College Campus Diversity and Student Development

We should all be having a conversation about diversity. The subject has been important to me since I was a child, perhaps due to personal experience or simply because I find diversity fascinating and beneficial to our growth in this global society. College campus diversity and its effect on students’ social development is what I want to research for the purpose of this course. When asked to present an implicit theory related to the Higher Education field, cultural diversity was the first thing that came to mind. The United States is a racially and ethnically diverse country; most countries have international students on their campuses, however the vast majority of students are of the same ethnicity. Due to the diversity of the United States, student bodies across the country’s colleges and universities are made up of students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, which is why I started thinking how diverse campuses might have a positive effect on the students’ social development.

Initially, the implicit theory I developed was “Does a culturally diverse college campus help students become more well-rounded individuals?” opinions will vary, that is the purpose of doing research, to understand what information is available on the topic and draw our conclusions; However, before the “Naked Presentation” we were not allowed to perform any type of research. Not researching the topic beforehand allowed my thinking to flow freely. I came into class with all the reasons why I think a culturally diverse college campus enhances students’ development.

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In my opinion, diverse college campuses increase self-awareness and expand our capacity for viewing issues in a different way. For most students, college is the first time they are living without their family and interacting with all kinds of people, which is essential for the understanding of my theory. Engaging in campus activities where diversity is promoted is opening doors to the world, the “real” world. While I do show my hand with this topic, there are many people who may differ from my idea of personal growth being enhanced by diversity, and this is something I want to explore as well. Does campus diversity prepare students for future career success? My initial question brought up more questions, this was one of them. As I mentioned before, we live in a global society, which means we have to interact with people from different backgrounds, not only in events that promote cultural diversity, but in our day to day lives. Today’s workforce is rapidly growing more culturally diverse as more minorities and international students obtain their college degrees.

College students graduate and enter the workforce with little to no experience, understanding how to interact with other adults, from any social or cultural background is a skill they want to develop while in college. Gaining the capacity of viewing issues from different perspectives, not just your own, will go a long way not only in their personal lives but also in their professional careers. These were the main ideas I had when I chose this topic and developed my theory.

Once in class, I began to notice how my colleagues approached each other’s questions from different angles. The question I ended up with, once everyone shared their input, was “Does a diverse college campus influence students’ development?” and I am comfortable working with this question for my project. What do we view as development? And what aspect of development am I going to explore to further develop my theory? These were questions I asked myself when I sat down and expanded my implicit theory.

I also considered whether the campus location made a difference in the students’ development, the effects of attending a campus located in a city might have, over attending college in a rural area. By going to college in a city, students are more prone to interact with people of all backgrounds; bigger cities, such as New York or San Francisco, tend to be more culturally diverse. Whereas, Students who attend college in a rural setting may not have as much, if any exposure to people of different backgrounds due to the makeup of the population. My theory is still a work in progress as I type this, every time I think of the topic, I come up with more questions and ideas relevant to the theory. However, my main focus will remain the same, campus diversity and its influence on students’ social development.

My implicit theory will be evaluated from different perspectives because when we talk about diversity the subject should be studied from many angles, it’s the essence of diversity after all. Once I read the scholarly articles and papers written about the topic, I know I will have more information to think about my theory more critically, this will subsequently show me different sides of the spectrum.

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