“In All Honesty, You Don’t Learn Much”: White College Men’s Perceptions of Diversity Courses and Instructors

Jörg Vianden
UW-La Crosse

The positive effects of diversity coursework on college students are uncontested and the majority of institutions now require some form of diversity content. However, not all students engage in this content in the same way, and heterosexual White male students may show ardent resistance to diversity courses and the faculty teaching them. Faculty of color disproportionately teach diversity courses, and some White faculty may avoid teaching about topics of human difference altogether. This article shares the results of a phenomenological study with 92 undergraduate White heterosexual male participants at 10 institutions throughout the United States. Data analysis reveals participant perceptions of the lack of depth in required diversity courses, of the need to weave diversity throughout the major course of study, and of the skills and behaviors of faculty teaching diversity content. Recommendations to incorporate the teaching of diversity and pedagogical strategies for faculty are offered.

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