Culture Centers in Higher Education
Perspectives on Identity, Theory, and Practice

Paper: 978 1 57922 232 1 / $29.95
Published: November 2010  

Cloth: 978 1 57922 231 4 / $95.00
Published: November 2010  

Lib E-Book: 978 1 57922 511 7 / $95.00  
About Library E-Book

Published: March 2012  

E-Book: 978 1 57922 512 4 / $23.99
Published: March 2012  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
230 pp., 6" x 9"
Are cultural centers ethnic enclaves of segregation, or safe havens that provide minority students with social support that promotes persistence and retention?

Though Black cultural centers boast a 40-year history, there is much misinformation about them and the ethnic counterparts to which they gave rise. Moreover, little is known about their historical roots, current status, and future prospects. The literature has largely ignored the various culture center models, and the role that such centers play in the experiences of college students.

This book fills a significant void in the research on ethnic minority cultural centers, offers the historic background to their establishment and development, considers the circumstances that led to their creation, examines the roles they play on campus, explores their impact on retention and campus climate, and provides guidelines for their management in the light of current issues and future directions.

In the first part of this volume, the contributors provide perspectives on culture centers from the point of view of various racial/ethnic identity groups, Latina/o, Asian, American Indian, and African American. Part II offers theoretical perspectives that frame the role of culture centers from the point of view of critical race theory, student development theory, and a social justice framework. Part III focuses specifically on administrative and practice-oriented themes, addressing such issues as the relative merits of full- and part-time staff, of race/ethnic specific as opposed to multicultural centers, relations with the outside community, and integration with academic and student affairs to support the mission of the institution.

For administrators and student affairs educators who are unfamiliar with these facilities, and want to support an increasingly diverse student body, this book situates such centers within the overall strategy of improving campus climate, and makes the case for sustaining them. Where none as yet exist, this book offers a rationale and blueprint for creating such centers. For leaders of culture centers this book constitutes a valuable tool for assessing their viability, improving their performance, and ensuring their future relevance – all considerations of increased importance when budgets and resources are strained. This book also provides a foundation for researchers interested in further investigating the role of these centers in higher education.

Table of Contents:
Foreword—Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings
Preface: A Call to Action: Historical and Contemporary Reflections on the Relevance of Campus Culture Centers in Higher Education—Lori Patton
1) Latina/o Cultural Centers: Providing a Sense of Belonging and Promoting Student Success—Adele Lozano
2) Asian American Student Involvement in Asian American Culture Centers—William Liu, Michael Cuyjet, and Sunny Lee
3) Island of Sanctuary: The Role of an American Indian Cultural Center—Rosa Cintrón, Heather J. Shotton, and Star Yellowfish
4) On Solid Ground: An Examination of Successful Strategies and Positive Student Outcomes Associated with Two Black Culture Centers—Lori Patton
5) Counterspaces in a Hostile Place: A Critical Race Theory Analysis of Campus Culture Centers—Tara Yosso and Corina Benavides Lopez
6) Critical Borders: Student Development Theoretical Perspectives Applied to Culture Centers—Mary Howard Hamilton, Kandace Hinton, and Robin Hughes
7) Resituating Culture Centers within a Social Justice Framework: Is There Room for Examining Whiteness—Michael Benitez, Jr.
8) Viewing Cultural Practice Through a Lens of Innovation and Intentionality: Strategies for Student Personnel Administrators in Culture Centers—Toby Jenkins
9) Campus Culture Center Directors’ Perspectives on Advancement, Current Issues, and Future Directions—E. Michael Sutton and Phyllis McCluskey-Titus
10) Promoting Student Engagement: Administrative Considerations for Current and Future Planning of Culture Center Programming and Outreach—Salvador Mena
Appendix A: Transforming for the 21st Century: Best Practices for Examining and Evaluating Campus Culture Centers and Multicultural Affairs Offices—Lari D. Patton

Reviews & Endorsements:
"This book makes a unique contribution to the higher education literature by thoroughly exploring culture centers. Although the research on cultural centers and their effect on predominantly White Institutions is minimal, Patton should be applauded for her effort to shed light on their importance. This is truly a "must read" for institutional leaders, student affairs practitioners, and graduate students who want to work as faculty or administrators in the field of higher education."
- Mona Davenport, Director of Minority Affairs, Eastern Illinois University , The Review of Higher Education
"Patton has produced a text "to offer an in-depth understanding of culture centers and their role in higher eduction" (p. xiv). The contributing authors include noteworthy scholars, emerging scholars, and practitioners who bring their professional experiences and expertise to bear on the topic at hand. This combination of rich theoretical and practical perspectives strengthens the book... Patton and her contributing authors do an excellent job of enhancing knowledge of the role and purpose of multicultural and race-specific culture centers on campus, as well as advocating for specific changes in practice to maintain their vital role in social justice work. This text joins a growing group of new publications on issues of campus diversity and inclusion and the role of specific administrative units in shaping and strengthening those efforts."
- Journal of College Student Development