Student Diversity in Classes and Educational Outcomes: Student Perceptions

By Meacham, Jack; McClellan, Michelle et al. | College Student Journal, December 2003 | Go to article overview

Student Diversity in Classes and Educational Outcomes: Student Perceptions


Meacham, Jack, McClellan, Michelle, Pearse, Tonia, Greene, Rashidi, College Student Journal


How does increased diversity of backgrounds and experiences of undergraduate students affect teaching and learning activities in our classes and the educational outcomes for those students? A questionnaire about the likelihood of various teaching and learning activities and educational outcomes was completed by 117 undergraduate students (93 white, 24 minority) at a public research university. The students both white and minority perceived three educational outcomes as likely to be facilitated when there are more rather than fewer minority students in classes: cultural knowledge and awareness, recognizing the complexity of issues, and learning to work with people who are different. The students' perceptions provide evidence that traditional purposes of higher education, including general education learning goals, are facilitated for all students and not merely minority students when there is a diverse student body.

**********

Racial and ethnic diversity in the United States increased more in the 1980s than in any other decade. In the 1990s, people of color, women, and immigrants constituted approximately 85% of the entrants into the workforce. By the year 2020, one of every three Americans will be a person of color, and students of color will make up almost 50% of the student population. In the lifetimes of many of today's college and university students, non Hispanic whites are predicted to become less than half the population of the United States (Meacham, 1996). Frequent articles in the Wall Street Journal reveal that our nation's businesses are responding to these demographic changes with new programs for recruitment, training, and retention of a diverse workforce and with new products, services, and marketing strategies for an increasingly diverse population ("Diversity," 1996). Similarly, colleges and universities have been responding with new programs for recruitment and retention of underrepresented students and faculty and through the introduction of issues of multiculturalism and diversity into curricular requirements and course content (Crosby, Iyer, Clayton, and Downing, 2003). These programmatic changes have been supported and driven by an explosion of creative research and scholarship, as well as the introduction of improved teaching techniques, initially in women's and ethnic studies but now widespread throughout the humanities and social sciences (Association of American Colleges and Universities, 1995; Meacham, 1996; Musil, 1996).

Our college and university campuses are now hosting the most diverse student population in our nation's history. The purpose of the present study was to ask how this increasing diversity of students on our campuses and in our classrooms might be affecting teaching and learning activities and educational outcomes. Thus, in contrast to other possible studies, the focus here is not upon the impact of curricular requirements and course content related to issues of multiculturalism and diversity, nor upon the effectiveness of teaching techniques intended to promote increased understanding of these issues. Instead, the focus is upon the increased diversity, per se, of students in our classrooms: Does increased racial and ethnic diversity among students lead to changes in the teaching and learning activities engaged in by faculty and students? Does increased racial and ethnic diversity among students lead to changes--enhancements or decrements in educational outcomes for our students and, if so, for what specific educational outcomes?

It's difficult to pursue such questions without first considering what is meant by educational outcomes. On most campuses these are best articulated in the context of general education programs and requirements. Schneider and Shoenberg (1998) have provided a summary of general education learning goals, which include acquiring intellectual skills or capacities; understanding multiple modes of inquiry and approaches to knowledge; developing societal, civic, and global knowledge; gaining self-knowledge and grounded values; and concentration and integration of learning. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Student Diversity in Classes and Educational Outcomes: Student Perceptions
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.