Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:Intersection, does this living and learning community successfully develop the skills and knowledge for living in a multicultural society?
Author(s):Pittman, Samatha
Subject(s):Living and learning communities
Abstract:“Maybe you're a dreamer. Maybe you're a doer. Maybe you are a little of both. Regardless, once you've decided to attend the University of Illinois, you'll want your living arrangement to match your goals and ambitions—who you are, and who you hope to become.” This quote comes from the University of Illinois narratives on living and learning communities. These forms of communities are templates for a cohort-based interactions and interdisciplinary approach to higher education. Intersection’s main goals are to encourage students to interact and embrace multicultural society. This research project will answer the question, Does Intersections, successfully develop the skills and knowledge for living in a multicultural society? The measure that I used to gauge the impact of Intersections consisted of conducting eight interviews. While conducting the ethnography, I will analyze the interviewee’s responses by using contact theory. Reflecting on my past experiences of being a residence, I will look at the effectiveness of this program. The participants consisted of eight females (7 students and 1 administrator) who have played intricate roles (residence, HOMI, resident advisor) in the functioning of the program. This representative sample was chosen so that the data could be compared (sets of 2 student participants attended the same high school and lived in the same community) and eliminate confounders. The results showed that the participant’s ethnic/racial background did not influence their opinion on diversity. On the other hand their neighborhood that they grew up in played a significant role in how Intersection impacted their perspective and interactions in a multicultural society.
Issue Date:2008-12
Course / Semester:EPS 500, Race and Ethnography: A Study of the University, Prof. Priscilla Fortier: This seminar is not only a course, but part of a cross-campus initiative titled Ethnography of the University Initiative. As a member of this course students joined a campus-wide learning community in which the University of Illinois was explored ethnographically. Students began the course by thinking about what the university is, as well as about race and ethnicity as phenomena within the university’s narratives. Students learned about universities and higher education in general and the University of Illinois in particular. A third area of concentration was “ethnography,” and students learned and practiced the basic skills of observation, interviewing, and writing as an ethnographer. Students completed several short assignments that were intended to help them develop these skills, as well as one larger ethnographic project on the University. The latter allowed them to explore an aspect of the university that has to do with an issue of race or ethnicity. In addition to the readings that students did as a class, they were expected to explore other research related to their project. The course syllabus is available at:
Date Available in IDEALS:2009-07-27

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