Student Engagement And Affordances For Interaction With Diverse Peers: A Network Analysis

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jason Lynch, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Higher Education (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: This study utilized a network model in order to explore the relationship between patterns of student engagement and affordances for interaction with diverse peers for 12,852 students at 7 universities. The institutions are similar in type and size, with relatively moderate levels of structural racial diversity, and a range of overall cross-cultural peer engagement. The findings indicate that students in the "core" (many connections) share 1 dominant perception of affordances for interaction with many other students that also have a high number of connections. Similarly, students in the "fringe" (few connections) may not share their perception of the affordances for interaction with many other students, but when they do, it is most likely with other students that have only have a few connections in our network. Moreover, our network exhibited a high-degree of assortativity, meaning that there is little mixing between the "core" and "fringe" groups. Importantly, the institutional network structure varied by an institution's overall level of cross-cultural peer engagement. White students reported more co-curricular engagement but less openness to cross-cultural interaction than their peers from all other racial groups; White students reported significantly greater campus support for diversity and less openness to cross-cultural interaction than their peers from all other racial groups. Implications for intergroup dialogue, collaborative programming, and the use of assortativity for institutional assessment are discussed.

Additional Information

Glass K, Glass CR, Lynch RJ. Student Engagement and Affordances for Interaction with Diverse Peers: A Network Analysis. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. 2016;9(2):170-187. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2016
networks, student engagement, cross-racial interaction, campus diversity

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