Date of Award:

2017

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Renee V. Galliher

Abstract

Institutions of higher education serve students in more ways than simply fostering academic growth. University and college campuses are often the introduction people have to the societal, interpersonal, and career/field specific expectations they will be guided by after completing their degree. One way for universities to do this is through the cultivation of critical consciousness by way of encouraging engagement in diversity-related activities. This study examined associations between engagement in diversity-related activities and reported levels of critical consciousness, along with differences between students of color and White students in patterns of association.

Diversity-related experiences, including extracurricular diversity activities, positive cross-racial interactions, curriculum inclusion, and experiences of microaggressions, strongly correlated to levels of critical consciousness for students of color and White students. These findings add support to previous research that suggests diversity experiences on college campuses positively influence students. However, the findings also suggest differences in the outcomes that these diversity-related experiences links to for students of color versus White students.

Community involvement was more strongly correlated to extracurricular diversity activities for White students than students of color. In turn, social justice orientation was more strongly linked to extracurricular diversity activities, positive cross-racial interactions, and experiences of microaggressions for students of color than for White students. Linked between diversity-related experiences and multicultural openness were not moderated by ethnicity. These findings suggest that there may be differences between behaviorally based experiences/outcomes and attitudinally based experiences/outcomes for students of color vs. White students. Overall, engagement in diversity-related activities was strongly correlated with critical consciousness among all students. Findings provide guidance for curriculum development, the development and implementation of diversity-based initiatives on college campuses, and adherence to mission statements to foster more inclusive environments for all students.

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Included in

Psychology Commons

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