EXPERT REPORT OF PATRICIA GURIN
Gratz, et al. v. Bollinger, et al., No. 97-75321 (E.D. Mich.)
Grutter, et al. v. Bollinger, et al., No. 97-75928 (E.D. Mich.)

EMPIRICAL RESULTS FROM THE ANALYSES
CONDUCTED FOR THIS LITIGATION

The Effect of Structural Diversity on Classroom and
Informal Interactional Diversity

An important question to examine first is whether structural diversity -- the degree to which students of color are represented in the student body of a college -- shapes classroom diversity and opportunities to interact with diverse peers. It is through these diversity experiences that growth and development occur among college students. To test this hypothesis, I use data from the national CIRP data base.

As noted above, the CIRP data were collected from nearly two hundred colleges and universities. Since there is a wide variation in the percentage of the undergraduate population who were students of color at these institutions, I was able to examine the effects of structural diversity. As shown in Figure 1, given that structural diversity is an institutional characteristic (as opposed to one that describes individual students), the most important consideration is the degree to which structural diversity changes the educational dynamics on a campus. In order to examine the degree to which structural diversity helps create conditions that promote student outcomes through classroom diversity and interactional diversity, I examined the relationships between structural diversity and each of the measures of curricular and interactional diversity that were available in the CIRP national data.


Structural diversity had significant positive effects on classroom diversity and interactional diversity among all students. Attending a diverse college also resulted in more diverse friends, neighbors, and work associates nine years after college entry. This is strong evidence that structural diversity creates conditions that lead students to experience diversity in ways that would not occur in a more homogeneous student body.


This key finding is supported by evidence in Table 1 indicating that classroom diversity and informal interactional diversity would be significantly lower without a diverse student body. In addition, the fact that these relationships are significant creates the possibility that structural diversity will also affect student outcomes (not just experiences) in indirect ways (e.g., through classroom diversity and interactional diversity). These indirect effects can only occur if the measures of classroom diversity and/or interactional diversity are significantly related to the student outcome measures, which is the major focus of the results in the next sections. (1)


Table 1
How the structural diversity of campuses helps create conditions and opportunities
that promote learning and democracy outcomes

Effect of structural diversity on: Is effect
significant?
Direction of
effect?

Enrolling in an ethnic studies course
Attending racial/cultural awareness workshop
Discussing racial/ethnic issues
Socializing across race
Having close friends in college from other racial backgrounds
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive

Notes: Based on all CIRP respondents. Significance measured at p <.05. Structural diversity measured as percentage of undergraduates at student's freshman college who were students of color.

Structural diversity also had dramatic long-term effects on the likelihood that white students who had grown up in predominantly white neighborhoods would live and work in diverse settings after college. Figure 2 illustrates the effects of attending a college with a diverse student body. White students who attended colleges with 25 percent or more minority enrollment, as contrasted to white students who attended colleges with very low minority enrollment, were much more likely to have diverse friendships after leaving college and to live in diverse neighborhoods and work in settings where co-workers were diverse. These results are also confirmed in previous long-term studies that show college represents a critical opportunity to change intergroup interaction patterns and to disrupt the pattern of social, residential, and work-place segregation. Segregation tends to be perpetuated over stages of the life cycle and across institutional settings. (See Appendix B.) Majority and minority individuals whose childhood experiences take place in schools and neighborhoods that are largely segregated are likely to lead their adult lives in largely segregated occupational and residential settings. College is a uniquely opportune time to disrupt this pattern. Moreover, we know that previously segregated minority students who attend structurally diverse colleges and universities are more likely to find themselves in desegregated employment and to work in white-collar and professional jobs in the private sector. Wells and Crain (1994) suggest that the networking students are able to do in structurally diverse schools is an important explanation for later employment in desegregated work settings. Thus, if institutions of higher education are able to bring together students from various ethnic and racial backgrounds at the critical time of late adolescence and early adulthood, they have the opportunity to disrupt an insidious cycle of lifetime segregation that threatens the fabric of our pluralistic democracy.

The institutional study of the University of Michigan (MSS) also shows important positive qualities of interaction with diverse peers afforded by Michigan's degree of structural diversity (approximately 25 percent minority enrollment). In the public discourse and controversy over the increasing diversity on our college campuses, critics claiming that diversity has had unfortunate consequences on college campuses have pointed to the supposedly negative nature of interracial interaction on diverse campuses. As I detail in Appendix E, the data from the Michigan Student Study clearly disprove this contention. While there is considerable selection of same-race peer groups among white and African American students at the University of Michigan, this pattern reflects thesegregation of their pre-college high schools and neighborhoods, not a reaction to their university experience with diversity. White students, particularly, come from segregated backgrounds, but the amount of their contact with students of color increases at Michigan. Moreover, the quality of these interactions is predominantly positive, involving the sharing of academic, social, and personal experiences -- the type of cooperative and personal relationships that I have argued promote learning and such democracy outcomes as interracial understanding, and perspective-taking. In general, this also happens for students of color at Michigan, as detailed in Appendix E.

The Effect of Diversity Experiences on Learning Outcomes


The results show strong evidence for the impact of diversity on learning outcomes. Students who had experienced the most diversity in classroom settings and in informal interactions with peers showed the greatest engagement in active thinking processes, growth in intellectual engagement and motivation, and growth in intellectual and academic skills. (See Tables C1, 2; M1, 2; I1.)


This general conclusion is supported by five major points that can be drawn from the analyses conducted for this litigation.

1. The analyses show a striking pattern of consistent, positive relationships between student learning in college and both classroom diversity and informal interactional diversity. These results are consistent across several dimensions:

  • racially/ethnically different student populations (African American, white, and Latino Students);
  • multiple learning outcome measures designed to capture students' active thinking processes, intellectual skills and abilities, and motivations for educational progress;
  • three different studies of the college experience (CIRP, MSS, and IRGCCP); and
  • time periods spanning college attendance for four years and sustained effects five years after college.

2. The results are especially impressive for white students. (See Tables C1, M1, I1. (2)) Virtually all of the relationships between classroom diversity and learning outcomes, and between informal interactional diversity and learning outcomes, in the CIRP and IRGCC studies were positive and significant. Almost half of the relationships in the MSS were also positive and significant, and none was negative. White students with the most experience with diversity during college demonstrated:

  • the greatest growth in active thinking processes as indicated by increased scores on the measures of complex thinking and social/historical thinking (confirmed in the MSS and IRGCC studies);
  • growth in motivation in terms of drive to achieve, intellectual self-confidence, goals for creating original works (confirmed in the CIRP study);
  • the highest post-graduate degree aspirations (confirmed in both CIRP & MSS studies);
  • and the greatest growth in students values placed on their intellectual and academic skills (confirmed in the CIRP study).

3. The results for white students' learning outcomes in the national study persisted across time (see Table C1). Five years into the post-college world, white graduates who had experienced the greatest classroom diversity and informal interactional diversity during college still demonstrated the strongest academic motivation and the greatest growth in learning (confirmed in the CIRP study). They also placed greater value than other white graduates on intellectual and academic skills as part of their post-college lives (confirmed in the CIRP study).

4. The results from the Michigan Student Study show that it is the quality of cross-racial interaction that affects white students' growth in active thinking and their graduate school intentions (see Table M1). Since few other studies in higher education have attempted to measure the positive and negative quality of interaction with diverse peers, these results are quite important. They support the amply documented conclusion from social contact studies that the quality of intergroup contact influences the hearts and minds of individuals.

5. The results also show a positive impact of diversity on African American and Latino students in the national study and on African American students in the Michigan Student Study (see Tables C2 and M2). (3) Fewer effects were significant for African American and Latino students, likely because of the much smaller sample size of these student groups. A few differences for African American students are worth noting:

  • Interaction with diverse peers was more consistently influential than classroom diversity for the learning outcomes of African American students (CIRP and MSS). This indicates the importance of peer interaction but also probably reflects the fact that for African American students, classroom content on issues of race and ethnicity provides a less novel perspective. They have grown up in communities and in a society where the pervasiveness of issues related to race has given them non-academic knowledge of these issues.
  • There was also evidence that having close friends of the same race was related positively to two learning outcomes for African American students. Those African American students whose close friends were also African American felt that education at Michigan had been more intellectually engaging. African American students in the national study who had close friends of the same race were more likely than other African American students to value general knowledge in their early post-college years (see Table C2).
  • Together these findings on the learning outcomes of African American students reveal the influential role of interaction with diverse peers and the particular role of interaction with peers of the same race, indicating that peer interaction must be considered in more complex ways for African American students. These findings suggest the supportive function of group identity for African American students, and the potentially positive effects of having sufficient numbers of same-race peers, as well as opportunities for interracial interactions on diverse campuses.
  • Finally, the results from the CIRP study show that cumulative grade point average related differently to classroom diversity for African American and Latino students (see Table C2). African American students who had taken the most diversity courses earned somewhat lower grades, while Latino students who had taken the most diversity courses earned higher grades. Since for white students there was only one relationship between grade point average and diversity relationships (higher grade point average for white students who discussed racial issues), we conclude that these different results for African-American, Latino, and white students come from the ambiguity in the meaning of grades in various disciplines and schools. That ambiguity is so great that it is difficult to find consistent relationships between grades and student experiences.

Effects of Diversity Experiences on Democracy Outcomes


The results strongly support the central role of higher education in helping students to become active citizens and participants in a pluralistic democracy. Students who experienced diversity in classroom settings and in informal interactions showed the most engagement in various forms of citizenship, and the most engagement with people from different races/cultures. They were also the most likely to acknowledge that group differences are compatible with the interests of the broader community. (See Tables C3, 4; M3, 4; I2).


This general conclusion is supported by four main points that can be drawn from the analyses conducted for this litigation.

1. As with learning outcomes, there is a striking and consistent pattern of positive relationships between democracy outcomes and both classroom diversity and informal interactional diversity. The consistency is evident across race/ethnicity, across a broad range of democracy outcomes that include both values and behaviors, across levels of studies, and most importantly, across time, as students entered into adult roles.

2. Virtually all types of racial/ethnic diversity experiences in college had a positive influence on white students citizenship engagement and racial/cultural engagement four years and nine years after college entry.

  • Classroom diversity was associated with every form of citizenship engagement and racial/cultural engagement among white students (confirmed in all three studies--see Tables C3, M3, and I2).
  • Equally important to democracy outcomes were informal interactions with diverse peers: white students who had such experiences demonstrated greater understanding that group differences are compatible with societal unity (confirmed in both Michigan studies), greater citizenship engagement (confirmed in all three studies), and greater racial/cultural engagement (confirmed in CIRP and MSS studies).
  • The Michigan study revealed that quality as well as quantity of interaction influenced democracy outcomes for white students (see Table M3). White students who had positive interactions with diverse peers demonstrated desirable democracy outcomes, while those who had negative interactions were least likely to perceive commonalities with other groups and least likely to understand the perspectives of others. Further, white students who had interacted frequently across racial and ethnic lines also showed greater citizenship engagement and engagement with racial and cultural issues at the end of college and five years after leaving college (see Table C3).

3. The results also show a consistent pattern of positive diversity effects on democracy outcomes for African American and Latino students in the national study and for African American students in the Michigan Student Study, although as with the learning outcomes fewer effects were significant because of the smaller sample sizes of these student groups. There is one notable difference in understanding how diversity affects the democracy outcomes for students of color, as compared to white students:

  • Having close friends of the same race/ethnicity on a predominantly white campus is important for some democracy outcomes for students of color (see Table C4). Nine years after college entry, African American and Latino students who reported having close friends of the same racial/ethnic background during college tended to participate in community service because they wished to improve their community. African American students who reported having close friends of the same race during college also reported growth in racial/cultural engagement after four years, and various citizenship engagement activities and values after nine years. As noted on the positive learning outcomes of African American students with a high proportion of same-race friends in college, these findings very likely reflect the significance of group identity for students of color. These findings suggest that group identity is particularly important as a basis not only for involvement in racial issues but for broader community involvement as well.

4. An increased sense of commonality with other ethnic groups among white and African American students at the University of Michigan was evident among students who had interactions with diverse peers (confirmed in the MSS -- Table M4). The classroom study of the Intergroup Relations, Conflict, and Community Program at the University of Michigan also revealed growth in mutuality or enjoyment in learning about both one's own background and the backgrounds of others, more positive views of conflict, and the perception that diversity is not inevitably divisive in our society. In sum, these results reveal that Michigan graduates who participated in interactions with diverse peers were comfortable and prepared to live and work in a diverse society --- an important goal of our educational mission.

The Effect of College Diversity Experiences on Living in a Diverse Society


Diversity experiences during college had impressive effects on the extent to which graduates in the national study were living racially or ethnically integrated lives in the post-college world. Students who had taken the most diversity courses and interacted the most with diverse peers during college had the most cross-racial interactions five years after leaving college. This confirms that the long-term pattern of segregation noted by many social scientists can be broken by diversity experiences during college. (See Tables C5-C6.)


This general conclusion is supported by three main points from the analyses of the nine-year CIRP data. (The Michigan studies did not include post-college follow-ups.)

1. Once again, the analyses show considerable consistency of effects across racial/ethnic student populations, and across many measures of post-college life.

2. The effect of diversity on white graduates outcomes related to living in a diverse society was especially impressive (see Table C5). Virtually all of the possible relationships between college diversity and post-college diversity were significant, and all but one of these relationships were positive. It is important to remember, as described in Figure 2 above, that structural diversity also directly increased the likelihood that white graduates would live and work in post-college diverse settings. In addition, structural diversity fostered the college diversity experiences that further increased white graduates' likelihood of living racially and ethnically integrated lives after leaving college. Together these direct and indirect effects of structural diversity are striking results of the CIRP study. Specifically, the findings show for white graduates:

  • College interaction with diverse peers was especially influential in accounting for integrated racial patterns of post-college friendships, neighborhoods, and work associates. College interaction with diverse peers also affected virtually every long-term outcome.
  • White graduates who had taken a diversity course and had the most interaction with diverse peers during college were more likely to discuss racial issues and socialize across race in the early post-college years. Both classroom diversity and informal interactions were associated with feeling the most prepared for graduate school, while informal interactions with diverse peers was associated with feeling that their undergraduate education prepared them for their current job.

3. Similar to white students, interaction with diverse peers during college was related to interaction with people from diverse backgrounds in the post-college world for African Americans and Latinos. The college experience was also important in breaking the pattern of segregation for these students of color, which is particularly noteworthy given the probability that both African Americans and Latinos come from minority neighborhoods (Orfield, et al., 1997). For the most part, the relationship between diversity and skills and experiences related to living in a diverse society was positive, but once again, there were fewer significant effects for African American and Latino students (see Table C6). Some specific effects are worth noting.

  • For African Americans, college interaction with diverse peers was more influential than classroom diversity in accounting for later racial patterns of association, and the same was true for the learning outcomes of African American students. (These two types of college diversity experiences had more equal influence on living in a diverse society for both Latinos and white graduates.)
  • Although interaction with diverse peers in college was clearly influential for both African Americans and Latinos, there were also some positive effects of interacting with same-race peers as well. African American and Latino graduates whose close friendship groups in college included students of the same race/ethnicity were more likely to discuss racial issues after college. The results show that discussing racial issues in the post-college world was fostered for both groups by informal interaction across race and ethnicity but also by same-race close friendship groups in college.

The Importance of Both Classroom and Informal Interactional Diversity

Throughout this presentation of results, I have noted the general impact of both classroom and informal interactional diversity experiences.

Figures 3 and 4 provide illustrative visual evidence from the CIRP study for the impact of both types of diversity. (The measure of interaction in these figures summarizes across all kinds of informal interaction to give a total score for each student. That summary measure was then related to learning and democracy outcomes.) These figures show dramatically that students who had the most exposure to diversity in classes, as compared to students with the least classroom diversity, were more intellectually engaged and motivated, more engaged with intellectual and academic skills, and more engaged in citizenship in the post-college world. This was also true of students who had the most interaction with diverse peers outside of the classroom, as compared to those who had the least informal interactional diversity experience.

Similar conclusions can be drawn from the analyses of the MSS and IRGCC studies, as shown in Figures 5 to 10, which indicate that both types of diversity influenced learning and democracy outcomes. The figures for the Michigan studies illustrate positive effects of classroom and informal interactional diversity on outcomes that were not measured in the CIRP study, namely active thinking and acknowledgment of differences as compatible with societal unity.

starFigure 5

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starFigure 8

starFigure 9

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Classroom and informal diversity are part of an interconnected diversity experience that structural diversity fosters, and both are critical to the impact of college diversity on enhanced learning and preparing to participate in a democratic society. While my techniques of data analysis have enabled me to separate classroom and informal interactional diversity experiences and to demonstrate that each has separate, independent statistical effects, it should be recognized thatin the real campus world, this separation is somewhat artificial. In the campus environments that were studied nationally and institutionally at the University of Michigan, classroom diversity inevitably included both content about race and ethnicity and interaction with students from diverse backgrounds who also took such courses. Informal interaction with diverse peers outside of the classroom, moreover, offered students opportunities to acquire knowledge about race and ethnicity in these relationships.

The most striking results showing the importance of interconnected diversity experiences come from the two Michigan studies. In the campus-wide study (MSS), two diversity experiences -- participation in a dialogue group involving two identity groups with different perspectives, and participation in multicultural events -- combined content and interaction with diverse peers. In both dialogue groups and multicultural events, students were exposed to new knowledge about race and ethnicity, much as would happen in a formal course, and they were offered opportunities to interact with students from other backgrounds. This interaction was an explicit part of dialogue groups and inevitably as an aspect of multicultural events, which are nearly always organized by diverse groups of students. For white students, participating in dialogue groups and multicultural events had consistently positive effects on both learning and democracy outcomes (See Table M1 and M3).

The Intergroup Relations, Conflict, and Community Program also explicitly integrates content and interaction with diverse peers. It presents academic materials about race and ethnicity in a formal classroom, and requires students taking the class to interact across racial and ethnic lines by participating in an intergroup dialogue associated with the formal course. The results are clear, consistent, and supportive of my arguments about the impact of diversity on student development (See Tables I1 and I2.) Students who took part in the IRGCC as first-year students, compared to a matched sample who did not participate in this program, showed greater growth over four years in active thinking, stronger citizenship engagement as seniors, greater acceptance of difference as compatible with societal unity, greater growth in perspective taking, greater mutuality in orientations toward their own groups and toward other groups, and greater understanding of conflict as a normal, indeed healthy, aspect of social life.

These two Michigan studies amply demonstrate through their widespread effects on both learning and democracy outcomes that classroom diversity and informal interactional diversity together have impressive effects as interconnected aspects of campus diversity.


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