The relationship between multicultural education, multicultural experiences, racial identity, and multicultural competence among student affairs professionals
Miklitsch, Teresa Ann
MetadataShow full item record
Increased diversity on American college campuses presents unique challenges in creating welcoming and inclusive environments. Student affairs professionals need to develop the multicultural awareness, multicultural knowledge, and multicultural skills (multicultural competence) to ethically and effectively serve diverse student populations. This study explored the relationship between multicultural education, multicultural experience, racial identity, and multicultural competence among student affairs professionals working within residence life programs. This was a national web-based survey that solicited the participation of 324 residence life professionals, representative of various colleges and levels within the profession, via professional association listservs and the snowball sampling technique. Ex-post facto correlation design was employed. Correlation and regression analyses were utilized to examine the relationships between and among the variables. Each participant completed four instruments: the Multicultural Competence in Student Affairs - Preliminary 2 Scale (MCSA-P2) (Pope & Mueller, 2000), one of two racial identity instruments--the People of Color Racial Identity Attitude Scale (POCRIAS) (Helms, 1995) or the White Racial Identity Attitude Scale (WRIAS) (Helms & Carter, 2002), the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale - Form C (Crowne & Marlowe, 1960, 1964; Reynolds, 1982), and a Personal Data Form. Multicultural education, multicultural experience, and racial identity significantly predicted multicultural competence scores above and beyond the influence of demographics and social desirability. Five demographic variables (race, sexual orientation, current socioeconomic status, identification as a member of a socially marginalized group, and highest degree earned) correlated significantly with multicultural competence. Racial identity had the most significant correlation with and predicted multicultural competence even when accounting for demographics, social desirability, multicultural education, and multicultural experience. Multicultural education and multicultural experience both significantly correlated with and predicted multicultural competence even when controlling for demographics and social desirability. Finally, multicultural supervision also correlated with multicultural competence. The implications for multicultural education, professional development, multicultural supervision, student affairs practice, and the measurement of multicultural competence are discussed. This research contributes to the existing literature on multicultural competence by exploring the relationships between racial identity, multicultural education, multicultural experience, multicultural supervision, and multicultural competence of student affairs professionals.