Multi-Campus Diversity Study
A Multi-University Research Evaluation of the Educational Benefits of Intergroup Dialogues
This project evaluates the effects of intergroup dialogue courses at ten universities and colleges. Particular attention is paid to three sets of student outcomes: social identities; intergroup communication skills/motivation; commitment to intergroup understanding and collaboration. Five major hypotheses guide the research, all of which concern predicted effects of intergroup dialogues in comparison to wait-list controls and three multicultural courses: social science courses on gender and/or race; living-learning programs; and community-service courses.
Effects will be tested comparing:
- students randomly assigned from applicants to intergroup dialogues either to a dialogue or to a wait-list, and,
- dialogue participants with students enrolled in the three other multicultural courses.
Pre- and post-measures will be taken of participant and wait-list/comparison students. A one-year follow-up will be conducted to assess longer-term effects, comparing the dialogue students with students in the social science courses, living-learning program, and community-service course. In addition to descriptive statistics, the project will use the inferential analysis framework of hierarchical linear modeling to address the clustering that occurs due to university as well as the longitudinal aspects of the study design.
Participating institutions include: Arizona State University, University of California San Diego, University of Illinois, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts Amherst, The University of Michigan, Occidental College, Syracuse University, University of Texas Austin, University of Washington.
Funding for this project is provided by the William T. Grant Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and Occidental College.
Engaging Racial Identity for Socially Just Intergroup Relations: A Randomized Field Experiment
Jaclyn Rodriguez (Occidental College), Patricia Gurin (The University of Michigan), Nicholas Sorensen (American Institutes for Research)
How can institutions of higher education prepare an increasing diverse student body for inclusive democracy? Demographic projections suggest that by 2042 whites will comprise approximately half of the United States’ population (United States Census, 2007). While an increasingly multicultural landscape offers greater potential for interracial interactions, it also invites complicated questions for educators. In what ways should race be examined in the academy, by whom, and with what goals in mind? This paper takes a “color conscious” approach to race and proposes that explicit, sustained attention to racial identity in an Intergroup Dialogue cours:
- increases engagement with racial identity
- generates favorable, collaborative intergroup relationships
- among both students of color and for White students
Although much of the social psychological literature on intergroup relations warns against making group identity salient (Tajfel, 1978; Brewer & Miller, 1984) some research supports acknowledging and working with identities that are important to group members (Doidio, Gaertner, Shnabel, Saguy, Johnson, 2010; Tatum, 2008; Zuniga, Nagda, Chesler, Cytron-Walker, 2007). Recent studies in social psychology go further to suggest that an authentic understanding of intergroup relations may require attending to group membership, especially if social change and constructive, long-standing intergroup relations are important goals (Saguy, Dovidio, & Pratto, 2008; Saguy, Tausch, Dovidio, Pratto, 2009). Despite the importance of racial identity in people’s lives, little research has examined how ongoing, explicit attention to racial identity in intergroup relations both increases involvement in one’s own group identity and fosters motivation to bridge to and collaborate across identity groups.
Survey data from a nine-campus field experiment on semester-long Intergroup Dialogue courses form the basis of our analyses. 737 students who had expressed interest in Intergroup Dialogue were randomized to enroll in a Race Dialogue course or to participate in a waitlist control group. Participants’ attitudes concerning racial identity engagement, motivation to bridge differences, attributions for inequality, and commitment to social action were assessed:
- at the beginning of the semester (pretest)
- at the end of the semester (post-test)
- one year after the Dialogue course was completed (post-post-test). Surveys assessed Racial Identity Engagement, Motivation to Bridge Differences, and Commitment to Social Action.
Participation in Intergroup Dialogue increased racial identity engagement for both students of color and white students. Increased change in racial identity engagement was also positively correlated with increased motivation to bridge intergroup differences, structural understanding of inequality, and frequency of social action to redress inequality. These findings are significant because they paint a consistent and persistent portrait: engaging race has favorable consequences for both students of color and white students and the consequences are evident even one year later. In short these results suggest that semi-structured, pedagogical attention to race can promote, rather than hamper, intergroup understanding and social change among participants.
Presented at AERA 2011: Dialogues Across Contexts
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- Director: Jaclyn Rodríguez, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology Office phone: (323) 259-2747 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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