Date of Award


Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Ernesto Colín

Second Advisor

Rebecca Stephenson

Third Advisor

Blaine Simmons


The lower retention and success rates of Black and Latine students in the Cinema/TV Department at a Hollywood-based community college reflect a broader diversity issue in the entertainment industry. This qualitative, arts-based study focused on student voice and the power of counternarratives by utilizing participatory action research to determine Black and Latine student sense of belonging. Four participants engaged 19 of their fellow students in dialogues using the social media platform TikTok to discover what their lived experiences were in the department, and what those narratives revealed about their sense of belonging and support systems. The resulting 54 TikTok videos and participant interviews revealed that Black and Latine students did feel a sense of belonging in the department when it came to peer acceptance and resources, but their belonging could be greatly increased with more diverse curriculum and faculty, and more opportunities to create community. Findings demonstrated that centering student voice in the classroom is key to creating safe and inclusive spaces for Black and Latine students, who might then feel a greater sense of belonging, which in turn can increase their retention and success rates in the department and lead to greater opportunities for employment in the film and television industry, further diversifying the media landscape.

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