The influence of diversity experiences on college student outcomes : an institutional study

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Education, Health & Human Development


The problem addressed in this study is that higher education institutions need to know how different groups of undergraduate students experience diversity differently and how these experiences may differentially influence desirable college student outcomes. A quantitative analysis design using secondary survey data from the National Survey of Student Engagement was employed to answer the research questions in the investigation. Ordinary least squares (OLS) regression was used to model the relationship of the dependent variable(s) (student outcomes) on a collection of independent variables (diversity experiences, student demographics). Accordingly, OLS provided estimates of the association between student experiences with diversity and self-reported student outcomes. Findings revealed that each diversity experience (coursework, interactional and climate for diversity) had a positive influence on the student outcomes of educational gains, personal and social gains, institutional satisfaction and supportive campus environment. The diversity experience by gender or by race and ethnicity interactions were not consistent across student outcomes. Importantly, findings also revealed that coursework diversity may not be as influential predictor of student outcomes when other forms of diversity experiences are available to students. This study offers additional support that indeed diversity experiences are important to the educational mission in higher education.




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