Research on Race and Ethnic Relations among Community College Students

By Maxwell, William; Shammas, Diane | Community College Review, Summer 2007 | Go to article overview

Research on Race and Ethnic Relations among Community College Students


Maxwell, William, Shammas, Diane, Community College Review


Considerable research has been conducted in the past two decades on race and ethnic relations among community college students. The atheoretical underpinnings of this research have led to vague and conflicting findings regarding such concepts as campus climate, discrimination, and the benefits of campus diversity. This article briefly reviews potentially relevant theories and research methods and offers many specific suggestions for future research on student diversity.

Keywords: race relations; ethnic relations; intergroup relations; interracial contact; social interaction; campus surveys; campus climate; discrimination; community college students; 2-year colleges

**********

Despite dramatic demographic, political, and cultural changes in North American society, there is a remarkable absence of scholarly research on student race relations and campus climates in community colleges. Political forces have struggled over immigration and affirmative action policies, including the landmark court case University of California v. Bakke (1978) and the more recent Grutter v. Bollinger (2003). Demographic trends show that the proportion of racial and ethnic minority students doubled in the colleges from 15.7% to 30.3% between 1976 and 1996 and will continue to increase in the next 25 years (Kee, 1999). Yet a recent review of the burgeoning scholarship on this issue refers almost entirely to 4-year university settings (Hurtado, Dey, Gurin, & Gurin, 2003).

Given this significant gap in the literature, this review addresses two central questions:

Research Question 1: How have scholars previously examined relations among community college students from diverse racial and ethnic groups?

Research Question 2: What are promising future theoretical topics and research methods for studying relations among community college students from diverse racial and ethnic groups?

For the purposes of this review, the students of interest are those who attend community colleges with considerable structural diversity (i.e., those who attend 2-year colleges other than tribal colleges, historically Black colleges, overwhelmingly White colleges, and others populated almost entirely by one cultural group). This article begins with a brief description of several theories of race relations among diverse racial and ethnic students. These theories are borrowed mainly from the social sciences and 4-year college literature. The remainder of the review examines empirical studies of diversity and campus climate in community colleges. We do not conclude this review with a list of findings or future research suggestions because few well-established conclusions can be drawn from the literature. Rather, we focus the discussion in each section on future research opportunities instead of deferring them to the conclusion.

In addition to student race and ethnic relations, which is the subject of this review, community college scholarship has also considered race and ethnicity as discrete categories. These studies are outside the scope of this review but have included, for example, analyses of success rates among student groups, instructional and programmatic efforts designed for diverse students, and relations between diverse students, faculty, and staff (see, e.g., Cejda & Rhodes, 2004; Nora, 2004; Rendon, Hope, & Associates, 1996; Townsend, 2000).

Theories About Student Race Relations

The preeminent theories of student race relations rarely comment on community colleges. As such, the theories discussed in this section depend heavily on the 4-year college literature. Note that although the most cited theories emphasize the psychological features of diversity efforts, this analysis will also address the social factors of diversity and, where the limited literature permits, the cultural dimensions of diversity.

Functional Theories

The prevailing perspective on campus diversity is drawn from Allport's (1954) contact theory. …

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

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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Research on Race and Ethnic Relations among Community College Students
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.