Gurin, Patricia, Dey, Eric L., Gurin, Gerald, & Hurtado, Sylvia
How Does Racial/Ethnic Diversity Promote Education?
University of Michigan
Explores the relationship between students' experiences with diverse peers in collegiate settings and their educational outcomes.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
The Western Journal of Black Studies
Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 20-29
- Educational institutions can and should make diversity central to their educational missions because student experiences with diversity can promote more active, complex thinking and prepare students as citizens in a diverse democracy.
- Structural diversity increases the probability that students will have experiences with diverse peers through their informal interactions and through formal classrooms.
- A diverse student body is a resource and a necessary condition for engagement with diverse peers that permit higher education to achieve these educational goals.
- Structural diversity provides an opportunity for actual interaction with diverse peers who have multiple points of view.
- Students cannot have experiences with diversity, especially actual interaction with diverse peers, in a racially/ethnically homogenous institution. One cannot have experience with diversity without diversity. And it’s the experience that leads to educational outcomes.
- All three databases showed effects of classroom diversity and informal interaction with diverse peers on what we called learning outcomes and democracy outcomes. Classroom diversity and interaction with diverse peers fostered learning outcomes and democracy outcomes.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, College, Democracy, Diversity, Peer Effects
Secondary Data, Survey
Method of Analysis:
Descriptive Statistics, Regression
Unit of Analysis:
- This article delineates why diversity was the rationale on which the University of Michigan waged a defense on its admission policies and thus why diversity was the framework for our scholarly work on the lawsuit cases.
- The article also addresses how ethnic/racial diversity in the student body operates and what evidence is for its impact on students through the actual experiences students have with diverse peers.
- The article summarizes empirical evidence in the Expert Report for the lawsuits. Among the measures of diversity they used are: classroom diversity, informal interaction with diverse peers.
- Databases come from a curricular program called the Program on Intergroup Relations at the University of Michigan campuswide at the University of Michigan, and at multiple institutions on a national level.
- Three studies: national study (approximately 13,000 students), Michigan Student Study ( approximately 1200 students) and the evaluation of the impact of the Program on Intergroup Relations with (174 students) (this was a quasi-experimental study).
- The theoretical rational of why diversity is important draws from social psychological theories and research, and posited that the conditions important for active learning, intellectual engagement, and preparation for democratic citizenship in a diverse society are provided at most selective institutions by racial/ethnic diversity: 1) novelty and unfamiliarity that occurs upon the transition to college for the vast majorities of students who have been educated previously in largely racially homogenous environments; 2) opportunities to identify discrepancies between students with distinct pre-college social experience; and 3) diversity as a source of multiple and different perspectives on the nature of society and its institutions.
- Authors lay out three meanings of diversity: structural diversity ( numerical representation of diverse groups on campus), informal interactional diversity (the actual experience students have with diverse peers in the campus environment), and classroom diversity (exposure to knowledge about race and ethnicity in formal classrooms).