ERIC Number: ED370152
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Effects of Participation in an Intergroup Communication Program: An Assessment of Shippensburg University's Building Bridges Program.
Nelson, Lori J.; And Others
Designed to facilitate communication and understanding among college students of diverse ethnic backgrounds, the Building Bridges Program at Shippensburg University (Pennsylvania) used trained student facilitators to lead classroom discussions about intergroup relations. In addition, these minority and majority facilitators shared personal experiences of prejudice with their peers. Discussions took place during regular class periods in relevant courses taught by professors who expressed an interest in the program. During the program's first semester, trained facilitators (a mix of sophomores, juniors, and seniors) led 25 in-class discussions on racial and diversity issues. Later, a telephone survey assessed the impact of the program. Subjects, 53 randomly selected majority students (of whom 20 served as a control group) were called either before or after participating in the program. Subjects were told only that the survey was on racial issues--they were not informed that it was related to the Building Bridges Project--and they were asked to respond to 10 statements, with responses ranging from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree." Taken as a whole, results indicated that the program was effective. It seems to have made students more optimistic about intergroup understanding, more comfortable interacting with minority students, more likely to perceive minority students as willing to interact with White students, and less likely to perceive minority students as unqualified to be at the university. Findings suggest that a future expansion of the program would be in order. (A data graph is attached.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Communication Strategies; Cultural Sensitivity; Facilitators; Shippensburg University PA
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting the of Eastern Psychological Association (Providence, RI, April 14-17, 1994).