Caplan and Ford. "The Voices of Diversity..."

Title: "The Voices of Diversity: What Students of Diverse Races/Ethnicities and Both Sexes Tell Us About Their College Experiences and Their Perceptions About their Institutions’ Progress Toward Diversity"
Author: Paula J. Caplan, Jordan C. Ford
Publication Date: 5/1/2014
Abstract: The Voices of Diversity project’s goal was to address the question, “What are the daily experiences of students of color and women students on campuses of predominantly white institutions (PWIs) that make them feel welcomed, accepted, supported, and encouraged, and what experiences make them feel the opposite?” It was an important question in light of the claim sometimes made that the reasons that African American and Latino/a students have lower graduation rates than other groups on campuses with predominantly student bodies are unrelated to anything that happens to them on campus. The study was conducted at four predominantly white universities, both public and private, with varied admission standards, geographical locations (including region and population density), and histories of dealing with racial/ethnic and sex/gender diversity. At each institution, between 51 and 54 students of color participated, as well as three white women and three white men at each. Each participant filled out a detailed questionnaire about demographic information and their experiences on their current campus. They were then interviewed individually in order to gather richly detailed descriptions of what has been helpful and what has been hurtful to them on campus. The factors asked about included formal and informal, individual and institutional, academic and social, horizontal (other students) and vertical (faculty and administrators) matters. This was in the interest of learning the targets that administrators might pursue and issues to address when taking steps toward achieving equity for undergraduates, regardless of race and sex. Manifestations of racism, sexism, and the two combined were reported on all campuses in both overt and microaggression forms, in contrast to the notion that only factors related to lower graduation rates are the students’ abilities, family factors, and high school education. Recommendations for change were made in individual reports to each institution, with the consequence that at one, major changes were made both immediately and ongoing, and at another, work was begun on a comprehensive set of action plans now being completed.
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