Annotated Bibliography

Valuing Diversity

Astin, A. W. (1993). Diversity and multiculturalism on the campus: How are students affected? Change, 25, 44-50.

Abstract: A brief narrative description of the journal article, document, or resource. A national study of 82 college outcome measures on 25,000 students from 1985-89 looked at the relationship of outcomes, institutional environment (emphasis on institutional, student, or faculty diversity), and campus activism. Results suggest emphasis on diversity in all forms is beneficial to student development and also promotes student activism.


Gurin, P. (1999). Expert report of Patricia Gurin. Michigan Journal of Race & Law, 5(1), 363-425.

Extract: A racially and ethnically diverse university student body has far-ranging and significant benefits for all students, non-minorities and minorities alike. Students learn better in a diverse educational environment, and they are better prepared to become active participants in our pluralistic, democratic society once they leave such a setting. In fact, patterns of racial segregation and separation historically rooted in our national life can be broken by diversity experiences in higher education. This Report describes the strong evidence supporting these conclusions derived from three parallel empirical analyses of university students, as well as from existing social science theory and research.


Gurin, P., Dey, E. L., Hurtado, S., & Gurin, G. (2002). Diversity and higher education: Theory and impact on educational outcomes. Harvard Educational Review, 72(3), 330-366.

Extract: In the current context of legal challenges to affirmative action and race-based considerations in college admissions, educators have been challenged to articulate clearly the educational purposes and benefits of diversity. In this article, Patricia Gurin, Eric Dey, Sylvia Hurtado, and Gerald Gurin explore the relationship between students' experiences with diverse peers in the college or university setting and their educational outcomes. Rooted in theories of cognitive development and social psychology, the authors present a framework for understanding how diversity introduces the relational discontinuities critical to identity construction and its subsequent role in fostering cognitive growth. Using both single- and multi-institutional data from the University of Michigan and the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, the authors go on to examine the effects of classroom diversity and informal interaction among African American, Asian American, Latino/a, and White students on learning and democracy outcomes. The results of their analyses underscore the educational and civic importance of informal interaction among different racial and ethnic groups during the college years. The authors offer their findings as evidence of the continuing importance of affirmative action and diversity efforts by colleges and universities, not only as a means of increasing access to higher education for greater numbers of students, but also as a means of fostering students' academic and social growth.


Hong, L. and Page, S. E. (2004). Groups of diverse problem solvers can outperform groups of high-ability problem solvers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101(46), 16385-16389.

Abstract: [Researchers] introduce a general framework for modeling functionally diverse problem-solving agents. In this framework, problem-solving agents possess representations of problems and algorithms that they use to locate solutions. [Researchers] use this framework to establish a result relevant to group composition. [Researchers] find that when selecting a problem-solving team from a diverse population of intelligent agents, a team of randomly selected agents outperforms a team comprised of the best-performing agents. This result relies on the intuition that, as the initial pool of problem solvers becomes large, the best-performing agents necessarily become similar in the space of problem solvers. Their relatively greater ability is more than offset by their lack of problem-solving diversity.


Kugler, E. G. (2002). Debunking the middle-class myth: Why diverse schools are good for all kids. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press.

Extract: This book shows the results when educators are committed to finding ways to help every child, of every background, succeed. And it shows what is possible when all elements of the community—students, parents, and community members—support the administration and teachers in their efforts. This book lays out the rationale for considering diverse schools among the most desirable; and it provides strategies for anyone who cares about strengthening these often underrated treasures in our educational system. A diverse school that is well run and supported by the community is an academic and social gold mine. It provides just the type of education that our students and our greater society need.


McLeod, P L. (1996). Ethnic diversity and creativity in small groups. Small Group Research, 27(2), 248-264.

Abstract: There is a growing belief among managers that ethnic diversity, when well managed, can provide organizations with certain competitive advantages. But the belief in this value-nil diversity hypothesis rests largely on anecdotal rather than empirical evidence. Results are reported of a controlled experimental study that compares the performance on a brainstorming task between groups composed of all Anglo-Americans with groups composed of Anglo-, Asian, African, and Hispanic Americans. The particular brainstorming task used—The Tourist Problem—was chosen for its relevance for diversity along the dimension of ethnicity. The ideas produced by the ethnically diverse groups were judged to be of higher quality-more effective and feasible-than the ideas produced by the homogeneous groups. Members of homogeneous groups reported marginally more attraction to their groups than did members of diverse groups. Directions for future research with respect to the degree of diversity, the nature of the task, and group process are discussed.


Nishii, L. H., & Goncalo, J. A. (2008). Demographic Faultlines and Creativity in Diverse Groups (CAHRS Working Paper #08-04). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University.

Abstract: Despite the oft made argument that demographic diversity should enhance creativity, little is known about this relationship. [Scientists] propose that group diversity, measured in terms of demographic faultlines, affects creativity through its effects on group members’ felt psychological safety to express their diverse ideas and the quality of information sharing that takes place across subgroup boundaries. Further, [scientists] propose that the relationship between faultlines and creativity will be moderated by task interdependence and equality of subgroup sizes. Finally, [scientists] provide suggestions for how organizations can establish norms for self-verification and use accountability techniques to enhance creativity in diverse groups.


Page, S. E. (2007). The difference: How the power of diversity creates better groups, firms, schools, and societies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

From the Publisher: In this landmark book, Scott Page examines how people think in groups and how collective wisdom exceeds the sum of its parts as a result of diversity—not what we look like outside, but what we look like within, our distinct tools and abilities. The Difference reveals that progress and innovation may depend less on lone thinkers with enormous IQs than on diverse people working together and capitalizing on their individuality. Page shows how groups that display a range of perspectives outperform groups of like-minded experts. Diversity yields superior outcomes, and Page proves it using his own cutting-edge research. Moving beyond the politics that cloud standard debates about diversity, he explains why difference beats out homogeneity, whether you're talking about citizens in a democracy or scientists in the laboratory. He examines practical ways to apply diversity's logic to a host of problems, and changes the way we understand diversity—how to harness its untapped potential, how to understand and avoid its traps, and how we can leverage our differences for the benefit of all.