|About the Book|
This study examines effectiveness of diversity courses at a small Catholic college in the Midwest, heretofore referred to as Midwestern University, from the perspectives of faculty and students. Midwestern University, in La Crosse, Wisconsin requiresMoreThis study examines effectiveness of diversity courses at a small Catholic college in the Midwest, heretofore referred to as Midwestern University, from the perspectives of faculty and students. Midwestern University, in La Crosse, Wisconsin requires students to complete six credits of diversity designated courses prior to graduation. This requirement came into effect in 1997 to insure that students developed cultural sensitivity skills through coursework. Since 1997 more than eighty five courses have been designated diversity courses by a curriculum committee, a committee that oversees general education requirements. For the last ten years there has not been a formal assessment regarding the effectiveness of diversity courses. There were three key issues that helped guide the strategies for gathering data for this study. The first of these consisted of determining if course syllabi components such as learning outcomes, planned activities, and assessment criteria were in alignment with the transformative process associated with changes in students attitudes towards cultural differences. The second compared perceptions of students and faculty in regards to effectiveness of diversity courses. The third examined if diversity courses transformed students in terms of ideals of equity, respect for differences, social justice, and a call to action. Results of syllabi analysis, surveys, and focus groups discussions provided the data for this study. The data offered information on diversity courses content, similarities and differences between courses, and the perspectives of faculty and students concerning their effectiveness. Based on results, this study offers several recommendations and suggestions for future studies. The main recommendation includes the creation of a diversity committee to develop a course of action regarding diversity initiatives at Midwestern University. This committee should attend to centralize efforts, develop specific criteria for diversity courses, and oversee plans and procedures for a comprehensive assessment of diversity initiatives and diversity courses. Suggestions for future studies include examination of processes and procedures effecting change in students attitudes toward diversity.