The impact of ethnic differences between universities and professors on professors' attitudes and perceptions about academic status

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1979

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Purpose and Problem of the Study. This study was designed to examine the relationship between ethnic predominance of institutions and faculty members' attitudes and perceptions regarding academic status. More specifically, it was undertaken to answer these questions: (1) What is the impact of ethnic differences between universities and professors on professors' attitudes toward academic status; and (2) What is the impact of ethnic differences between universities and professors on professors' perceptions of academic status? Procedures. Since this study was designed to test hypotheses, the sample was selected analytically rather than representa- tionally. The sample consisted of 152 black and white faculty members, from predominatly black and predominatly white universities in Texas. The questionnaire used in this study was designed by Lonnie Wagstaff and William Moore, from Ohio State University. The oroginal 100 item questionnaire was modified for the purpose of this study. The modified instrument contained seventy-eight items. The questionnaire was designed to elicit responses relative to faculty members' attitudes and perceptions about academic status. The subjects were asked to respond to a series of indices for each item. Each item was a rating device by which the subject’s position and the intensity of the position was measured. The responses marked by the subjects became the rating score for each statement, and the total score was then compared with a distribution of scores from other subjects. Treatment of the data involved testing the hypotheses through the use of Contingency Coefficient and Chi Square analysis. Conclusions. Analysis of the data within the context of the methodological procedures described above revealed that faculty members had more unfavorable perceptions of academic status, than negative attitudes toward academic status. There was also more homogeniety in perceptions than in attitudes. Neither of the two general hypotheses was accepted; however, there was a trend in the predicted direction. The sub hypotheses which were accepted led to the following conclusions: (1) There was a statistically significant difference among black faculty in black institutions, black faculty in white institutions, white faculty in black institutions , and white faculty in white institutions regarding attitudes toward academic status, while controlling for sex, age and academic credentials; (2) There was a statistically significant difference among black faculty in black institutions, black faculty in white institutions, white faculty in black institutions, and white faculty in white institutions regarding perceptions of academic status, while controlling for sex and teaching assignment. The general conclusion warranted by the findings of the study was that academic status is a growing concern among black and white faculty members in ethnically different institutions. Of the correlates examined concerning ethnicity of faculty members and ethnic predominance of institutions, only sex, age, teaching assignment, and academic credentials were significantly related to their attitudes and perceptions of academic status. [...]

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