The Educational Benefits of Student Diversity in U.S. Law Schools

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Walter ALLEN, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Florence BONNER, Howard University, USA
The US Supreme Court affirmed “the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body” and ruled universities have “compelling interests in securing the educational benefits of a diverse student body.”  Yet, questions remain about the “educational diversity rationale” and whether racial/ ethnic diversity and educational benefits. Empirical research shows: interventions are necessary to improve racial harmony among race-ethnic groups; student educational outcomes are enhanced in diverse learning environments; educational diversity improves learning outcomes for law students; college diversity experiences have lifelong consequences and universities can help reduce racial prejudice, discrimination and conflict in our society.

The Educational Diversity Project (EDP) collects longitudinal survey and focus group data from 8,000 Law students at 64 Law Schools to understand the benefits of educational diversity.  www.unc.edu/edp/   We conduct multi- level modeling on EDP datasets: 2005 Baseline Survey; 2007 Exit Survey; IPEDS institutional data and supplemental student data from the Law Schools Admissions Council.

We test the long- term effects and benefits of educational diversity within Law Schools.  We ask whether diversity is a “game changer” not only for classroom learning, but also for life outcomes (i.e., socio- political attitudes, educational experiences, professional trajectories, neighborhood and school choices, and community engagement)

We ask: “Does educational diversity really matter?” Our findings convincingly support the view that student diversity does matter and makes positive contributions to the educational experience for law students.