Abstract

Issues of diversity and inclusion have plagued higher education and college of agriculture. Understanding that diversity encompasses more than just race, this work examined both race and culture/environmental influence concurrently through open-ended and Likert scale survey questions that were created to assess agricultural students’ perceptions of diversity and inclusion. This mixed methods paper focuses on student responses to questions of diversity and inclusion and analyzed the qualitative responses of students’ perspectives of diversity, inclusion, and ways to improve the campus climate in a College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at a mid-Atlantic land grant institution. Three themes emerged: what diversity and inclusion means to students, feelings of discrimination while in college, and suggestions to improve the climate of diversity and inclusion in the college. Results showed there were a wide range of perceptions about diversity and the need to address feelings of discrimination and racism, with varied responses from minority and majority students. Recommendations include a need for increased interaction between minority and majority students, and a call to educate and promote campus diversification that starts with university administration and continues through faculty/professors and students alike.

 

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