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ERIC Number: ED532813
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 267
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-7071-0
The Invisible Reality of Whiteness: An Examination of Whiteness in Jesuit Higher Education Student Affairs
Schmitz, Diane Shirley
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Seattle University
The purpose of this study was to promote an ethic of care and justice through the examination of the manifestations of whiteness within student affairs on a Jesuit Catholic university campus. To achieve this purpose a qualitative, exploratory case study was used to examine a student affairs division at Western Jesuit University (pseudonym), an urban university in the Western United States. Data was collected through 18 in-depth interviews of transfer students of color and student affairs administrators and staff of diverse racial backgrounds in February and March, 2009. Protocols for interviews, document analysis, and observations were created by the researcher based on a theoretical framework developed from recommendations for transforming student affairs practice by Patton, McEwen, Rendon, and Howard-Hamilton (2007). The central question addressed in this study was "What levels of awareness do student affairs administrators and staff have regarding the influence of whiteness as an individual and systemic presence in student affairs in a predominantly white Catholic Jesuit university?" Related research questions addressed the characteristics of the interactions of student affairs administrators and staff with transfer students of color and the organizational and social factors that impacted their awareness of whiteness. Findings from responses to the research questions revealed that awareness of participants of whiteness is embedded with assumptions about difference and that bias in the classroom is a concern for students and administrators and staff. Additionally, findings revealed that notions of an ideal "typical" student exist. Finally, analyses also revealed that validation of identity, representativeness, overall campus climate and co-optation, as a way to contain difference, were important issues. Recommendations are that the leadership of Western Jesuit University and the student affairs division develop a critical activist approach in assessing current practices and policies and how whiteness and assumptions of difference may be embedded in them. Additionally, leadership must develop policies and practices that support a liberatory consciousness, difference, and social justice in an equitable and comprehensive way. [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; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A