The Potential of Interactional Diversity: Outcomes Related to Oxy's Intergroup Dialogue Program.
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Challenges posed by an increasingly diverse society have prompted institutions of higher learning to develop co-curricular initiatives that maximize diversity engagement, understanding, and value. This study explored the impact of one such initiative, an Intergroup Dialogue Program, to learn how structured contact between two groups with a history of conflict influenced intergroup attitudes. Participants were 34 full time undergraduates enrolled in an intergroup dialogue class during the 2003-2004 academic year (17 White, 17 Non-white). Participants voluntarily completed a "Student Learning Questionnaire" during the first and last weeks of the program. Indexes formed to measure social identity, comfort with intergroup discussions about social issues and emotional responses to intergroup conflict were analyzed using mixed design ANOVAs (race x time). Main effects for time showed that participants were more aware of their own and others' social identities, attached greater importance to multiple social identity, expressed greater comfort discussing social issues, and indicated more positive and fewer negative emotions about engaging in constructive conflict at the end of the semester. Main effects for race show participants of color are more aware of their social identities and more comfortable engaging in broader perspectives. These preliminary findings offer support for productive intergroup relations based on acknowledging and valuing difference rather ignoring it. The implications of dialogic diversity initiatives for inclusive democracy are discussed.