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Multiculturalism needs more than openness to diversity: Updating the Openness to Diversity and Challenge scale for increased inclusion
This paper describes a case study conducted with graduate students in a large, culturally-diverse university and suggests the addition of a more contemporary facet to the Openness to Diversity and Challenge (ODC) scale created by Pascarella and colleagues in 1996. The first phase of the study entailed observing a group of 24 graduate students enrolled on an elective multicultural marketing course in 2019, followed by a second observation of the same course in 2020, this time counting 22 students. During this phase, when students were asked to choose an ethnic community to study, the majority of students selected their own community rather than explore an alien culture. The second phase of the research entailed analysing the narratives contained in the students’ assignments. This phase provided insight into the reasons behind their choices and improved understanding about how contemporary students experience openness to diversity. Prior to this study, it seemed reasonable to assume that multiculturalism and ODC walked hand in hand. Based on the study findings, however, this paper argues that the others-oriented approach of the ODC scale would benefit from the integration of a self-oriented symmetrical side in order to better suit contemporary needs. The findings of this research are highly relevant because young adults must be open to diversity in order to succeed in contemporary society.
The full article is available to institutions that have subscribed to the journal.
Eliane Karsaklian is a clinical professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a regular speaker at both national and international conferences and her research into multiculturalism has won various awards.