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ACCURATE PERCEPTIONS:
RACE AND GENDER IN THE
UNIVERSITY SETTING
Alissa Kretzmann, Sarah Peters, Kelsey Gatza
Comments about Diversity at
Valparaiso University (VU)
The Diversity and Inclusion Statement, as part of VU’s Vision Statement:
Valparaiso University will be a diverse community, which includes and
purposefully supports diversity in all aspects of university life and beyond.
“I don’t think about issues of diversity very often.”
“Please
diversify!!
That’s a big
reason why
people
don’t come
to
campus.”
“Ideally, gender
and racial
“I really
representation
do not
“People should be hired
would echo that of
based
on
qualifications
or
care
the general
merit, not gender or
population of
about
color.”
qualified people
diversity.”
for the position.”
“Diversity is silly, emphasizing it just perpetuates race issues.”
“VU Diversity Rocks!”
“There is good diversity at Valpo!”
“Valpo is diverse internationally, but not domestically.”
Aim of This Study


Analyze the relationship between the perceptions of
Valparaiso University students about the racial and
gender diversity of VU’s administration and faculty
in comparison with their own racial and gender
identity.
Compare the student estimates of diversity to the
actual demographics of VU administration and
faculty to determine if the students’ perceptions of
diversity are accurate.
Diversity in the University Setting

Why Diversity?
 Increased
diversity in America
 communities, employers and universities have had to
address the diversity question

Progress
 “In
general, universities and colleges are far more diverse
than three decades ago” (Conklin and Robbins-McNeish,
2006, p. 26).
 “While the student population has become more diverse,
the faculty remains predominately white and male”
(Conklin and Robbins-McNeish, 2006, p. 26).
Why Faculty and Administration
Diversity Matters

Comfort on Campus


Representation


Administration and Faculty should mirror demographics of
University student population
Role Modeling


Students feel comfort in places where their race/gender is
represented
Female/minority Administration and Faculty offer important
role-modeling for female/minority students
Preparation

Students of all races and gender are better prepared for the
world when they have diverse administration and faculty
Contributing Factors

“Pipeline Problem”

Clustering of Minority Faculty and Administration

Short Term Solutions
“It is not enough to include value statements in the institution’s
vision” (Page, 2003, p. 81).
 Systematic changes must be made

Proposed Study

Inspiration and Significance to the Researchers
 Our
observations on campus
 Our study abroad experiences
 VU’s recent emphasis on diversity
 VU’s changing definition of diversity

Confirmation of Study
 Lee’s
study
Research Hypotheses

Research Hypothesis:
 There
is a significant relationship between a student’s
race or gender and the accuracy of their perception of
diversity among VU administration and faculty.

Null Hypothesis:
 There
is not a significant relationship between a
student’s race or gender and the accuracy of their
perception of diversity among VU administration and
faculty.
Methodology




Setting: Valparaiso University Campus located in
Valparaiso, Indiana.
Participants must be students at Valparaiso University.
Questionnaire was distributed at four different “peak”
times in VU’s student union.
Questionnaire was also distributed to four different
multicultural organizations.
Asian American Association (AAA)
 Black Student Organization (BSO)
 Latinos in Valparaiso for Excellence (LIVE)
 Valparaiso International Student Association (VISA)


All questionnaires were kept confidential and
anonymous.
Questionnaire

Demographics
Gender
 Race/Ethnicity
 Year in School
 Membership in a Multicultural Organization




Rate their satisfaction with diversity at VU and its attempts to
diversify the campus community.
Estimate the percentages of the racial and gender makeup of
the administration (Board of Directors, President, Provost,
Managers, Administrative Deans, etc.) and full time faculty
(professors) of VU.
Report their ideal racial and gender makeup of VU’s
administration and faculty.
Demographics of Our Participants

Sex
Females: 102 (53.4%)
 Males: 88 (46.1%)


Year
Freshmen: 40 (20.9%)
 Sophomores: 49 (25.7%)
 Juniors: 65 (34.0%)
 Seniors: 34 (17.8%)
 5th Year: 1 (.5%)
 Graduate: 2 (1.0%)


Ethnicity/Race
White/Non-Hispanic: 159
(83.2%)
 People of Color: 33 (16.2%)

Asian: 11 (5.8%)
 Black: 8 (4.2%)
 Hispanic: 11 (5.8%)
 Native American: 1 (.5%)
 Pacific Islander: 1 (.5%)
 Other: 1 (.5%)

Findings: Comparison of Participant’s Estimates to the
Actual Demographics of Faculty and Administration
Actual**
White
Participants
Estimates
People of
Men
Women
Total
Color
Participants Participants Participants
Participants Estimates
Estimates
Estimates
Estimates
Faculty:
Women
37.0%
37.1%42.1%
34.6%39.6%
34.7%39.7%
38.7%43.7%
36.7%41.7%
Faculty:
People of
Color
7.4%
18.1%23.1%*
14.4%19.4%*
17.6%22.6%
17.5%22.5%
17.5%22.5%*
Admin:
Women
47.9%
35.0%40.0%
33.1%38.1%
33.3%38.3%*
36.2%41.2%*
34.7%39.7%*
Admin:
People of
Color
8.5%
17.0%22.0%*
17.1%22.1%*
18.4%23.4%
16.0%21.0%
17.0%22.0%*
**The actual numbers come from the Department of Institutional Advancement and are from November 2009.
Discussion of Results

Fail to Reject Null Hypothesis: There was never a
significant difference in mean estimates based on race or
gender.
 Percentage
of VU Administrators: Persons of Color
 Percentage of VU Administrators: Women
 Percentage of Faculty: Persons of Color
 Percentage of Faculty: Women

Patterns
 There
was a significant difference between all student group
estimates and the actual percentage (exception: women
faculty).
Correlations
Variable 1
Variable 2
Belief that administration/faculty is
diverse in regards to gender
Satisfaction with representation of one’s
own gender
Belief that administration/faculty is
diverse in regards to race
Satisfaction with representation of one’s
own race
Belief that administration/faculty is
diverse in regards to race
Estimation of percentage of
administration/faculty who are persons
of color
Belief that administration/faculty is
diverse in regards to gender
Estimation of percentage of
administration/faculty who are women
An Interesting Find…


In response to the statement, “Valparaiso University
is a diverse community,” there was no significant
difference between the responses of white
participants and persons of color.
On average, all participants answered “neutral” in
response to that statement.
Limitations of this Study




Limited sampling size of persons of color
Confusion about some questions on the questionnaire
Unwillingness to answer certain questions (especially on
table)
Suggestions for future studies
 Explore
further aspects of diversity (i.e. religious diversity)
 Improved Questionnaire
 Larger Sample Size
Implications of This Study

Our findings suggest that students generally
overestimate the diversity of VU administration and
faculty.
 More

consistency
VU should adhere to their hiring statement.
 Students

reported a desire for more diversity
When brought to people’s attention, interest is sparked
in regards to administration and faculty diversity.
References







Conklin, W., & Robbins-McNeish, N. (2006). Four barriers to faculty diversity. Diversity Factor. pp. 26-33. Retrieved from
http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?hid=15&sid= 108bfc09-ee9c-4b01-95aa1400416aea60%40sessionmgr14&vid=8
Eckes, S. E. (2005). Diversity in higher education: the consideration of race in hiring university faculty. Brigham Young
University Education & Law Journal, (1), 33-51. Retrieved from
http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?hid=15&sid=108bfc09-ee9c-4b01-95aa1400416aea60%40sessionmgr14&vid=12
Lee, J. (2010). Students’ perceptions of and satisfaction with faculty diversity. College Student Journal, 44(2), 400-412.
Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?hid=15&sid=108bfc09-ee9c4b0195aa1400416aea60%40sessionmgr14&vid=18&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=
51362172
Page, O. (2003). Promoting diversity in academic leadership. New Directions for Higher Education, (124), 79-86. Retrieved
from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?hid=15&sid=108bfc09-ee9c-4b01-95aa1400416aea60%40sessionmgr14&vid=20
Status of ethnic and racial diversity in college and university administration. (2009). ASHE Higher Education Report,
35(3), 11-30. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?hid=15&sid=108bfc09-ee9c4b01-95aa-1400416aea60%40sessionmgr14&vid=27
Tapia, R. (2010). Broadening participation: hiring and developing minority faculty at research
universities.
Communications of the ACM, 53(3), 33-35. Retrieved from
http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?hid=15&sid=108bfc09-ee9c-4b01-95aa1400416aea60%40sessionmgr14&vid=31
Taylor, O., Apprey, C., Hill, G., McGrann, L., & Jianping, W. (2010). Diversifying the faculty. Peer Review, 12(3), 15-18.
Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?hid=15&sid=108bfc09-ee9c-4b01-95aa1400416aea60%40sessionmgr14&vid=34
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