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ERIC Number: ED519192
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 137
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1241-6221-8
Exploring Student Perceptions and Experiences regarding the Role of Diversity Courses and Service-Learning on Cross-Racial Interactions
Stewart, Wendy Catherine
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Southern California
As population demographics continue to diversify in the United States and U.S. industries expand their markets and workforces to include communities abroad, college graduates will increasingly need strong intercultural communication skills to successfully enter the workforce. Further study to assess how vehicles currently in place at college campuses can contribute to student cross-racial interactions is both warranted and timely. This study employed a qualitative approach to explore diversity courses and service-learning environments and the ways that they shape student cross-racial interactions. Allport's (1954) intergroup contact theory provided a framework for understanding how conditions and environment plays a role in diverse interactions. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 15 participants currently enrolled at a large private university located in a major, urban metropolitan city and participating in a service learning project. Utilizing grounded theory as a tool of analysis, six major themes emerged: (a) that students felt there was relevance to the university having a diversity course requirement, (b) discussion sessions provided an ideal environment for diverse interactions, (c) service-learning provided students with a "real-life" context to diverse curricula, (d) students recognized diversity courses, social issues courses, and courses relevant to the city and learning about different cultures as the best compliment to service-learning, (e) the location of the university in a major metropolitan urban city had an impact on students perception of diversity, and finally (f) student experience in diversity courses changed their perception of diversity and diverse interactions. The findings of this study succeeded in underscoring the relevance of both diversity courses and service-learning in addressing the issue. There are also several implications for contextualizing Allport's (1954) theory in a college environment and be utilized by the university, students, and institutional agents to benefit both students and the community. More research is warranted to further inform the field and provide institutional agents with applicable ways to address the issue. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States