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The Educational Diversity Project

The Educational Diversity Project examines the relations between race (and other factors) and educational diversity in incoming students at law schools in the United States. Grutter v. Bollinger affirmed that educational institutions may consider race as a factor in making admission decisions, because the Court believed that racial diversity contributes to “educational diversity.” However, controversy exists as to whether racial diversity offers measurable educational benefits in the law school setting and in the increasingly diverse workforce and society beyond law school.

The Educational Diversity Project examines whether or not educational benefits flow from a diverse student body, and if they do exist: (a) what is the nature of these educational benefits?; and (b) in what ways do race and other factors impact how these benefits are manifest?

We use a multimethod approach to address these research questions.

First, we administrated Year 1 EDP Baseline Survey to over 8,000 incoming law students at 68 ABA-approved law schools in Fall 2004.

  • This first part of our work involved a rigorous development process, including pilot administration and extensive psychometric analyses. We drew from a number of major research programs and national surveys, generating items where needed. As part of this work, we produced The Educational Diversity Project Survey.

Second, we conducted focus groups with approximately 200 students at 11 law schools in the Spring of 2005, 2006, and 2007.

  • Our focus group data collection allows us to provide further nuance, depth, and richness to the survey data about students and to develop a greater understanding about educational diversity in general and as it is evidenced in their law schools. The protocol for each year has a different general theme corresponding with the salient issues for that academic year.

Third, in Spring 2007 we administered a follow-up web survey to a subsample of law students who completed the baseline survey (the EDP Year 3 Follow-Up Survey).

Finally, we are currently conducting the EDP Law School Faculty Interview Study to explore how student diversity enters into professors' teaching (if at all) and pedagogical approaches for dealing with issues around race and student diversity in legal analyses in the classroom setting.

We are currently analyzing data and will continue to report findings here and in other outlets as they emerge. Check back at this site for updates!

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