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Compelling Interest: Examining the Evidence on Racial Dynamics in Colleges and Universitiesby Mitchell J. Chang
Synopses & Reviews
In recent years American colleges and universities have become the locus of impassioned debates about race-conscious social policies, as conflicting theories clash over the ways to distribute the advantages of higher education in a fair and just manner. Just below the surface of these policy debates lies a complex tangle of ideologies, histories, grievances, and emotions that interfere with a rational analysis of the issues involved. As never before, the need for empirical research on the significance of race in American society seems essential to solving the manifest problems of this highly politicized and emotionally charged aspect of American higher education.
The research evidence presented in this book has a direct relevance to those court cases that challenge race-conscious admission policies of colleges and universities. Though many questions still need to be addressed by future research, the empirical data collected to date makes it clear that affirmative action policies do work and are still very much needed in American higher education. This book also provides a framework for examining the evidence pertaining to issues of fairness, merit, and the benefits of diversity in an effort to assist courts and the public in organizing beliefs about race and opportunity.
Book News Annotation:
This volume is the result of an interdisciplinary panel launched by the American Educational Research Association and the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University, convened to study race and intergroup relations in American colleges and universities. The issues examined go to the heart of the arguments surrounding the Supreme Court's affirmative action case of 2003. Collectively, the six chapters presented find continuing racial inequalities in educational opportunity, conclude that test-based standards of fairness are incomplete, and conclude that racially diversified environments lead to quantitative and qualitative gains in educational outcomes for all. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
By addressing, through empirical research, the many facets of racial dynamics in higher education, this timely book offers not only strong arguments for the necessity of affirmative action policies, but also ways of building a research agenda that tests notions of fairness, merit, and the benefits of diversity.
“This volume is important and timely in light of the legal challenges to affirmative action. Whatever the outcome of the cases, higher education institutions will need the knowledge imparted in this book as they strive to achieve ethnic and racial diversity in their student bodies and faculties. It will also be important for scholars interested in late adolescent-early adulthood development and the role of race in America.” —Patricia Y. Gurin,University of Michigan
Includes bibliographical references (p. 213-234) and index.
About the Author
Mitchell J. Chang is Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Organizational Change at the University of California, Los Angeles. Daria Witt was a Social Science Research Associate at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University, and now teaches English as a second language in New York City. James Jones is Professor of Psychology at the University of Delaware. Kenji Hakuta is Vida Jacks Professor of Education at Stanford University.
Table of Contents
Introduction / Daria Witt, Mitchell J. Chang, and Kenji Hakuta — Justice, equality of educational opportunity, and affirmative action in higher education / William Trent... et al. — Standardized testing and equal access: a tutorial / Linda F. Wightman — Social psychological evidence on race and racism / Shana Levin — The educational benefits of diversity: evidence from multiple sectors / Jeffrey F. Milem — Affirmative action practices in a broader context / Mitchell J. Chang, Daria Witt, and Kenji Hakuta — Historical summary of affirmative action / Daria Witt and Clara Shin.
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