Melissa D. Ousley, Ph. D.
The University of Arizona has launched a four-year longitudinal study centered on collecting attitudes about diversity from the Millennial Generation.
Building on the results of a comprehensive survey of 4,500 UA undergraduate students, the Millennial Student Project seeks to gather information from students born roughly between 1982 and 1995.
In the longitudinal phase, 60 students will be interviewed annually to document their changing perspectives on diversity as a result of their college experiences. By following students' experiences, the research team anticipates developing a new paradigm for diversity programming on college campuses, and informing employers about the attitudes and beliefs of their future workforce.
Ten students were also selected to participate in an in-depth project that will capture video and journal entries throughout four years of college. Students' journal entries detailing their diversity experiences will be continually posted online on the UA Department of Multicultural Programs and Services Millennial Project website.
Footage from interviews with these students and the video documenting their experiences will culminate in a groundbreaking documentary on student experiences and diversity. The first installment of this documentary is expected to be complete in early 2007.
The Millennial Generation of Americans differs from its Generation X and Baby Boomer predecessors. A key difference, of particular interest to both colleges and employers, is the fact that this generation constitutes the most racially and ethnically diverse population of college students and future employees in history.
The Millennial Student Project seeks to understand these students' attitudes, behaviors and experiences regarding diversity, with a particular focus on how the college experience influences these attitudes.
The initial phase of the Millennial Student Project consisted of a detailed assessment tool that captured 4,500 students' attitudes regarding diversity. The UA yearly newsletter, Praxis, outlines the study's initial findings and will be updated with new data and published yearly. Praxis is also found on the department's website.
The Millennial Student Project is a collaboration between the Dean of Students Office and the Department of Multicultural Affairs and Student Success at the UA. The research team is comprised of UA faculty, staff and students. The Millennial Student Project is sponsored in part by a grant from Alltel.
Melissa D. Ousley, Ph. D.