benefits of racial/ethnic diversity in urban schools, children’s social identity development, and an elementary school dual-language immersion program. Her mixed-methods dissertation examined how family, peer, and school-based relationships shape the academic achievement and psychological adjustment of Filipina/x/o American adolescents, an understudied segment of the Asian American/ Pacific Islander population. Dr. Rodriguez-Operana’s research reflects her commitment to understanding how to best support the academic success and well-being of individuals from diverse backgrounds and life experiences. Dr. Rodriguez-Operana earned her B.A. in Psychology from UCSD, and completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in Human Development and Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). 

Contact information:

Article 2: Assessing the Needs and Experiences of First-Generation Students’ Transition to Remote Learning Due to COVID-19 Pandemic at a Hispanic Serving Institution.       

Victoria G. Black, PhD
Director of PACE Mentoring,
Texas State University

Victoria Black is the Director for PACE Mentoring at Texas State University. In her current position at Texas State, she provides leadership and support to a team of over 100 individuals who work with first-year students, first-year faculty development, and Title V grant management. She has shared her passion on mentoring in a 2018 TedX talk at Texas State University titled No One is Talking to the Mentees on how to prepare ourselves as we enter into developmental relationships. Her experiences with mentoring include several publications on mentorability, various state and national presentations, and providing mentoring consultation and training internationally at Technologico de Monterrey – Queretaro, Queretaro, MX. Her publications also include college access for first-generation students, first-year student success, higher education finance, and working mothers in student affairs. Originally from La Joya, TX, she received a BA in Psychology from the University of Texas San Antonio, a M.Ed. in Counseling and Guidance from Texas State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in Higher Education Leadership.

Contact information:
Phone: 512-245-3579

Gloria P. Martinez-Ramos, PhD
Professor of Sociology, Latina/o Studies Program Director, and Director of The Center for Diversity and Gender Studies, Texas State University

Dr. Gloria P. Martinez-Ramos is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and the inaugural Director of Latina/o Studies minor at Texas State University. Dr. Martinez-Ramos earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a B.A. in Child Development from San Jose State University, and an A.A. from Hartnell College, Salinas, California. Gloria has over 15 years of teaching Sociology, such as, Race and Ethnic Relations, Medical Sociology, Social Stratification, Introduction to Sociology, Latinos and Immigration, Latina/os and Education, and Latina/o Studies courses at Texas State. She has published articles on Latinx college students’ retention and persistence.   mentored over 30 undergraduate and graduate students, many who are working in community-based and advocacy research in health and education.

Contact information:
Phone: 512-245-2470

Sylvia T. Gonzales, M.Ed.
Director of Developing HSI Programs
Texas State University

Sylvia T. Gonzales is the HSI STEM Impact & MAESTROS Director, member of the Hispanic Policy Network, and US1100 faculty.  Sylvia is the first in her family to go to college and is working on her Ed.D. in Positive Organizational Leadership from Abilene Christian University.  Sylvia continues to ensure the undergraduate student experience is authentic as she has served as an advocate, mentor, and leader to underrepresented college students for 21 years.  She has helped with the grassroots development of 6 federal grant programs in TX/NM, including Title III, V, and TRIO grants. She is also an active member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and Alliance for Hispanic Serving Institutional Educators and helped establish the Bobcat Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) certificate program and serves as co-chair on the First Gen Proud Working Group at Texas State University.  Sylvia has received numerous awards and recognition for her contributions, including Angelika Lester Wahl Diversity Award, HPN’s Latinx Star Award, a “Program to Watch” designation by Excelencia in Education, Bright Spots in Hispanic Education, and NASPA’s & Studer Foundation First-Gen Forward designation. 

Contact information:
Phone: 512-245-2080

Article 3: Estrategias de apoyo a la facultad en tiempos de pandemia: la respuesta de dos instituciones.


Dr. Carlos R. Morales Irizarry
President, TCC Connect Campus
 Tarrant County College

Before becoming TCC Connect’ s President in 2013, Dr. Carlos Morales was the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Distance Education Programs at Ana G. Méndez University- Virtual Campus. As such, he provided leadership, vision and planning for the implementation of courses and programs for online delivery. Previously he was the Executive Director of Academic Technology at Lock Haven University responsible for the delivery of online courses, the incorporation of technology for teaching and learning, faculty development, the STEP program (a student laptop initiative) and also facilitated campus conversations on academic technology. Prior to Lock Haven University, Carlos was the Instructional Designer for the Center for Instructional and Technological Innovation (CITI) at New Jersey City University, responsible for instructional technology staff. Carlos has extensive online and classroom teaching experience in the areas of: Biology, Science Teaching and Instructional Technology. Dr. Morales also holds professional certifications as Distance Learning Administration Professional from Texas A&M University and Certified Online Instructor (COI) from Walden University. Morales graduated from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, with bachelors and master’s degrees in Biology and Science Education, and received his doctorate, with a dissertation on Constructivist Learning Environments in Online Course Design, from Capella University. He was a Frye fellow in 2009.

Contact information:

Dr. Alice J. Casanova Ocasio
EDP University

La doctora Alice J. Casanova ha laborado en sector de la educación superior por más de 15 años, en la academia y la administración de esta. Posee un doctorado en Filosofía de la Educación con especialidad en Docencia y un Certificado en Educación Superior de Harvard University. Coordina el nodo de investigación en Puerto Rico de la Red Internacional de Investigadores en Educación a Distancia en Línea y Abierta (REDIC), es investigadora invitada en la Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia en Costa Rica, imparte cursos en línea del nivel graduado y subgraduado. Colabora como especialista Desde 2016 es la Decana Institucional de Educación a Distancia en EDP University.

Contact Information:

Article 4:
La oferta universitaria en línea de Puerto Rico: Actualización a otoño 2020

Dr. Marcos Torres
Full professor, Distance Education Department
Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, Ponce Campus

Dr. Marcos Torres-Nazario teaches online and face-to-face courses of statistics and research, at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico (IAUPR) Ponce Campus.  He received the degree of Doctor of Education in Educational Administration from the Inter American University Metro Campus.  Also completed a Post Master Certificate in Institutional Research from Florida State University.  In 2013 completed a Master Degree in Research and Evaluation at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus.  During the Summer of 2015 completed the ELearning Expert Certificate from FATLA.

Contact information:
Phone: (787) 284-1912 X-2049
Fax: (787) 841-0103

Article 5: La tecnología virtual: su importancia en la enseñanza-aprendizaje de la contabilidad.

Prof. Mayra L. Mojica Butler
Lecturer, Business Department
Hostos Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY)

Mayra L. Mojica Butler is a Lecturer in the Business Department at Hostos Community College (CUNY).  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting with a minor in finance from The University of Puerto Rico and the Master Degree in accounting from The University of Phoenix.

She has several years of experience in the field of accounting. Her extensive experience includes various accounting positions as Accountant at the Department of Labor (DOL) and Human Resources at Puerto Rico and Intern at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, DC, as well as Community Education Assistant at Bronx – Lebanon Hospital Center. In 2010 participated in Postgraduate Professional Development Program – PPDP in The Washington Center Education in Washington, DC.

She is the adviser of the Accounting Club at Hostos Community College, and every semester she hosts workshops designed to expand knowledge about the field of accounting and the many career paths and opportunities available in the accounting profession.

Also worked as a volunteer for New York Cares, a nonprofit volunteer organization in New York City in the Tax Preparation Program. The purpose of the program is to help people and communities in need of tax preparation support during the tax season.

Contact Information:

Article 6: Social Presence: An Imperative in Online Learning Contexts. 

Dr. Floralba Arbelo
Dean of Student Affairs, Associate Professor

Carlos Albizu University, Miami Campus

Dr. Floralba Arbelo currently serves as the Dean of Student Affairs and as Associate Professor at Albizu University in Miami, Florida.  Dr. Arbelo has held several positions in higher education including distance learning director, academic program director, research associate, curriculum specialist, and Title V Project Director in the United States, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Guatemala, Cuba, and in the Dominican Republic. Her research centers on Hispanic student success, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Hispanic student retention, and online teaching and learning. Her research has been published in the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research, HETS Online Journal, International Journal of Doctoral Studies, and Journal of Teacher Action Research, among others. Dr. Arbelo has an earned Doctor of Education degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, a Master of Science from The New School for Public Engagement in NY, and a Bachelor of Arts from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. Her research has been presented at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institution Educators, The College Board, the Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Conference, and the National Association of Hispanic and Latino Studies. In 2016, Dr. Arbelo was the recipient of the Women that Transcend Award for Global Leadership in Education and Community Service from the New Jersey Hand Foundation and was awarded Senatorial Citation for her volunteerism, activism, and mentoring activities among young adults and youth.  She is an alum of the inaugural class of the HACU Instituto de Liderazgo Fellowship.

Contact Information:
Phone: 305 593 1223 ext. 3227

Article 7: Student and Faculty Perspectives on Student Evaluation of Teaching: A Cross-Sectional Study at a Community College.

The authors of this article were members of the Instructional Evaluation Committee at Hostos Community College for the 2017-2020 term. This committee informs the College Senate of best practices in student evaluation of teaching (SET) and presents potential revisions to the SET process and the instrument to governance. ​ It also addresses the faculty peer-observation process and, in 2019, it approved the peer observation form created by the Peer Observation Improvement Network for Teaching Committee (POINT).

Sherese Mitchell, Ed.D., is Associate Professor in Education Department, served multiple terms as Chair of the Instructional Evaluation Committee, and is a member of the College-Wide Curriculum Committee.

Asrat Amnie, M.D., Ed.D., is Assistant Professor in Education Department; his publications focus on high-risk health behavior, including causes and consequences of stress, and strategies to cope with stress.

Jacqueline M. DiSanto, Ed.D., is Professor, Chair of Education Department, Coordinator of Teacher Education, and founding member of Peer Observations Improvement Network for Teaching.

Allison Franzese, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in Natural Sciences Department, and Adjunct Associate Research Scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, where she studies paleoclimate using geochemical tools.

Carlos Guevara, M.S., is Director of Office of Educational Technology, Co-Director of Center for Teaching and Learning, book author, altruist, and frequent speaker at national and international conferences, where he provides vision to promote organizational culture change and innovation to teaching and learning through technology.

Juno Morrow, M.F.A., is Assistant Professor of Game Design and Game Design Program Coordinator, serves on Educational Technology Leadership Council, and recently published her first book.

Silvia Reyes, M.S.W., is Director of Special Projects & Student Engagement; she is committed to student success, and her work has focused on designing and implementing a wide array of initiatives to improve students’ college experiences and academic attainment.

Maria Subert, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in Humanities; her research focuses include intercultural communication and institutional assessment including utilizing findings for continuous improvement.

Article 8: Teaching Using a Flipped Classroom Approach: Impacts for Students of Color.

Amber M. González, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Child and Adolescent Development Program,
California State University Sacramento

Amber M. Gonzalez (Ph.D. UC Santa Barbara; she/ella) is an Associate Professor in the Child and Adolescent Development program at the California State University, Sacramento.  Utilizing a multidisciplinary perspective including human development, educational psychology, as well as critical race theory she centers her research on examining Latinx academic aspirations and motivations through and across the P20 education pipeline. Her research examines the influence of social support networks and institutional structures on college student identity development and educational and career aspirations and motivations. In addition, she explores the ways in which students use these aspirations and motivations to ensure their success, manage failure, and persist. Dr. Gonzalez teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on motivation, quantitative research methods, and cross-cultural human development. Her scholarly work has been published in the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, Journal of Educational Research, and College Student Journal.

Contact information:

Article 9: The Effect of a Kernel Sentence Combining Technique on the Reading Comprehension Levels of Basic English Students at UPR-Cayey.

Dr. David H. Luciano
Associate Professor, University of Puerto Rico, Cayey Campus

Dr. Luciano work as a full-time Assistant Professor at the University of Puerto Rico-Cayey campus. Born in New York and then moved to Puerto Rico, and his hometown is Adjuntas. He has worked as a teacher-professor for almost thirty years now. Among his interests have always been to help English majors in their quest to become language experts as well as pedagogy students (elementary and secondary level) who want to become English teachers. Here in Puerto Rico English is taught as a second language (ESL), it is also a compulsory subject in schools from the elementary level. Luciano has worked as a teacher in all levels from the elementary to higher education. In addition, he has conducted research with middle, high school and college level ESL students. He is interested in conducting research with technological tools that can be used to bridge the gap between teaching and learning. Abut himself: I am a lifelong learner, and my biggest goal is to instill in my students the need for learning languages. My motto is: Learning is Fun, and It is A Lifelong Journey!

Contact Information:
Email: |
Phone: (787) 398-6671

Article 10: What are the best practices for online student engagement among Hispanic-Serving Institutions? A narrative review.  

Dr. Neal Malik
Assistant Professor, California State University, San Bernardino

Dr. Neal Malik is an Assistant Professor, researcher, and podcaster. He has taught at Minority-Serving and Hispanic Serving Institutions for 13 years. In addition to receiving numerous pedagogy certifications, he been featured as a nutrition and wellness expert on CBS local radio in Los Angeles, CA, USA as well as a number of online and print publications including and Men’s Fitness Magazine. Dr. Malik has also published peer-reviewed scientific literature on diet and its effects on appetitive hormones, type 2 diabetes, blood lipids, and body weight. In December 2020, he will be presenting on how Motivational Syllabi may improve student engagement in an online environment at the ITLC Lilly Conference.

Contact information:
Address: 5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino, CA 92407, USA
Phone: 1 + (909) 537-4588

Return to Fall Issue: November 2020

To learn more about the authors of previous issues click here

The Practice of Peer Observation.

By: Jacqueline M. DiSanto, Ed.D., Associate Professor, Education; Sandy Figueroa, M.S., Associate Professor, Business; Carlos Guevara, M.S., Director, Office of Educational Technology; Antonios Varelas, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Behavioral and Social Sciences; Diana Macri, M.S.Ed., R.D.H.,  Assistant Professor, Allied Health;
Andrea Fabrizio, Ph.D., Associate Professor, English; Sherese Mitchell, Ed.D., Associate Professor, Education; Sean Gerrity, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, English

Hostos Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY)



     This paper discusses existing literature on peer observation. It also focuses on work done by an investigative, information-sharing committee at an urban community college in the South Bronx that was created to communicate best practices for conducting peer observations. The Peer Observation Improvement Network for Teaching (POINT) committee views peer observations as faculty-development opportunities that can lead to improved teaching. Using pre- and post-observation conversations to share pedagogy and resources, writing recommendations for growth, and conducting faculty observations in an online environment are examples of topics addressed by POINT.

Key words:  collegial conversations, faculty development, online learning, peer observation, professional growth.


Hostos Online Learning Assessment (HOLA) Follow-Up: Student Perceptions in Two Cohorts.


Kate S. Wolfe, Ph.D.
Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Hostos Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY)

Dr. Jacqueline M. DiSanto
Department of Education
Hostos Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY)

Iber Poma
Educational Technology Department
Hostos Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY)

Wilfredo Rodríguez
Educational Technology Department
Hostos Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY)



This article is a follow-up article to our 2016 publication in this journal. The authors examined data from two cohorts, Fall 2015 and Fall 2016, to assess the stability of our survey results and learn more about student perceptions of online learning at Hostos Community College, an urban Hispanic-serving community college.  Faculty have been working with the Office of Educational Technology (EdTech) as a task force to measure students’ perceptions of their online learning experiences since 2015.  The Hostos Online Learning Assessment (HOLA) Task Force designed a survey to identify strengths and weaknesses in online teaching and student preparedness for online learning.  Understanding these perceptions is crucial in order to build upon current best practices.  Despite limitations in our sample size, this follow up study found great consistency of student perceptions across both semesters. We continue to assess student perceptions annually at Hostos Community College in order to continually improve our online teaching and learning environment.


Hostos Online Learning Assessment (HOLA) Follow-Up: Student Perceptions in Two Cohorts.


Student perceptions of online learning are integral to building upon current best practices and also gauging the preparedness of the students for the online learning environment, particularly in an urban, Hispanic-serving community college (Wolfe et al., 2016). Hostos Community College (HCC) was founded 50 years ago as part of the City University of New York (CUNY), and is located in the South Bronx, the poorest congressional district in the country.  HCC enrolls approximately 7,200 students, and more than half (5,070) are enrolled full time.  Sixty-three percent of students reside in the Bronx, and many come from families who reside below the poverty line.  Almost 67 percent of students identify as female, and the vast majority of students (81 percent) are 29 years old or younger, with 47 percent 21 years of age or younger.  Students at Hostos are ethnically diverse.  Nearly 60 percent identify as Hispanic, 21 percent as Black, and 18 percent as Other/Unknown.  Three percent identify as Asian and less than two percent as White.  The majority of first-year students are enrolled in developmental or remedial courses (Hostos Community College, Office of the President  & Office of Institutional Research and Student Assessment, 2018).  Hostos is categorized under the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) program authorized by Title V of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and has received grants as a Hispanic-serving institution under the Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education (Minority Institutions, n. d.).

Dr. Jacqueline M. DiSanto

Dr. Jacqueline M. DiSantoDr. Jacqueline M. DiSanto is an Associate Professor and Unit Coordinator (for Early-Childhood Education) in the Education Department at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York. She earned a B.S. and M.A. in Business Education (NYU), a professional diploma in Administration (Fordham), and an Ed.D. (St. John’s University) in Instructional Leadership. Her areas of publication includes: online education, learning styles, translanguaging, and faculty development. She is a founding member of the Peer Observation and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Committees, and a member of the Instructional Evaluation Committee and college-wide Senate. She is a co-investigator in a grant-funded consortium for Open Educational Resources; Dr. DiSanto is coordinating the efforts to convert the complete 60-credit A.A.S. in Early-Childhood Education from for-pay textbook reliance to providing all content without charge to students.

Contact info:
Jacqueline M. DiSanto, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor, Early-Childhood Education
Hostos Community College, CUNY

Hostos Online Learning Assessment: A Survey of Student Perceptions


By: Prof. Kate S. Wolfe Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Social Sciences,

Prof. Sarah L. Hoiland, Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Social Sciences,

Prof. Kate Lyons, Associate Professor, Library and Educational Technology,

Carlos Guevara, Director, Educational Technology and CTL,

Dr. Kris Burrell, Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Social Sciences,

Dr. Jacqueline M. DiSanto, Assistant Professor, Education,

Prof. Sandy Figueroa, Assistant Professor, Business,

Dr. Aaron Davis, Instructional Designer, Educational Technology,

Iber Poma, Coordinator of Student Services, Educational Technology,

Wilfredo Rodríguez, Coordinator, Educational Technology,

Prof. Linda Ridley, Lecturer, Business

Hostos Community College, CUNY, New York




The Office of Education Technology (EdTech) at Hostos Community College and faculty members from various departments created the Hostos Online Learning Assessment (HOLA) Task Force to design a survey for gathering and assessing data about students’ perceptions of their online learning experiences.  The task force wanted to utilize the survey results to identify strengths and weaknesses in online instruction and student preparedness for the online learning environment.  Student perceptions of online learning are integral to building upon current best practices and also gauging the preparedness of the students for the online learning environment, particularly in an urban, Hispanic-serving community college.  The survey and results will be discussed within the broader context of best practices and online learning assessments as well as the way the HOLA Task Force is utilizing the data to make meaningful changes in the survey instrument, in addittion planning for continuous improvement in online learning.


Keywords: online learning, asynchronous, hybrid, blended, student, community college, urban, Hispanic, African American