Service-learning and diversity: The relationship of race, gender, and prior service experience to students' self-perceived appreciation of difference and awareness of structural inequality

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2004-08-10

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This thesis explored the relationship between students' participation in a one-semester service-learning course and their self-perceptions of diversity, defined as appreciation of difference and awareness of structural inequality (O'Grady, 2000). Specifically, the study explicated the relationship between each of the two diversity components and race, gender, service hours required, and prior service participation. The study utilized existing data from the Curricular Service Learning Survey, a locally developed instrument.

Results indicated that women's perceptions of appreciation of difference were significantly greater than men's perceptions, whereas students' perceptions of awareness of structural inequality differed significantly by race and gender. Blocked hierarchical regressions revealed that students' prior service experience and high school service requirement predicted a significant but small amount of the variance (6%) in their perceptions of their appreciation of difference and that prior service experience predicted a significant amount of the variance (6%) in their awareness of structural inequality.

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