American Sociological Association

The Impact of Racial Diversity in the Classroom: Activating the Sociological Imagination

Diverse college campuses have been conclusively associated with a variety of positive outcomes for all students. However, we still know very little empirically about how student diversity directly impacts the core task of the university: classroom learning. While students vary based on race along a broad spectrum of experiences and backgrounds, we have yet to establish how those varying backgrounds might impact the ways students engage with course material. In this study, I examined student journals in order to understand how race influenced the ways students engaged with course material and found that black students are much more likely than their white student peers to find connections between course material and daily life, a central task of the sociological imagination. The results of these findings are important for sociologists in particular and educators in general as we seek to maximize the effects of increasingly diverse educational settings.


Josh Packard





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