Date of Award
In response to concerns about differential access to higher education and the recognition of the value of diversity, universities are developing new programs to promote diversity and inclusive learning experiences on their campuses. Given this, it is important to understand what factors increase student support and understanding of the benefits of campus diversity in order to create an inclusive and tolerant campus environment. A number of studies have examined the impact of close friendships with people of minority race or ethnicity on students’ experiences with racial/ethnic diversity. This study adds to this research by focusing on interracial and interethnic academic and school-sponsored activity interactions. The purpose of this study is to examine whether frequency of substantive academic and extracurricular interactions with people of minority races and ethnicities is related to students’ support for and attitudes towards campus diversity and diversity programs. Academic and extracurricular interactions include interactions with others of minority race and ethnicity at events related to schoolwork or education, along with outside school-sponsored organizations. I hypothesize that greater frequency of interaction with students in minority racial and ethnic groups is associated with greater support for campus diversity and greater knowledge of, and participation in, diversity programs. Additionally, I hypothesize that greater frequency of interaction with students of minority racial and ethnic groups is related to more positive opinions of diversity programs on campus. Student interaction information and information concerning knowledge and opinions on campus diversity programs was collected via survey from 150 Butler students. Contrary to my main hypothesis, no significant relationship was found between academic and extracurricular interactions with minority students and student attitudes towards campus diversity. However, consistent with my other hypotheses, greater frequency of academic and extracurricular interactions was found to be related to greater awareness of and participation in diversity programming, as well as more positive attitudes towards Butler’s diversity programs.
Theerman, Sydney, "Frequency of Academic Interactions with Racial and Ethnic Minority Students and Student Attitudes towards Campus Diversity and Diversity Programs" (2019). Undergraduate Honors Thesis Collection. 504.