The general public, as well as scholars, employers, and college students themselves, expect universities to provide students with an education that prepares them to work in a diverse and international society. In response, many institutions have created mandatory diversity-related curriculum and/or courses. However, little to no research has been undertaken to empirically investigate the effect of these courses or the experiences of faculty whose responsibility it is to provide diverse learning experiences. The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine the pedagogy faculty employ in teaching about diversity issues at an institution that has a course requirement embedded in the undergraduate curriculum as a way of promoting cultural competency. Data revealed that methods faculty use to teach about inclusivity and/or diversity issues included a) Discussion, (b) course materials, (c) incorporating different points-of-view/perspectives, (d) role modeling, (e) personal experiences/humor, (f) application and “formal” learning activities, and (g) none. Faculty also indicated a variety of answers regarding whose responsibility it is to teach students about these issues, what the goal of diversity-related courses in the undergraduate curriculum are, and how these goals are articulated and assessed in the classroom. Further, data from this study provided insight into the perceived challenges instructors face in discussing diversity-related issues—specifically, the student interpersonal and behavioral, teacher, and institutional factors. Finally, the data from this study indicate that the connection between what the university claims as their diversity goal and how faculty are instructionally implementing that goal is broken. Thus, this data provides evidence that institutions of higher learning cannot assume that saying diversity is valued is enough; more must be done to ensure that the goals of the university are clearly articulated and translate into the classroom.
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Gordon, Sarah R.; Yough, Mike; Finney, Emily A.; Haken, Andrea; and Mathew, Susan
"Learning about Diversity Issues: Examining the Relationship between University Initiatives and Faculty Practices in Preparing Global-Ready Students,"