ERIC Number: ED451791
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Apr
The Impact of College on the Development of Civic Values: How Do Race and Gender Matter?
Vogelgesang, Lori J.
This study focused on a set of outcome measures that reflect some of the values that support engagement in a diverse democracy (commitment to racial understanding and commitment to social activism), and the impact of college on the development of these values. Critical theory is also presented as a perspective that shapes and broadens the understanding of this study's findings. Within each of the four racial groups, the study examined the effects of gender on the development of civic values. Data came from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program sponsored by the American Council on Education and the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at the University of California, Los Angeles and some studies at other institutions using the HERI questionnaire. The sample for the study consisted of 19,915 students. This study supports previous research that found that having a diverse student body does not, by itself, foster positive developmental outcomes. For commitment to activism, the racial diversity of the student body was not significant in the regression analysis. For the measure of commitment to promoting racial understanding, a diverse student body was a significant predictor only for white students, and its effect is negative. This finding, coupled with findings regarding the positive effects of diversity activities suggests that policies should be developed that take advantaged of a diverse student population by increasing the number and intensity of opportunities for students to interact cross racially. Study findings suggest that treating students as one group masks important factors that influence the development of values. The study implies that are educational practices that are good for all (or at least many) students, which challenges the critical postmodern idea that difference is the most important organizing principle. The study does suggest that race and gender do make a difference when the effects of college on the development of civic values are examined. Yet, there are activities that have positive effects across races, including enrolling in ethnic studies, attending racial awareness workshops, engaging in cross-racial interactions, and participating in community service. An appendix contains supplemental tables. (Contains 9 tables and 44 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Seattle, WA, April 10-14, 2001).