The Networks and Cultural Assets Project (NACA)

Measuring Latina/o Students’ Community Cultural Wealth and Social Networks

The Networks and Cultural Assets Project (NACA) administers survey and interview instruments to measure students’ Community Cultural Wealth (Yosso, 2005) and social networks, then provides results to local educators for academic and career development purposes.

Historically, research and programming involving undergraduates of color focused on what these students lack – an approach that not only demotivates students, but also misses opportunities to support them as they build upon their existing strengths. Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) is a framework focusing on students’ assets, including skills and dispositions from their families, communities of origin, cultures, and personal experiences. Our survey, recently tested with Latina/o students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, combines measures of different forms of CCW with personal network analysis adapted from previous work (Burt, 1984; Sablan, 2019). This instrument shows how students’ CCW is nurtured in their relationships both on and off campus and reveals connections between students’ CCW and measures of interest to career development professionals (e.g., work volition, work values). Our study team also conducted semi-structured interviews with a subset of UW-Whitewater survey participants to better understand those relationships and experiences that have the greatest impact on their CCW, career trajectories, aspirations, and resilience.

Read the research report on Community Cultural Wealth (PDF).

This study is in its pilot phase, so we welcome conversations with other researchers interested in CCW. Our team includes Ross BenbowNidia Bañuelos, and Kyoungjin Jang. Our research is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.