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Science of Diversity Project Semester 1 Presentation. d Acknowledgements . We are grateful for support from the Office of Student Creative Activities and Research (OSCAR) and University Life. We also appreciate the support from the Mason Community for this ongoing work. .

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Science of diversity project semester 1 presentation

Science of Diversity ProjectSemester 1 Presentation


  • We are grateful for support from the Office of Student Creative Activities and Research (OSCAR) and University Life.

  • We also appreciate the support from the Mason Community for this ongoing work.


  • Faculty Leads:

    • JoyaCrear, Associate Dean University Life

    • Eden King, Associate Professor, Psychology

    • Jaime Lester, Associate Professor, Higher Education Program

    • Shannon Portillo, Assistant Professor, Criminology, Law & Society

  • Graduate Assistant

    • M. Liz Andrews, Ph.D. Student, Cultural Studies Program

Introductions cont
Introductions Cont.

  • Students

    • Julie Allstrom

    • AmariaAsghar

    • Grace Beya

    • Danietta Charles

    • NupurKhullar

    • Caitlin Marais

    • Rebekah Ortiz

    • TyphaneySebrey

    • Stephanie Skees

    • Jason Von Kundra

Structure of the class
Structure of the Class

  • Four Semester Project

  • Open to all undergraduate students with three department options and available as 0-3 credits

  • Student Led

  • Textbook: Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research.

  • Inclusive environment

Goals of the project
Goals of the Project

  • Creating a student-centered scholarly experience

  • Documenting Mason’s multiple narratives of diversity

  • Recommending change by engaging university decision-makers

  • Giving voice to university and community stakeholders

  • Promoting evidence-based activism and social justice

Overarching focus
Overarching Focus

  • This project explores the broad theme of differences in power, diversity and privilege within the multiple stakeholder groups within the university (faculty, staff, students and administration).

    • We focus specifically on governance, influence and decision-making.

6 themes
6 Themes

  • History and Context

  • Student Intergroup Relations/Self Segregation

  • Student Governance

  • Staff Demographics

  • Faculty Demographics

  • Administration and Decision-Making

History and context
History and Context

George Mason University,

Fairfax Campus, 2007

Sign directing students to evening classes

at the University of Virginia Extension Center

in northern Virginia,1950

History and context1
History and Context

Mason’s Winter Commencement, 1975

Mason’s first commencement exercises, 1968

History and context2
History and Context

  • What is the history of diversity at GMU?

  • How does Mason’s history of diversity differ from that of other postsecondary educational institutions?

  • What have been the primary diversity initiatives enacted at GMU?

  • What outcomes related to diversity at GMU resulted from external influences? What outcomes resulted from internal institutional motivations?

Students self segregation

  • By student intergroup relations, we refer to the state of regular interaction between collegiate individuals of different social identity (race, religion, ethnicity, greek organization, et cetera)

  • By segregation, we refer to the separation of the said collegiate individuals under the basis of their social identity (race, religion, ethnicity, greek organization, et cetera)

  • Through these themes we are exploring how power and privilege may be causing challenges for these individual to connect on commonalities

  • We are furthermore exploring how this fear of engagement may be due to assumptions and misconceptions

Students self segregation cont d
Students/Self-Segregation (cont’d)

  • Attitudes towards students of a different social identity (Henderson-King & Kaleta 2000).

  • Pre-college racial environment and experiences (Saenz 2010)

  • Interaction between diverse student groups (Cole 2007).

  • Students who are more involved (Cole,2007).

  • Organized opportunities (Gurin, Biren, & Nagda 2006) (Smith, Bowman, Hsu 2007) (Henderson-King & Kaleta 2000)

  • Further evaluation and implementation of programs (Gurin, Biren & Nagda 2006), (Cole 2007).

Students self segregation cont d1
Students/Self-Segregation (cont’d)

  • While power and privilege are mentioned in some of the literature regarding intergroup relations, there are still significant gaps.

  • Further explore how intergroup projects are implemented.

  • How can intergroup relations be articulated in a University’s vision?

  • Is the inequality of power and privilege for social groups improved by college diversity programs?

Student governance
Student Governance

  • What does leadership look like?

  • Is Student Government representative of the entire student body?

  • There is limited research on student government representativeness.

  • Looking at whether school's student governments are representative of their student body.

Student governance1
Student Governance

  • Exploring student government and student leaders outside official power structure

  • How do diversity programs that work to increase enrollment and retention of historically underrepresented people impact the diversity of student leaders?

  • Are the demographics of the general student body reflected in leadership positions?


Data only report persons identifying as male or female, these statistics do not include gender non-conforming or transgender faculty or students.

Student data come from National Center for Education Statistics Fall 2011


POC refers to people of color, this is inclusive of Black, Latino/a, Asian and Indigenous Americans and Pacific Islanders.

NRA refers to non-resident aliens.

Percentages may not add up to 100 because there are some unknowns.

National data come from the National Center for Education Statistics; Mason data are from Institutional Research and Reporting

Faculty demographics
Faculty Demographics

Faculty Employment Contracts: Power and Autonomy

  • What is tenure?

  • What are the issues surrounding tenured faculty?

  • What does the research say?

  • Next step: How does this apply to Mason faculty?

Administration and decision making
Administration and Decision-Making

  • Literature on Best Practices/Programs for Diversity Agendas (Dumas-Hines 2001) (Kezar, Eckel, Contreras-McGavin & Quaye 2008)

  • Six Contextual Variables (Kezar, Glenn, Lester & Nakamoto 2008)

    • Knowledge capacity

    • Physical capacity

    • Institutional willingness to reflect

    • Project connection with institutional operations

    • Leadership within the team and institution

    • Racial climate

Administration and decision making cont d
Administration and Decision-Making (cont’d)

  • How are diversity projects implemented on campus?

  • Success and Failure Analysis on Campus with implementation

  • End Result

    • Better understand the process based on best practice methods

Next steps spring 2013
Next Steps: Spring 2013

  • Decide what type of data collection best contributes to knowledge in our areas of interest

  • Plan for data collection with new cohort of students

  • Collect data!

Thank you
Thank you!

Questions or Comments?

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