Book By: Virgil Laden
Review By: Sundra D. Kincey
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Florida State University


The minority is quickly becoming the emerging majority in today’s community colleges. Serving Minority Populations provides great insight into the efforts made by community colleges to meet the challenges brought by students from diverse racial backgrounds and how the colleges promote academic success for minority students. Community colleges currently enroll over one third of all students and approximately half of all minority students within higher education.

This book is particularly helpful for advisors who serve minority students in any setting and is especially helpful for those employed in departments where minorities have been historically underrepresented. Not only is the book helpful in understanding the needs of minority students, it provides suggestions and strategies for advisors working with students in special needs programs, e.g., initiatives targeting welfare students. According to Melendez, Falcon, and Montrichard (2004), experiences garnered from welfare-to-work programs have tremendously advanced the abilities of community colleges to serve disadvantaged populations. In addition, community colleges have been successful in advancing and promoting academic success among Hispanic students (Benitez & DeAro, 2004).

Even though their numbers are increasing, students of color remain significantly underrepresented in higher education. Programs such as the LifeMap -- Valencia Community College, Orlando -- help students determine when and how to take the specific steps needed to complete degree requirements and attain career goals while effectively decreasing attrition rates among minority students. Programs such as this provide valuable information for advisors trying to help minority students and/or first-generation college students achieve their academic goals.

It is disappointing that the editors did not include a chapter dedicated to best practices for increasing retention among students of color at community colleges. Still, this edition has a wealth of research, both quantitative and qualitative, that demonstrates how various programs serve to increase access, retention, and academic success for students of color. As such, Serving Minority Populations is a welcomed addition to an advising library.


Benitez, M. & DeAro, J. (2004). Realizing student success at Hispanic serving institutions. Serving Minority Populations: New Directions for Community Colleges, 127, pp. 35-48.

Melendez, E., Falcon, L., Montrichard, A. (2004) Lessons from community college programs targeting welfare recipients. Serving Minority Populations: New Directions for Community Colleges, 127, pp. 61- 78.

Serving Minority Populations: New Directions for Community Colleges. (2004). Book by Laden, Virgil. Review by Sundra D. Kincey. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 128 pp. Price $29.00 ISBN # 0-7879-7790-X

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