CONSIDERING DIVERSITY
EXPERIENCE AS A PREDICTOR
OF SUCCESS FOR
GRADUATE ADMISSIONS
Amber M. Mollhagen
University of Housto...
Today’s Session
• Introductions
• Candidacy Research Project on Diversity Experience as a
Predictor for Success in Graduat...
“Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you
and me.”
- Carlos Fuentes
Diversity Experience Literature
Patricia Gurin’s work:
Three forms of diversity experience
• Structural diversity is the n...
Pluralistic Orientation
The ability to see the world from another’s perspective,
have tolerance for difference, openness t...
Candidacy Project
• RQ 1: Does structural diversity of a
MSW student’s undergraduate institution
predict student success (...
Data Source RQ 1
• Secondary data from Fall 2012
• 161 entering MSW students
• 31 Advanced Standing students
• 15 students...
Variable B SE B β
Age .000 .004 .007
Undergrad Campus Ethnic Diversity Score
.490 .128 .350***
Undergrad GPA .064 .067 .08...
Results
Critical Thinking Field Score
A test of the full model against a constant only model was
statistically significant...
Data Source RQ 2
• Secondary data from Fall 2012
• Purposeful sampling of MSW students
• N=20 (10 successful, 10 unsuccess...
Results
Informal Interactional Diversity Experiences
All ten students within Group 1 identified various informal interacti...
Results
Themes include:
• Positive transformation
Clarification of skills, interests and professional goals
Commitment to ...
Group 1
• “These experiences have confirmed my interest in working with
children in the U.S. but also abroad and have been...
Group 2
• “I feel that I could be exposed to more life experiences and
more world diversity opportunities.”
• “I went to p...
Dissertation Interviews
• Empathy development
• Critical thinking
• Expansion of worldview
Why Diversity Matters
• 1. Diversity expands worldliness.
• 2. Diversity enhances social development.
• 3. Diversity prepa...
The Danger of the Single Story
“The single story creates stereotypes and the problem with
stereotypes is not that they are...
“I got to pondering after an insightful conversation about
the importance of complexity in organizations and social
struct...
Diversity is Key to Sustainable Farming,
So Why's It So Damn Hard?
“But in reality it is not just the diversity of species...
“Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with,
and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be
w...
So, what do we do?
Admissions
• Study supports the consideration of diversity experience as
additional criterion.
• Inform...
“There were no actual villains, just inertia. The
administration genuinely wanted more diversity for reasons
of its image ...
So, what do we do?
Student Affairs
• Literature supports creation of diversity
experiences/environment for students
• Crit...
“Men often hate each other because they fear each other;
they fear each other because they don't know each other;
they don...
Discussion
• Are your institutions/programs diverse?
• Do minority students feel a sense of belonging within your
organiza...
QUESTIONS AND
COMMENTS
References
Astin, A. (1993). Assessment for Excellence: The Philosophy and Practice of Assessment and
Evaluation in Higher...
References
Engberg, M., Meader, E., & Hurtado, S. Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American
Educational Research ...
References
Pike,, G., Kuh, G., Gonyea, R. (2007). Evaluating the rationale for affirmative action in college
admissions: D...
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Considering Diversity Experience as a Predictor of Success for Graduate Admissions

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The session will focus on the consideration of the diversity experiences of undergraduate students as preparation for graduate studies as well as the overall benefits of diversity experiences within higher education. Specifically discussion about ways to create opportunities for interaction with and awareness building between diverse students will occur.

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Amber Mollhagen
University of Houston

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  • Name
    Introductions of Group
    Work – UH GCSW
    School – UH COE
  • The session will focus on the consideration of the diversity experiences of undergraduate students as preparation for graduate studies as well as the overall benefits of diversity experiences within higher education. Specifically discussion about ways to create opportunities for interaction with and awareness building between diverse students will occur.
  • Diversity Rationale and Affirmative Action
    Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 1978
    Allowed consideration of race
    Justice Powell’s diversity rationale – benefits of diversity are critical to our educational goals and serve a compelling state interest. Diversity is a goal in itself, not just to remedy past discrimination
     
    Grutter v. Bollinger, 2003 and Gratz v. Bollinger, 2003
    Diversity is an important goal on its own.
    Twenty five year timeline set for affirmative action to possibly phase out (Justice O’Connor).
    After Grutter Decision, UT and other Texas public universities considered race in admissions again.
     
    Fisher v. UT
     
    Benefits of diversity
    Patricia Gurin conducted foundational work in this area.
    In her 1999, 2002 - three forms of diversity as well as two sets of outcomes – learning outcomes and democratic outcomes.
     
    Support for Critical Thinking, Diversity and Commitment to Social Justice in literature
     
     
  • To understand the level of preparation of students with and without undergraduate diversity experiences for entering into an MSW program.
  • Advanced standing students enter the program with a waiver for the first semester of field.
    Six students attended undergraduate universities outside the US for which US News does not calculate a campus ethnic diversity index score.
    Nine students were excluded because their undergraduate college graduation date fell prior to the commencement of the US News campus ethnic diversity index score or because their institutional data were not accessible due to the time in which they graduated.
    Another 10 students were missing field scores due to dismissal or withdrawal from the program prior to the second field evaluation.
     
  • Two multiple linear regressions and three logistic regressions were used. The primary predictor variable of interest is the diversity index score, along with GRE scores, undergraduate GPA, gender, age and race/ethnicity. The dependent variables include the three separate field evaluation scores, the students’ average of all 11 competency scores on their field evaluation, and the MSW GPA.

    Because field evaluation scores were inflated (all 3 or above on a 5 point scale, see Table 2 in Chapter 3), the scores for Critical Thinking, Diversity, and Human Rights and Social Justice were converted from a continuous variable to a dichotomous variable (Advanced and Non-advanced). Both MSW GPA and the overall field evaluation scores were variant enough to allow for multiple linear regressions. Two linear regressions were run of which one had significant findings. GRE writing scores and the undergraduate campus ethnic diversity scores predicted the MSW GPA above and beyond other variables in the model. All of the variables together explained 37% of the MSW GPA.

    The results of the second multiple linear regression suggest that this model failed to achieve significance (F(8, 90) = 2.262, p > .05) and does not predict overall field evaluation scores for the first GCSW field experience.

    Unstandardized coefficient, standard error, standardized coefficient
  • The scores for Critical Thinking, Diversity, and Human Rights and Social Justice were converted from a continuous variable to a dichotomous variable (Advanced and Non-advanced). The advanced category included students who received a rating of advanced (5) in a particular competency area. Non-advanced included those who received a score of 4 or below. After the conversion to a dichotomous scale on three of the competency areas, three different models were tested and the finding from critical thinking was the only one that yielded significant results.

    All of the variables together predicted a significant portion of variance explained in critical thinking. None of the individual predictors contributed to the model above and beyond other predictors. This model explains 26% of critical thinking leaving 74% unexplained – there’s still a lot to understand about what explains the critical thinking score.

    Two other logistic regressions - Tests of the full model for Diversity and Social Justice showed the models failed to achieve significance.
  • Successful students - maintained a 4.0 GPA by the end of the first year, had advanced field evaluation scores, and had no action plans issued by the GCSW Student Affairs Office.
     
    Unsuccessful students - left after receiving several action plans or were dismissed from the program. The students had a low GPA, one or more action plans initiated by the GCSW Student Affairs Office, were terminated for academic dishonesty and/or failed a required course.
  • For the second research question, data emerged in two ways, first as lists of experiences on transcripts and resumes and then as descriptions of those experiences within the students’ application essays.

    Although identified in prior research on informal interactional diversity activities, students in neither group identified specific experiences with academic support services or professors different from themselves or in support of their inclusion.
  • The mention of diverse experiences and their importance was more prevalent in Group 1 than Group 2. For Group 1, nine of the ten successful students mentioned the importance of diversity in their essays, either addressing its overall value, in the description of their personal experiences with it and/or as a part of their goals. Only five of the ten students mentioned the importance of diversity in their essays from the second group.
  • Learning with people from a variety of backgrounds encourages collaboration and fosters innovation, thereby benefitting all students.
    Overall academic and social effects of increased racial diversity on campus are likely to be positive, ranging from higher levels of academic achievement to the improvement of near and long-term intergroup relations.
    Henry Louis Gates Jr., President Barack Obama, and Police Sgt. James Crowley have certainly done their part to get race relations into the national discussion. But diversity is hot on college campuses, too—not only race, ethnicity, and gender but also religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and age. But why is diversity important in college at all? Visiting blogger Aaron Thompson, professor of sociology at Eastern Kentucky University and coauthor (with Joe Cuseo) of Diversity and the College Experience, offers eight reasons why diversity matters at college:
  • Long time clergy person and peace activist
  • Research

    Expand prediction models for social work admissions.
    Larger sample.
    Seek more information about diversity experiences from students via additional application questions or interviews. – Already started interviews.

    Explore pluralistic orientation in itself as a predictor.
  • Considering Diversity Experience as a Predictor of Success for Graduate Admissions

    1. 1. CONSIDERING DIVERSITY EXPERIENCE AS A PREDICTOR OF SUCCESS FOR GRADUATE ADMISSIONS Amber M. Mollhagen University of Houston 2014 TxGAP Summer Institute June 13, 2014
    2. 2. Today’s Session • Introductions • Candidacy Research Project on Diversity Experience as a Predictor for Success in Graduate School • Benefits of Diversity in Higher Education • Thoughts for Practice • Discussion
    3. 3. “Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me.” - Carlos Fuentes
    4. 4. Diversity Experience Literature Patricia Gurin’s work: Three forms of diversity experience • Structural diversity is the numerical representation of diverse groups on a college campus. • Informal interactional diversity involves the opportunity to interact with diverse peers with a focus on the frequency and the quality of interactions. • Classroom diversity is the incorporation of content knowledge about diverse groups and the opportunities to interact with diverse peers in the classroom. Two sets of outcomes • Learning outcomes – capacity for critical or active thinking • Civic and democratic outcomes – the motivation and capacity of individuals to participate in an heterogenous and complex society Other researchers of undergraduate diversity experiences include Sylvia Hurtado, Gerald Gurin, Mitchell Chang, Victor Saenz, Shaun Harper.
    5. 5. Pluralistic Orientation The ability to see the world from another’s perspective, have tolerance for difference, openness to having one’s views challenged, the ability to work cooperatively with diverse others, and ability to discuss controversial issues. Engberg, Meader, Hurtado, 2003
    6. 6. Candidacy Project • RQ 1: Does structural diversity of a MSW student’s undergraduate institution predict student success (as defined by grades and field evaluation scores) in the graduate social work program? • RQ 2: What types of undergraduate informal interactional diversity experiences emerge from students’ MSW graduate applications and are there differences in the patterns of diversity experiences between successful students and not successful students?
    7. 7. Data Source RQ 1 • Secondary data from Fall 2012 • 161 entering MSW students • 31 Advanced Standing students • 15 students missing undergraduate campus ethnic diversity scores • 10 students missing field scores • Final Sample N=105 • Considered data at conclusion of three semesters • Fall, Spring, Summer
    8. 8. Variable B SE B β Age .000 .004 .007 Undergrad Campus Ethnic Diversity Score .490 .128 .350*** Undergrad GPA .064 .067 .083 Gender .040 .086 .040 Ethnicity -.015 .023 -.058 GRE Writing .082 .036 .242** GRE Verbal .001 .004 .032 GRE Quantitative .007 .005 .178 Results Regression Analysis Summary for Admission Variables Predicting MSW GPA *<.05, **<.01, ***<.001
    9. 9. Results Critical Thinking Field Score A test of the full model against a constant only model was statistically significant, indicating that the predictors as a set reliably distinguished between advanced and non- advanced critical thinking scores (χ2(11)= 21.852, p < .05). Nagelkerke’s R2 of .256 indicated a relationship between prediction and grouping. Prediction success overall was 63% (70.7 for non-advanced and 55.6 for advanced).
    10. 10. Data Source RQ 2 • Secondary data from Fall 2012 • Purposeful sampling of MSW students • N=20 (10 successful, 10 unsuccessful) • Worked with Student Affairs Office • Resumes, transcripts, and personal narrative statements • Focused on applicants’ diversity themed content
    11. 11. Results Informal Interactional Diversity Experiences All ten students within Group 1 identified various informal interactional diversity experiences taking place during their undergraduate education. Seven students out of Group 2 identified diversity experiences, however types of experiences were limited. Student Orgs Service Learning Study / Travel Abroad Intern -ships Vol Service Read Interest Staff / Fac Dialog w/ Students Group 1 X X X X X X X Group 2 X X X
    12. 12. Results Themes include: • Positive transformation Clarification of skills, interests and professional goals Commitment to Social Justice • Personal identification as a minority • Diversity/inclusion as part of future goals • Pluralistic orientation • Acknowledgement of importance of diversity for learning
    13. 13. Group 1 • “These experiences have confirmed my interest in working with children in the U.S. but also abroad and have been my greatest motivators for wanting to enter into the social work field.” • “I have had to face the challenges of being undocumented in a time when laws that limit immigrants' human treatment, their economic, educational, political and social prospects have only increased in number and severity. I have faced the social stigma that accompanies being an 'illegal alien', a 'criminal' and have had to accept my suppressed political voice.” • “Being a social worker, and in turn a professional advocate for human rights, would allow me to begin my long-aspired journey of creating a better world for women and people of all gender identities to live in.”
    14. 14. Group 2 • “I feel that I could be exposed to more life experiences and more world diversity opportunities.” • “I went to public school my entire life and was lucky enough to be exposed to all different types of people. We never thought twice about someone being black, or Jewish, or poor. They were just our friends. I feel that my ability to be around a wide range of people and see things from their worldview will be of significant advantage to me in both my academic and professional pursuits.” • “My place of employment at (county hospital) has inspired me to continue my pursuit to become a social worker. I am deeply committed to the service of others. I work with patients and families from diverse backgrounds, including minority and underprivileged groups.”
    15. 15. Dissertation Interviews • Empathy development • Critical thinking • Expansion of worldview
    16. 16. Why Diversity Matters • 1. Diversity expands worldliness. • 2. Diversity enhances social development. • 3. Diversity prepares students for future career success. • 4. Diversity prepares students for work in a global society. • 5. Interactions with people different from ourselves increase our knowledge base. • 6. Diversity promotes creative thinking. • 7. Diversity enhances self-awareness. • 8. Diversity enriches the multiple perspectives developed by a liberal arts education. A. Thompson, 2009
    17. 17. The Danger of the Single Story “The single story creates stereotypes and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” - Chimamanda Adichie, Author
    18. 18. “I got to pondering after an insightful conversation about the importance of complexity in organizations and social structures. Because we live in a culture that is so invested in linear, reductionist and industrial thinking, it can be hard for any of us to wrap our heads around what it takes to live with, and even encourage, complexity.”
    19. 19. Diversity is Key to Sustainable Farming, So Why's It So Damn Hard? “But in reality it is not just the diversity of species, but also the diversity of useful relationships between those species, that builds resilience. It's not the individual points of diverse elements, but rather the network of complex interrelationships between those elements, that ultimately builds a web that is so hard to break.” Treehugger.com
    20. 20. “Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without.” - William Sloane Coffin Jr.
    21. 21. So, what do we do? Admissions • Study supports the consideration of diversity experience as additional criterion. • Information not to be used to exclude individuals. • Affirmative Action and Alternatives • Self Awareness • Critical Mass
    22. 22. “There were no actual villains, just inertia. The administration genuinely wanted more diversity for reasons of its image as well as fairness, notwithstanding the cranky alumni letters in The Daily Princetonian. ... Hiring committees had not a clue where to look for or how to attract suitable candidates. And so, though a high-level recruitment plan existed on paper, there was only foot- dragging and defensive excuse making.” - Sonia Sotomayor, My Beloved World
    23. 23. So, what do we do? Student Affairs • Literature supports creation of diversity experiences/environment for students • Critical Mass • Dialogue Groups • Diversity Courses • Self Awareness
    24. 24. “Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
    25. 25. Discussion • Are your institutions/programs diverse? • Do minority students feel a sense of belonging within your organizations? • What practices do you employ to diversify? • How do you create environments in which diversity thrives and its benefits are maximized? • How do you practice self-awareness?
    26. 26. QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
    27. 27. References Astin, A. (1993). Assessment for Excellence: The Philosophy and Practice of Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, American Council on Education, Westport CT. Bogo, M., Regehr, C., Woodford, M., Hughes, J., Power, R., & Regehr, G. (2006). Beyond competencies: Field instructors’ descriptions of student performance. Journal of Social Work Education, 42, 579-593. Chang, M. J. (2001). The positive educational effects of racial diversity on campus. In: Orfield, G. (ed.), Diversity Challenged: Evidence on the Impact of Affirmative Action. Harvard Education Publishing Group, Cambridge, MA, pp. 175-186. Chang, M. J. (2011). Quality Matters: Achieving Benefits Associated with Racial Diversity. Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, The Ohio State University Democratic Merit Project. Chang, M., Astin, A., & Kim, D. (2004). Cross-racial interaction among undergraduates: Some consequences, causes and patterns. Research in Higher Education, 45 (5), 529 – 552. Chang, M., Denson, N., Saenz, V., & Misa, K. (2006). The educational benefits of sustaining cross-racial interaction among undergraduates. The Journal of Higher Education, 77 (3), 430 – 455. Chang, M.J., Witt, D., Jones, J., & Hakuta, K. (Eds.) (2003). Compelling interest: Examining the evidence on racial dynamics in colleges and universities. Stanfoard, CA: Stanford University Press. Dovidio, J., Gaertner, S., Stewart, T., Esses, V., Ten Vergert, M., & Hodson, G. (2004). From intervention to outcome: Processes in the reduction of bias. In: Stephan, W., and Vogt., W. (eds.), Education Programs for Improving Intergroup Relations: Theory, Research and Practice, Teachers College Press, New York, pp. 243-265.
    28. 28. References Engberg, M., Meader, E., & Hurtado, S. Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL, April 21 – 25, 2003. Gurin, P. (1999). Expert report of Patricia Gurin. In The compelling need for diversity in higher education, presented in Gratz, et al. v. Bollinger et al. and Grutter, et al. v. Bollinger, et al. Washington, D.C.: Wilmer, Cutlers and Pickering. Gurin, P., Dey, E., Hurtado, S., Gurin, G. (2002). Harvard Educational Journal, 72 (3), 330 – 366. Harper, S. R., & Hurtado, S. (2007). Nine themes in campus racial climates and implications for institutional transformation. New Directions for Student Services, (120), 7-24. Hurtado, S., Dey E.L., Gurin, P., & Gurin, G. (2003). College environments, diversity, and student learning. In J.C. Smart (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (Vol. 18, pp. 145-190): Kluwer Academic Publishers, UK. Hurtado, S., Milem, J., Clayton-Pedersen, A., Allen, W., Association for the Study of Higher Education, ERIC Clearinghouse on, H. E., et al. (1999). Enacting diverse learning environments: Improving the climate for Racial/Ethnic diversity in higher education. ASHE- ERIC higher education report, vol. 26, no. 8. Nagda, B. A., & Gurin, P. (2007). Intergroup dialogue: A critical-dialogic approach to learning about difference, inequality, and social justice. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, (111), 35-45.
    29. 29. References Pike,, G., Kuh, G., Gonyea, R. (2007). Evaluating the rationale for affirmative action in college admissions: Direct and indirect relationships between campus diversity and gains in understanding diverse groups. Journal of College Student Development, 48 (2), 166 – 182. Saenz, V. (2010). Breaking the segregation cycle: Examining students' precollege racial environments and college diversity experiences. Review of Higher Education, 34 (1), 1 – 37. Saenz, V. B., Ngai, H. N., & Hurtado, S. (2007). Factors influencing positive interactions across race for African American, Asian American, Latino, and White college students. Research in Higher Education, 48(1), 1-38. Milner, M., McNeil, J.S. & King, S.W. (1984). The GRE: A question of validity in predicting performance in professional schools of social work. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 44, 945-950. Sowbel, L. (2012). Gatekeeping: Why shouldn’t we be ambivalent? Journal of Social Work Education, 48 (1), 27-44. Thomas, M., McCleary, R., & Henry, P. (2004). Effectiveness of admission criteria on student performance in classroom and field instruction. Advances in Social Work, 5 (1), 33 – 46. U.S. News and World Report. (n.d.). Campus ethnic diversity index. Whitla, D., Orfield, G., Silen, W., Teperow, C., Howard, C., & Reede, J. (2003). Educational Benefits of Diversity in Medical School: A Survey of Students. Academic Medicine, 78 (5), 460 – 466.

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