Ostadalimakhmalbaf, Mohammadreza (2018-07). Investigating the Factors Impacting Hispanic Students' Retention in Higher-Education Construction Programs. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • Hispanic workers play a central role in the United States (US) construction industry, but they still lag behind other population groups in obtaining bachelor's degrees. To grow the number of Hispanic construction managers, there should first be a growth in Hispanics earning construction science degrees. Construction education has a problem retaining Hispanic students since many of them who begin postsecondary education simply do not graduate. The purpose of this study was first to identify the factors contributing to the retention of Hispanic students in construction science education programs and then to explore the factors with the strongest positive effect. A mixed methods research synthesis (MMRS) was employed to analyze a body of empirical articles reporting on the factors impacting Hispanic student retention in construction education. The literature revealed different factors including financial aid, construction-related student organizations, tutorial services, academic advising, career development programs, academic workshops, construction-oriented learning communities, undergraduate research experience, extracurricular activities, mentoring programs, Hispanic faculty members in the construction program, and Hispanic peers and students in the construction program. To determine on which factors undergraduate construction programs should focus retention strategies to enhance Hispanic student success, this study employed the Delphi method on two levels: o Academic level (experiment group) o Construction industry level (control group) The results of the experiment group demonstrated that financial aid, academic advising, and mentoring programs were the top three most important factors among all these three groups. In addition, the results of the control group showed that Hispanic industry professionals perceived financial aid, career development programs, and tutorial services as the top three most important retention factors. While mentoring programs were reported as the most important factor by the literature, this factor was ranked as the least important by industry professionals in round two, revealing the limited knowledge of industry professionals on the impact of mentoring. This limited knowledge can be attributed to the lack of representation of mentoring programs in construction education programs in Texas. Finally, the study proposed the HACS (Hispanic Aggies in Construction Science) Program as an initiative for increasing the retention of Hispanic students in higher education construction programs.

publication date

  • July 2018