campus partner(s)

University of Southern California






Outcomes and Assessment

award date


project director

Darnell Cole

University of Southern California

Grant Summary

$24,998 over 12 months. The contemporary liberal arts curriculum requires students to study difference—between peoples of different races, sexes, religions, abilities, sexual orientations, and so on—with the expectation that their study will improve both students' respect for those different from themselves, as well as their cognitive skills. But does this really happen? How can learning outcomes related to students' experience in diversity courses be determined given that: 1) students generally enroll in only 1 course to meet the requirement; 2) students can choose from a variety of "diversity" courses; 3) multiple instructors deliver these courses; and 4) students can fulfill the requirement at any point during their undergraduate career? Researchers at the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education propose to design the measures and methodology that would address these questions for the 16,500 undergraduates at a large private university which has over 100 specified courses that can meet the requirement. They will begin by consulting with faculty on how they define and/or delimit what is and what is not a diversity course and what they articulate as the learning outcomes one should expect from these courses; identifying all active courses meeting the diversity requirement and analyzing the syllabi to generate a rubric for sorting courses by common characteristics. The project team will also consult with outside experts, including researchers at the Council for Aid to Education who will help them explore how the Collegiate Learning Assessment might be adapted to this project. USC plans to produce a White Paper that will be useful to institutions seeking more clarity about the diversity requirements on their own campuses.