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ABOUT THE MICHIGAN STUDENT STUDY

Welcome Colleagues!

The Michigan Student Study (MSS) began as an initiative in 1990 to undertake a comprehensive examination of the impact on students of the University of Michigan's commitment to foster campus diversity efforts and educational excellence. The ultimate purpose of the study was to contribute to the campus community's understanding of factors that foster and inhibit making the increasing diversity at Michigan an intellectually challenging and broadening experience for all student groups in the campus community. Although its major emphasis is on racial and ethnic diversity, the study is also concerned with the students' reactions to issues related to gender and sexual orientation.

Over the life of the Michigan Student Study, information has been shared with numerous higher education associations, and colleges and universities. The MSS is the first comprehensive, in-depth research endeavor that utilized multi-faceted techniques (qualitative and quantitative) to examine students’ responses to diversity in a single institutional setting over their four years in college. We believe this research has made major contributions in providing the higher education community with a better understanding of the longitudinal impact of diversity on our students.

Additionally, the Michigan Student Study has been used in the University of Michigan’s legal defense of its admission policies related to racial and ethnic diversity. The MSS provided a wealth of data that was used by our legal team and social science researchers to demonstrate the educational benefits of diversity to all students during their four years on campus.

The Michigan Student Study represents a strong research collaboration between U-M administrators and faculty. From an institutional research perspective, it provided us with the necessary data to impact change across various programs and activities as well as enabled our administrators to articulate the value of campus diversity at campus, state and national fora. We sincerely appreciate the contributions of various academic and non-academic units that participated in the MSS over the years, and the numerous faculty, staff and students who have advanced campus diversity, not only through research but also through institutional programs, activities, policies and procedures.

From an academic perspective, research from the Michigan Student Study has furthered the scholarship and academic careers of promising doctorate students. Eight Ph.D.s, cutting across various academic disciplines and interests, have emerged from the Michigan Student Study and contributed to the growing body of research knowledge and understanding of the complexities of diversity in higher education.

The research activities of the MSS are continuing, supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation. With this support we are replicating the Michigan Student Study a decade later, comparing the 1990-1994 and 2000-2004 Michigan student cohorts. This will enable us to re-examine students’ responses to diversity in the political climate of increasing challenges to affirmative action, in state referendum initiatives and the courts, that has emerged in the ten years since the original Michigan Student Study. The Ford foundation is also supporting a follow-up survey of the 1,700 Michigan alumni who answered our senior survey in 1994, which will permit an exploration of the impact of college experiences with diversity on work, citizenship, and other life arenas almost ten years after college.

While much has been accomplished, there is still much more that needs to be done relative to developing a fuller understanding of the complexities of campus diversity and its multiple impacts on students. The contents of this website are designed to give the reader considerable information on the Michigan Student Study and the magnitude of the work that has been, and continues to be, accomplished.

Sincerely,

The Michigan Student Study Team

John Matlock
Gerald Gurin
Katrina Wade-Golden

 


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The Michigan Student Study is funded, in part, by a generous grant from the Ford Foundation

MSS Research Team Email: michiganstudy@umich.edu Telephone: (734) 763-7978

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