Pluralistic orientation involves higher levels of critical thinking that empower students to engage collaboratively, interact cross-culturally, and develop a higher regard for others’ perspectives, culture, language, social class, dis/abilities, and additional forms of identities including race/ethnicity, country of origin, gender and sexuality identity, political and spiritual beliefs, and other affiliations. Institutions of higher education have the opportunity to play a vital role in students’ acquisition of pluralistic orientation by providing a space where diverse forms of knowledge converge, different perspectives are fostered, intersectionality is examined, and students can interact cross-culturally, maybe for the first time. Quantitative and qualitative archival data from a 2016 campus climate assessment adapted from the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) Diverse Learning Environment (DLE) survey were utilized. A conceptual model for examining students’ pluralistic orientation adapted from Dovidio et al. provided the theoretical framework for this study. Findings of this mixed methods study of 978 students from one college campus suggest that cross-cultural interaction, cultural content in the curriculum, the promotion of cultural difference appreciation and the appreciation of differences in sexual identity by the University, along with campus sponsored diversity events and activities are significant variables in enhancing pluralistic ability.
Learner Diversity, Inclusive Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Practices, Pluralism
Education and Learning in a World of Difference
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Manager, Cross Cultural and Gender Center, California State University, Fresno, United States
Dr. Vicki Taylor is the Manager of the California State University, Fresno (Fresno State) Cross Cultural and Gender Center, and the Fresno State President's Commission on Human Relations and Equity. At Fresno State, Dr. Taylor co-facilitates National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) Welcoming Diversity Workshop, conversations on inclusion, respect and equity, and conflict resolution discussions as part of the University's ASPIRE Resource Team. She also facilitates Examining Micro-Aggressions and their Impact on Campus Climate seminars as part of the Fresno State President's Cultural Competency Certificate Program. Dr. Taylor's current research explores the relationship between exposure to cultural content in the curriculum, campus-sponsored diversity events and activities, and cognitive and affective catalysts that might influence the development of a pluralistic orientation in college students.