University of Texas at AustinDivision of Diversity and Community Engagement

New Univ. Maryland research discusses socioeconomic and racial diversity on campuses

July 24, 2013

A June 2013 American Educational Research Journal article, “Does Socioeconomic Diversity Make a Difference? Examining the Effects of Racial and Socioeconomic Diversity on the Campus Climate for Diversity,” considers whether the socioeconomic diversity of the undergraduate student body and cross-class interactions are significantly related to cross-racial interactions and diversity.

Dr. Julie Park, assistant professor of education and her team at University of Maryland analyzed surveys completed by more than 15,000 students at 102 institutions. Students were questioned about their interactions in and out of the classroom. Students who had the most cross-class interactions also experienced the most cross-racial interactions and more experience with curricular and co-curricular diversity activities.  The findings indicate that both socioeconomic and racial diversity are important in establishing a positive racial climate but are not interchangeable.

An online article at phys.org quotes Park:

“For one thing, sharing similar socio-economic backgrounds provides a way for students of different races to find common ground,” Park adds. “Socio-economic diversity in combination with creates a safer, more level playing field where people can meet and learn from each other.”Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-07-college-diversity-benefits.html#jCp. The American Educational Research Journal abstract and article may be found at http://aer.sagepub.com/content/50/3/466.abstract.

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