Diversity Issues as Perceived by Students of a Midwest University in the United States

By Larry Riggs and Sandra Hellyer-Riggs.

Published by The International Journal of Diversity in Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This qualitative study utilized photography to examine the differences and similarities between four African American and three White students’ perceptions of a small, private, predominantly White college in the Midwest. Students were given a disposable digital camera and a notebook, and told to “take pictures of what private college (PC) means to you” and to write in a notebook what thoughts or feelings were evoked in taking each photograph. Each student participated in an individual photo-elicitation interview and a focus group meeting. After photographs were coded for content and the data was analyzed and interpreted, six perceptions or themes emerged: 1) beauty or physical environment; 2) relations made at PC; 3) institutional size; 4) personal and intellectual growth; 5) diversity; and 6) challenges faced at PC. Implications and recommendations made for this university included recruiting more minority faculty and students; continuing data collection on minority students’ needs and sharing with stakeholders; offering sensitivity training for new students, faculty, and staff; encouraging and rewarding faculty to utilize group work in classes; and designating more money for grants and scholarships for students.

Keywords: Diversity, Student Perceptions, Qualitative Study, Small Private University, Racial Diversity

The International Journal of Diversity in Education, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp.139-149. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 383.951KB).

Dr. Larry Riggs

Professor of French, Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Butler University, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Larry W Riggs earned his doctorate at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a professor of French and head of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Butler University. He also teaches in the Interdisciplinary Global and Historical Studies Program. Although his principle research specialty is early modern French literature, Dr. Riggs is the author of books and essays on subjects ranging from Montaigne to Kafka, and from cultural studies, literary theory, cinema, and most recently transformative learning.

Dr. Sandra Hellyer-Riggs

Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Sandra Hellyer-Riggs earned her doctorate in higher education from Indiana University. She teaches educational psychology and psychology courses at IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis). She has taught in the College of Education at Butler University and in the Department of Educational Psychology at Ball State University. She teaches developmental psychology, tests and measurements, and behavioral analysis. Her research interests are student diversity and transformational learning.