In addition to working with students on class-related research projects and supervising theses and independent studies, I also have my own on-going program of research. Most recently my research has focused on student and faculty perceptions of diversity, and educating about diversity. I, Dr. Janine Chi, and student collaborators have explored student attitudes toward diversity themed courses, the "DE" requirement, and attitudes about the need to focus on diversity at a societal level. We are interested in the ways in which one's own social identity influences a person's desire to learn about diverse social identities; how the desire to be "color-blind" interacts with the desire to learn about other people and cultures; and, other related questions. This research has sparked an interest in qualitative research methods, and the lab is currently using interviews and qualitative analysis to answer our research questions.
For the last several years, our lab has been conducting and analyzing one-on-one semi-structured interviews with students and faculty members. Our aim is to understand how each group spontaneously frames (i.e., "defines" or "understands") the concept "diversity." Our findings, thus far, suggest that how a person frames diversity has strong implications for their subsequent attitudes about if and how to study diversity. This work and related survey findings have resulted in several local and national presentations, and an upcoming publication.
Wolfe, C. T., Chi, J. K. G., Rodriguez, N.*, Patterson, T.*, Gupp, E.* (2015). Student and faculty preferences for “happy talk” about diversity: A barrier to teaching social justice. Manuscript in Preparation.
Gupp, E. (2011, April). Faculty Perceptions of Diversity: Bounded or Embodied Knowledge. Paper presented at the 26th Annual LVAIC Undergraduate Psychology Conference, Easton, PA. Click here to download a PDF of the slides from her talk.
Wolfe, C., Chi, J., Rabinovich, A., Cole, L., Freckleton, S. & Murphy, M. (2010, October). Student and Faculty “Happy Talk” about Diversity: An Obstacle to Teaching about Racism. Poster presented at the 10th Annual Diversity Challenge: “Race and Culture in Teaching, Training, and Supervision." Boston, MA.
Cole, L. (2010, April). Experiences and Understandings with Diversity: How They Affect Faculty Pedagogical Practices at a Liberal Arts College. Presented at the 7th Annual Undergraduate Conference on Social Justice/Social Research, Allentown, PA. Click here to download a PDF of the text of her talk.
Chi, J., Wolfe, C. T., Weiss, D., Leavitt, R., Grom, L., Rodriguez, K., & Prevete, T. (2008, June). Social Justice and "Diversity Talk" at a Small Liberal Arts Institution. Poster presented at the conference for the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Chicago, Illinois. Click here to download a PDF copy of the poster handout.
Weiss, D., Grom, L., & Leavitt, R. (2008, April). Diversity Education at Muhlenberg College. Presented at the 5th Annual Undergraduate Conference on Social Justice/Social Research, Allentown, PA.
Colorblind ideology is the belief that the best way to end racism is to not "see" or acknowledge race. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva has dubbed this approach colorblind racism. Failing to acknowledge race blinds one to racism - racism which is still prevalent although sometimes more hidden than the overt racism addressed by the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Research suggests that people who endorse colorblind racism are, indeed, more likely to be racist even if only at an implicit (unconscious) level. We have been working on a new scale to measure colorblind ideology. Currently, there is a scale to measure awareness of privilege, called power-evasion (Neville et al. 2013, American Psychologist). Through survey research testing items and validating them against open-ended responses to a scenario, we are attempting to create a measure of color-evasion: the belief that avoiding the mention of race is proper and virtuous.
Wolfe, C. T. & Chi, J.K.G. (2013). Improving campus climate: The role of social justice. Texas Education Review, 1, 59-72.
Retrieve from http://txedrev.org/volume-one-time-capsule-2013.
Most colleges and universities recognize exposing their students to diverse perspectives and taking steps to increase representational diversity on their campuses are important ways to improve campus climate. Most generally, this focus on diversity in higher education has referred to the inclusion of historically under-represented groups and perspectives, particularly that of racial and ethnic groups. However, higher education needs to do more and do better. The purpose of this paper is to identify key ideological barriers that can impede efforts to improve campus climate particularly with respect to race and racism, and to provide an additional framework or lens through which to carry out effective campus climate improvements.
I welcome inquiries from students who are interested in the topics described on this page, either to sign-on as research apprentices, or to develop your own research project in a related area. *I recruit new students for the lab each semester, but most students start in the Fall term and continue through Spring.
*I am not recruiting for Fall 2015 or Spring 2016.
Students in my lab help design studies, evaluate existing designs, run subjects, analyze data, and work on ideas for future research. We usually meet as a lab group once per week at a time that works for everyone, and the typical PSY 270 (half credit) student can expect a workload of about 4 hours per week.
For more information, feel free to e-mail me or us the Contact link to set up a time to chat.