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Get Involved 

The Research Academy hub will be updated throughout the year. Please let us know what you would like to see included on our page. For example, would you like to see links to best practices or specific information (i.e., t-tests or choosing an appropriate data analysis) or would like to nominate students, staff, or faculty members for the Research Spotlight? If so, please contact                                                     

Research Academy

To support research collaboration among faculty, staff, and students, the Research Academy sub-committee (of the JFKSOPSS Grants and Research Committee) created a process of collecting data to be included in a searchable database. This searchable database is accessible from the NU Whole Person Center (WPC) website within the Research Academy section. The process is an opportunity to list faculty interest in conducting research with other faculty and staff (either as the primary organizer/researcher looking for collaborators or as a subject matter or methodology expert available to collaborate with others on existing research). Individuals are asked to list their interests, areas of expertise, aspects of a study or manuscript they would be interested in collaborating on, and interest in informally mentoring students. This information is searchable by faculty, staff, and students looking to participate in research or informal mentorship. The Research Academy of the WPC website also includes information highlighting student, staff, and faculty research and accomplishments as well as content to support research and learning (such as “how to” videos, blogs about experiences associated with research, and resources). 

Research Area

My dissertation research explored educators’ cultural competence in higher education, which has an impact on the English as a second language learning process of English language learners. I adopted a qualitative methodology with a single case study design for this dissertation project. This qualitative single case study used a cross-disciplinary sample of 12 higher education educators from one community college in California. Data collection was collected from a home office in two phases: 12 semi-structured interviews and one focus group session via Zoom. Interview data was professionally transcribed. I transferred to NVivo. I analyzed data thematically. For individual interview analysis, I found major and minor themes that resembled similarities and differences between educators’ perspectives regarding their cultural competence, teaching experiences, and how and in what ways educators perceive they support the English language learning process through their cultural competence. For the focus group data analysis, I also identified major and minor themes among participants’ responses regarding their cultural competence, what educators considered their academic department was doing well, and what their department should do regarding cultural competence and diversity training. Themes were then interpreted and linked back to the theoretical framework or literature. Findings helped explore the study problem while accounting for the intent to inform professional practice, improve policy development, and advance second language acquisition.


Several elements inspired me to do my research. First, my appreciation for the English language since I am an English language learner. Second, I experienced some microaggressions by higher education educators while learning English. Third, my curiosity about people’s cultures and the inseparable connection between culture and language. Last is my commitment to reducing cultural barriers, minimizing misunderstandings and communication gaps in the classroom, improving learning outcomes, and contributing to the body of knowledge in second language learning literature.

Advice for Other Researchers

Patience and motivation are essential attributes for researchers. As the researcher, you are considered the primary instrument in qualitative inquiry––and can impact all aspects and stages of the research process, from its design, data collection, data interpretation of findings, conclusions, and recommendations (Bloomberg and Volpe, 2019; Holmes, 2020). I learned to be patient throughout my research project. Emailing potential participants and not receiving a positive response for several reasons was somewhat discouraging. Despite taking reasonable steps to be flexible around their availability, I had to be patient with my participants as some did not follow through with their participation. However, I kept hitting the send button until I reached enough participants and interview data for saturation. 1 Practicing patience with myself was also crucial. There were times when I got stuck with data analysis and was not getting anywhere. I had to remind myself that analysis is a cyclical process. Stepping away from your work to decompress from everything is needed as you come back stronger and more focused. Motivation was another key element during this learning process. A motivated researcher is fundamental to making it to the finish line of a doctoral degree. However, you may feel you are not making any progress and want to keep working on your studies despite feeling extremely tired. Although it is hard to do out of guilt sometimes, I motivated and convinced myself to take time off from my research. Trust that after getting plenty of guilt-free rest, you will feel like a brand-new and refreshed researcher. Patience and motivation are crucial for student researchers to navigate a doctoral journey. You Got This!


Citations Bloomberg, L., & Volpe, M. (2019). Completing your qualitative dissertation. SAGE Publications. Holmes, A. G. D. (2020). Researcher positionality -- A consideration of its influence and place in qualitative research -- A new researcher guide. Shanlax International Journal of Education, 8(4), 1–10.

Current Position, Career Goal, and/or Research Agenda

I am currently a doctoral student completing my dissertation. My career goal is to share my research with administrators, practitioners, and educators to improve educators' cultural competence in higher education. I also intend to further research students' cultures and their impact on second language learning.

Research Spotlight: 
Meet Sandra Flores

Research Resources


If you are interested in collaborating on a research project or providing training support for research methods, please complete this                                      .                           

Please share your interest in conducting research with other faculty and staff (either as the primary organizer/researcher looking for collaborators or as a subject matter or methodology expert available to collaborate with others on existing research).    


The information submitted using the Research Jotform will be compiled into a database that will be available to faculty, staff, and students. The database will include faculty interests, areas of expertise, aspects of a study or manuscript faculty are interested in collaborating on, and interest in informally mentoring others. This searchable database will be accessible soon.  

Research Collaboration

Teaching Resources

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