How do Diversity and Inclusion Benefit Teaching and Research?
- Faculty perceive that diversity and inclusion is of value to their teaching and scholarship.
According to a nationwide survey of faculty members about diversity in their classes and on campus, (Maruyama and Moreno, 2000), (data analysis based on n=1,210 eligible in final sample; surveyed faculty were from Research-I institutions), faculty indicated the following:
- They strongly believe their institutions value diversity (racial/ethnic).
- They believe their departments are as committed as their institution to improving students’ environment.
- They strongly feel that neither quality nor intellectual substance of their classes suffer from students’ diversity.
- Two-thirds believe diversity helps all students meet their essential educational goals.
- Feel that classroom diversity and diverse research teams affect their views and learning.
- Female faculty and faculty of color viewed the benefits of diversity more positively, believed they are better prepared to deal with diversity and were more likely to address issues of diversity.
The following information, entitled Benefits for Teaching and Research, is reproduced and adapted with permission from WISELI, the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is based on the following publication: Eve Fine, Benefits and Challenges of Diversity (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004).
- Diverse working groups are more productive, creative, and innovative than homogeneous groups.
This shows that diverse working groups are more productive, creative, and innovative than homogeneous groups. This research suggests that developing a diverse faculty will enhance teaching and research (Milem, 2001).
- Heterogeneous groups generated more effective and feasible ideas than homogenous groups.
A controlled experimental study of performance in a brainstorming session compared the ideas generated by ethnically diverse groups composed of Asians, Blacks, Whites, and Latinos to those generated by ethnically homogenous groups composed of Whites only. Evaluators who were unaware of the source of the ideas found no significant differencein the number of ideas generated by the two types of groups, but, using measures of feasibility and effectiveness, rated the ideas generated by diverse groups as being of higher quality (Cox, 1993; McLeod, Lobel, & Cox, 1996).
- Heterogeneous teams also generated more alternative approaches to problems and engaged in a more critical review of these options than homogenous teams.
The level of critical analysis of decisions and alternatives was higher in groups subjected to minority viewpoints than in those that were not, regardless of whether or not the minority opinion was correct or ultimately prevailed. Minority viewpoints stimulated discussion of multiple perspectives and previously unconsidered alternatives (Nemeth, 1985; 1995).
- A study of innovation in corporations found that the most innovative companies deliberately established diverse work teams (Kanter, 1983). Scholars from minority groups have expanded and enriched scholarship and teaching in many intellectual disciplines by offering new perspectives, raising new questions, challenges, and concerns (Antonio, 2002. See also Turner, 2000; Nelson and Pellet, 1997).
- Several research studies found that women and faculty of color more frequently used active learning in the classroom, encouraged student input, and included perspectives of women and minorities in their coursework (Milem, 2001).
To review the entire document from WISELI, the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, visit http://wiseli.engr.wisc.edu/docs/Benefits_Challenges.pdf