Inclusion, Race, Ethnicity, Culture and Global Higher Education: International Comparisons
Walter R. Allen, UCLA; Florence Bonner, Howard University; and Shane Lachtman, Occidental College
Equity vs. equality is an ongoing debate across all social structures. Education is and always has been at the center of the debate; equity as the means and equality as the end. Educationas a means has been an excellent tool to move toward the end, but without justice as a bridge the struggle continues. Therefore both means and end must be linked by a "bridge of justice" to be effective. Inclusion of disenfranchised groups by prestigious higher education institutions holds real promise as an important bridge to achieve justice, equity and equality in societies around the world.
The International Comparative Education Project asks, “How well are universities in South Africa, England and the US preparing students to work and live with increasing racial- ethnic diversity? We compare student experiences across international higher educational contexts to determine whether and how universities: (1) build bridges across diverse social groups,(2) provide student learning opportunities to interact with diverse communities, and (3) facilitate growth in students’ cognitive, social, civil, and democratic skills and value-orientations. While national studies examine how universities prepare students for an increasingly global society, little research studies these issues cross-nationally.
Seeking to address this gap, we asked students at the University of Cape Town (N=98), Oxford University (N=74), Occidental College (N=122) and UCLA (N=1,135) to complete online surveys about experiences and outcomes related to campus diversity. The goal was to assess inter- group and intra group relations as related to diversity and point to the experiences and interactions most effective in preparing students for meaningful participation in diverse, global, free market economies. Data was analyzed using SPSS. Measures used have been validated in previous research.