The Color of Education: A Quantitative Examination of Racial Awareness, Multicultural Competency, and Professional Practices of Undergraduate Faculty and the Effects on Student Success

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Despite the fact that the student demography in institutes of higher education is growing more and more diverse, the faculty who teach in colleges and universities remains largely White at 77% (National Center for Education Statistics, 2017). As the student population grows more diverse, it is imperative that faculty have the tools and resources necessary to meet the educational needs of the students. A first step to meet the educational needs of this diverse student population is for faculty to become more racially aware and multiculturally competent (Bonilla-Silva, 2014; Diggles, 2014; Harper & Hurtado, 2007). This study provides empirical data related to faculty’s racial identity awareness, multicultural competency, and academic practices. The data were examined to ascertain what impact, if any, these factors had on student achievement and faculty-student relationships. Additionally, this study analyzed sociodemographic factors, academic characteristics, and professional practices to determine if there were correlations which contribute to student success and improved faculty-student relationships. Results from this research study (N = 224) found a correlation between faculty with higher racial identity awareness profiles or more elevated multicultural competency scores, and improved student achievement and stronger faculty-student relationships. Specific academic characteristics, and professional and pedagogical practices, may increase racial identity awareness and multicultural competency and lead to greater success among students as well as stronger relationships between faculty and students. These results are similar to the research of many scholars in examining the relationships between racial awareness, multicultural competency, and the relationship between faculty and students (Bourke, 2016; Carter, Helms, & Juby, 2004; Charbenau, 2015; Chickering & Reiser, 1993; Cole, 2007; Harper & Davis, 2016; Hurtado, Alvarado, & Guillermo-Wann, 2015; Kuh, 2004; Lane, 2010). Literature from racial awareness and multicultural competency is used to interpret findings, discuss limitations, and make recommendations for future studies.

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  • 02/02/2024
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