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ERIC Number: ED549768
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 268
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2672-9002-1
Investigating Intellectual Diversity at Elite Public Universities in Southern California through the Perceptual Lens of the Evangelical Undergraduate Student: A Mixed Methods Study
Brow, Mark V.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Azusa Pacific University
The purpose of this study was to investigate intellectual diversity on elite public universities in southern California through the perceptual lens of the evangelical undergraduate student. Intellectual diversity has been defined as "the intellectual independence of professors, researchers, and students in the pursuit of knowledge and the expression of ideas" ("Academic Bill of Rights"). The following research question and sub-questions were addressed in this study: Do evangelical undergraduate students at elite public universities in southern California perceive a climate on campus conducive to intellectual diversity? (a) Is there evidence, in the convergence of quantitative and qualitative data, that elite public universities in southern California honor robust expressions of social, cultural, religious, and/or politically conservative thought? (b) How do evangelical undergraduates' affectively interpret their experiences of intellectual diversity on their respective campuses? This research was based on a sequential, mixed methods study employing a self-developed, 73-item online survey and subsequent interviews. Twelve volunteers participated in the interview following the online survey (N = 196). A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was run on 21 of the survey items, suggesting a five-factor model consisting of two subscales: (a) the Evangelical/Conservative subscale that included the factors Christian Values and Political Values; and (b) the Perception of Intellectual Diversity subscale that included the factors Normative Climate, Political Climate, and Professor Bias. The three themes that emerged after several iterations of coding of the interviews were the following: Students at the university (a) experienced a general acceptance of and respect for Christian and conservative positions, (b) acknowledged a pervasive liberalism on the campus, and (c) infrequently experienced expressions of conservative thought. Findings from the qualitative analysis were paradoxical in their nature and suggested surface and sub-text characteristics of academic freedom on campus. In addressing the research sub-questions, overall findings from the quantitative and qualitative phases of the research indicated (a) that elite public universities in southern California failed in their commitment to fully honor robust expressions of conservative thought and (b) that students felt generally apprehensive in expressing conservative beliefs in class. Data suggested that a student's academic freedom at these elite universities was dubious. [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:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California