Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 2002

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Advanced Education Programs

Advisor

Bill Daley

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to investigate college students' attitudes toward diversity, perceived campus climate, gender, race/ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation. The sample consisted of 245 undergraduate students at a small regional university in the Midwest. The independent variables investigated were gender, major/field of study, college classification, race/ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation. The dependent variables were scores from the six scales of the Campus Diversity Questionnaire (Attitude Toward Gender Roles, Attitude Toward Racial/Ethnic Diversity, Attitude Toward Disabled Persons, Attitude Toward Sexual Orientation, Total Score, and Perceived Campus Climate). One composite null hypothesis was tested at the .05 level employing a three-way analysis of variance (general linear model) and three null hypotheses were tested at the .05 level employing one-way analysis of variance. Due to the vagueness in meaning of liberal, conservative, and neither, the three levels within the independent variable major/field of study, the researcher used previous studies by Springer, Palmer, Terenzini, Pascarella and Nora (1995) as a point of reference to define liberal majors, conservative majors, and majors that were neither liberal nor conservative as used in the context of the present study. According to Springer et al. (1995) conservative majors were those encompassed within Business, Engineering, and Sciences (both Natural and Physical). Liberal majors were encompassed within Education, Humanities (Art, Communication, Mathematics, Philosophy, English, Language and Music), Social Sciences, Economics, History, and Political Science. Conservative majors reported by participants m this study were as follows: Management, Office Technology, Office Management Systems, Finance, Information Systems Administration, Marketing, Accounting, Business Administration, Health and Human Performance, Geosciences, Ag Business, Computer Science, Pre-Pharmacy, Animal Science. Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Engineering, Pre-Medicine, Biology, Physics, and Organizational Leadership. Liberal majors reported by participants in this study were as follows: Education, Political Science, Music, Public Relations. Economics, Mathematics, English, Spanish, Graphic Design, Art, Sociology, Social Work, Criminal Justice, History, Psychology, Communications, and Pre-Law, Majors reported by participants in the study that did not fall within the conservative nor liberal confines were labeled as neither. Neither liberal nor conservative majors reported by participants in this study were as follows: Undecided, General Studies, Technology, and Information Networking and Telecommunications. A total of 60 comparisons were made. Of the 60 comparisons, 36 were for main effects and 24 were for interactions. Of the 36 main effects, 10 were statistically significant at the .05 level. The results of the present study appeared to support the following generalizations: I. undergraduate students in conservative majors have a more positive attitude toward different gender roles than those undergraduate students majoring in fields that are neither liberal nor conservative; 2. female undergraduate students have a more positive attitude toward people with disabilities than male undergraduate students; 3. senior undergraduate students have a more positive attitude toward people with disabilities than freshmen and sophomore undergraduate students; 4. undergraduate students majoring in liberal fields have a more positive total attitude toward diversity than those undergraduate students majoring in fields that are neither liberal nor conservative; 5. African American undergraduate students have a more positive attitude toward different gender roles than Asian/Native Pacific Islander and White/Caucasian undergraduate students; 6. African American undergraduate students have a more positive attitude toward people of different sexual orientation than Asian/Native Pacific Islander undergraduate students; 7. African American undergraduate students have a more positive total attitude toward diversity than Asian/Native Pacific Islander undergraduate students; 8. undergraduate students who indicated homosexual orientation have a more positive attitude toward people with disabilities than those undergraduate students who indicated heterosexual orientation; 9. undergraduate students who indicated homosexual orientation have a more positive attitude toward people of different sexual orientation than those undergraduate students who indicated heterosexual orientation; 10. undergraduate students who indicated homosexual orientation have a more positive total attitude toward diversity than those undergraduate students who indicated heterosexual orientation; 11. gender and major/field of study should be interpreted concurrently for attitude toward different gender roles; and 12. participants of the study have a positive attitude toward diversity. The purpose of the study was to investigate college students' attitudes toward diversity, perceived campus climate, gender, race/ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation. The sample consisted of 245 undergraduate students at a small regional university in the Midwest. The independent variables investigated were gender, major/field of study, college classification, race/ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation. The dependent variables were scores from the six scales of the Campus Diversity Questionnaire (Attitude Toward Gender Roles, Attitude Toward Racial/Ethnic Diversity, Attitude Toward Disabled Persons, Attitude Toward Sexual Orientation, Total Score, and Perceived Campus Climate). One composite null hypothesis was tested at the .05 level employing a three-way analysis of variance (general linear model) and three null hypotheses were tested at the .05 level employing one-way analysis of variance. Due to the vagueness in meaning of liberal, conservative, and neither, the three levels within the independent variable major/field of study, the researcher used previous studies by Springer, Palmer, Terenzini, Pascarella and Nora (1995) as a point of reference to define liberal majors, conservative majors, and majors that were neither liberal nor conservative as used in the context of the present study. According to Springer et al. (1995) conservative majors were those encompassed within Business, Engineering, and Sciences (both Natural and Physical). Liberal majors were encompassed within Education, Humanities (Art, Communication, Mathematics, Philosophy, English, Language and Music), Social Sciences, Economics, History, and Political Science. Conservative majors reported by participants m this study were as follows: Management, Office Technology, Office Management Systems, Finance, Information Systems Administration, Marketing, Accounting, Business Administration, Health and Human Performance, Geosciences, Ag Business, Computer Science, Pre-Pharmacy, Animal Science. Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Engineering, Pre-Medicine, Biology, Physics, and Organizational Leadership. Liberal majors reported by participants in this study were as follows: Education, Political Science, Music, Public Relations. Economics, Mathematics, English, Spanish, Graphic Design, Art, Sociology, Social Work, Criminal Justice, History, Psychology, Communications, and Pre-Law, Majors reported by participants in the study that did not fall within the conservative nor liberal confines were labeled as neither. Neither liberal nor conservative majors reported by participants in this study were as follows: Undecided, General Studies, Technology, and Information Networking and Telecommunications. A total of 60 comparisons were made. Of the 60 comparisons, 36 were for main effects and 24 were for interactions. Of the 36 main effects, 10 were statistically significant at the .05 level. The results of the present study appeared to support the following generalizations: I. undergraduate students in conservative majors have a more positive attitude toward different gender roles than those undergraduate students majoring in fields that are neither liberal nor conservative; 2. female undergraduate students have a more positive attitude toward people with disabilities than male undergraduate students; 3. senior undergraduate students have a more positive attitude toward people with disabilities than freshmen and sophomore undergraduate students; 4. undergraduate students majoring in liberal fields have a more positive total attitude toward diversity than those undergraduate students majoring in fields that are neither liberal nor conservative; 5. African American undergraduate students have a more positive attitude toward different gender roles than Asian/Native Pacific Islander and White/Caucasian undergraduate students; 6. African American undergraduate students have a more positive attitude toward people of different sexual orientation than Asian/Native Pacific Islander undergraduate students; 7. African American undergraduate students have a more positive total attitude toward diversity than Asian/Native Pacific Islander undergraduate students; 8. undergraduate students who indicated homosexual orientation have a more positive attitude toward people with disabilities than those undergraduate students who indicated heterosexual orientation; 9. undergraduate students who indicated homosexual orientation have a more positive attitude toward people of different sexual orientation than those undergraduate students who indicated heterosexual orientation; 10. undergraduate students who indicated homosexual orientation have a more positive total attitude toward diversity than those undergraduate students who indicated heterosexual orientation; 11. gender and major/field of study should be interpreted concurrently for attitude toward different gender roles; and 12. participants of the study have a positive attitude toward diversity.

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Copyright 2002 Courtney L. Paulsen

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