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Shaping Students’ Attitudes Toward Diversity: Do Faculty Practices and Interactions With Students Matter?

Teniell L. Trolian () and Eugene T. Parker ()
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Teniell L. Trolian: University at Albany, State University of New York
Eugene T. Parker: University of Kansas

Research in Higher Education, 2022, vol. 63, issue 5, No 5, 849-870

Abstract: Abstract Scholars have advocated for further investigation of the campus climate for diversity and students’ attitudes and behaviors surrounding diversity, and there appears to be an increasing responsibility for higher education professionals to consider ways to encourage students’ awareness and acceptance of difference. Using longitudinal data from the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, this study examined the relationship between students’ perceptions of faculty practices and student-faculty interactions and two measures of students’ attitudes toward diversity, and whether these relationships were moderated by race/ethnicity. Findings revealed that several perceptions of faculty practices and student-faculty interactions were positively associated with students’ fourth-year diversity attitudes, including: (a) quality of faculty contact; (b) faculty interest in teaching and student development; (c) how often students had discussions with faculty whose political, social, or religious opinions were different from their own; (d) how often faculty engaged students in cooperative learning activities; (e) whether courses helped students see connections between intended careers and how they affect society; and (f) whether courses helped students understand the historical, political, and social connections of past events. Overall, findings suggest that the type and quality of each faculty practice or measure of interaction with students may be significant in terms of fostering positive diversity attitudes among students. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.

Keywords: Student-faculty interaction; Diversity attitudes; Higher education (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s11162-021-09668-2

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