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ERIC Number: EJ780076
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov-16
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
U. of Delaware Abandons Sessions on Diversity
Hoover, Eric
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n12 pA1 Nov 2007
The University of Delaware spent years refining its residence-life education program. One week of public criticism unraveled it. Late last month, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a free-speech group, accused the university of promoting specific views on race, sexuality, and morality in a series of discussions held in dormitories. The program was designed to build understanding among diverse students, but some participants complained that it told them how to think and pried into their beliefs with questions like "When did you discover your sexual identity?" In an October 29 letter to Delaware's president, the group, known as FIRE, called the program "systematic thought reform" and urged the university to suspend it. Three days later, Delaware complied. For decades, residence-life programs have organized group sessions on racism, sexism, and homophobia. Research shows those exercises can help broaden students' cultural awareness and diminish negative perceptions of others--forms of student "engagement" that can promote learning. Yet many colleges mistakenly believe that diversity plus interaction equals a panacea, according to Shaun R. Harper, an assistant professor of higher-education management at the University of Pennsylvania. To spark more-meaningful experiences of diversity, he believes, student-affairs professionals should mimic the methods of instructors: create a formal curriculum, link it to desired educational results, and develop an assessment plan. A syllabus, in other words, for out-of-classroom learning.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Delaware