Rising Responsiveness: The Roles and Influence of U.S-Mexico Borderland Public University Board Leaders on Student Diversity

Daniel Rodriguez Dominguez, University of Texas at El Paso


The study sought to learn how governing boards of public university systems located along the U.S.-Mexico border exercise their roles and influence over matters of student diversity. Traditionally, governing boards have been dominated by older white males and have concentrated their attention on high-level financial issues. In addition, the boards have enacted policies and rules directed to traditional student populations of young white males who earn their bachelor's degrees in four years. This notion is no longer valid and is being challenged by increasingly enrolling diverse communities. Student body composition on campuses nationwide have changed noticeably since the beginning of the 21st century. Women are now a majority on college campuses, and the overall white non-Hispanic population is decreasing as the Hispanic and Asian communities expand their presence on campus. Furthermore, society is seeing multiple manifestations of inconformity against discrimination of women, ethnic, racial, and gender identities. To deal with a diverse student composition and increasing social pressures, governing boards need to raise their awareness of issues affecting not only their campus communities but also their at-large communities. Boards need to expand their current financial fiduciary roles to include roles that show they care about other issues of importance to their communities, especially those that can make a difference in students’ lives. This qualitative study purposively selected experienced board leaders who know the board activities and asked them to share their valuable insight through an interview protocol. The study’s findings showed that governing boards along the U.S.-Mexico borderland have a high level of awareness about their campus demographics, the needs of their students, and how they support activities that promote diverse enrollment and a welcoming campus atmosphere. Boards were also found to have an interest in engaging with their communities and having a larger influence on student degree attainment, especially for those from traditionally underrepresented sectors of society. In sum, the study contributes to scholarly research by helping to fill the gaps in the study of boards of multi-university systems and presenting evidence that boards are embracing their fiduciary duty of care by acting in their campus communities' best interests.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Educational administration|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Dominguez, Daniel Rodriguez, "Rising Responsiveness: The Roles and Influence of U.S-Mexico Borderland Public University Board Leaders on Student Diversity" (2023). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30492647.