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Department of Humanities


Higher education is working to diversify the undergraduate curriculum to support critical thinking and promote racial justice—pressing work, particularly at predominantly white colleges and universities. To support students’ critical thinking, we need to better understand their awareness of systemic inequities as they enter and exit undergraduate diversity courses. To inform the development of undergraduate curricula, we use iterative comparative analysis of students’ written work to investigate patterns in their thinking regarding issues of systemic inequalities in U.S. public schools before and after an undergraduate diversity course. We examine patterns in student language as they make sense of systemic inequities using course data that centers historic and systemic inequities in U.S schools. We find that students consider these data within their already-held narratives of meritocracy and individuality, resulting in troubled text regarding the role of race and class privilege, and the responsibility/culpability of systems versus individuals in educational attainment.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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