- Neither Jew nor Gentile: Exploring Issues of Racial Diversity on Protestant College Campuses
George Yancey's (2010) latest book continues his research concerning Protestant colleges and issues of racial diversity in this institutional context. The book reports findings of Yancey's study of the matriculation and graduation of students of color at these institutions as well as the perceptions of various institutional diversity initiatives by both racial majority students and racial and ethnic minority students. Yancey uses his findings to make several recommendations to predominantly White Protestant colleges to bolster their recruitment and retention of racial and ethnic minority students and improve the effectiveness of institutional diversity initiatives.
The book is organized in seven chapters. The initial chapters provide a context for discussing issues of racial diversity in higher education (chapter 1) and then in predominantly White Protestant colleges (chapter 2). Yancey's review of the literature regarding general differences found between how Whites and non-Whites understand race and racism is thorough and insightful. In chapter 2, Yancey also presents survey data from 161 colleges on the diversity initiatives likely to be used by predominantly White Protestant colleges, distinguishing those initiatives more likely to be used by either mainline versus conservative (defined as those institutions with denominational affiliations or sponsorships that are recognized as fundamentalist or evangelical Christian in theology and dogma) institutions.
Beginning with chapter 3, Yancey then proceeds to walk the reader through the data from his study, first reporting the correlational study of factors related to matriculation and graduation of racial and ethnic minority students at the predominantly White mainline and conservative Protestant colleges in his survey sample. Yancey distinguished among those factors significantly related to matriculation and graduation of African American, Hispanic American, Native American, and Asian American college students and found that different initiatives were correlated to the matriculation and graduation of students from each of these four racial and ethnic groups. Among his findings were that the celebration of heritage months and multicultural student organizations were significantly correlated to the matriculation and graduation of African American and Native American college students. For Hispanic American and Asian American college students, their matriculation and graduation were significantly correlated to the presence of diversity-related courses in the curriculum and faculty [End Page 915] from racial and ethnic minority groups. Yancey suggests that differences among these groups' racialized experiences in the United States may account for these differences.
In chapters 4 and 5, Yancey reports data from students themselves, both White (chapter 4) and non-White (chapter 5), sharing their perceptions of the effectiveness of various institutional diversity initiatives on changing the racial climate of their campuses and increasing majority student understanding of issues of race and racism. A total of 460 students from ten colleges completed the survey, 324 self-identifying as White and the remainder self-identifying as Black (45), Hispanic (31), Asian (25), multiracial (23), or other (10).
The final two chapters, chapters 6 and 7, discuss the implications of Yancey's findings. In chapter 6, Yancey particularly focuses on what he identifies as his most notable findings, including the effect of having racial and ethnic minority faculty. He concludes the book in chapter 7 by offering specific recommendations for Protestant colleges and exploring the transferability of his findings for non-Protestant predominantly White colleges and universities.
Although a significant body of literature exists that has studied issues of racial diversity in U.S. higher education, which Yancey reviews in the first chapter, there has been no research that particularly examines the unique institutional context of sectarian higher education and Protestant colleges, in particular. Yancey's research stands as a notable effort to fill this void in the literature. Moreover, Yancey's careful attention to the potpourri of existing institutional diversity initiatives and the realization that these initiatives may differentially influence the academic persistence and experiences of students with respect to race is laudable. Also noteworthy is Yancey's recognition that it was important to study...