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ERIC Number: EJ893667
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 21
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0271-0579
Working with Large-Scale Climate Surveys: Reducing Data Complexity to Gain New Insights
Chatman, Steve
New Directions for Institutional Research, n145 p7-27 Spr 2010
Although there is agreement that graduating students should be able to function effectively in an increasingly diverse society, there is reasonable difference of opinion regarding how that goal should be accomplished and how progress should be measured. The most pervasive and appealing conventional wisdom is that positive attitudes and behaviors in groups will be enhanced and negative prejudice lessened by social contact in a shared environment where the groups have equal status, cooperate on a common task, and perceive that they are working toward a common goal, and where the contact is sanctioned by institutional authorities. A college environment should be close to ideal. Unfortunately, effect sizes tend to be rather small. This article asserts that one problem with extant research is oversimplification of a complex issue. What is needed to adequately examine an issue of complexity is a research design that is sufficiently inclusive and comprehensive. The research data file from the 2008 administration of the University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES) presents a unique opportunity to begin examination of this issue, with fewer oversimplifications and none that are formed without an empirical base. The core components of UCUES are measures of interpersonal and diversity skills, campus climate, overall satisfaction and inclusion, and individual characteristics (political beliefs, religious beliefs, social class, family income, gender, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation). These are supplemented by operational variables (for example, program of study) from university records. These data are available for more than sixty thousand respondents and will permit a powerful examination of these relationships at large public universities. Randomly assigned UCUES modules yield additional data about frequency of interactions and occurrences of negative or stereotypic views about race or ethnicity, gender or sexual identity, political beliefs or affiliations, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, immigrant background, and disabilities (physical, psychological, or learning). The modules were addressed to samples of students but should support even complex models on this scale (more than ten thousand). The eight large undergraduate campuses of the University of California offer structural diversity variance, albeit among similarly selective institutions in a single state. In this article, the author discusses the findings from a combination of factor and cluster analyses which offer new insights into how student attributes interact with academic discipline in shaping perceptions of campus climate and diversity. (Contains 5 tables and 8 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California