An analysis of the multiethnic character of introductory literature courses in selected black colleges



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The major purpose of the study was to analyze the multiethnic character of introductory literature courses in selected black colleges and to assess the impact of selected correlates concerning faculty and institutional characteristics associated with the multiethnic character of the course. The conceptualization of multiethnic character used in the study was whether course objectives and content reflected the ethnic input of the literatures of Afro Americans, American Indians, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, and other minorities. Faculty characteristics examined were ethnicity, recency of degree, involvement in multiethnic activities, and participation in special training programs. Institutional characteristics examined were enrollment and method of control. Procedures Data for the study were obtained about introductory literature courses in the English departments of 51 of the 86 historically black four year colleges. In order to obtain information about the courses, it was deemed necessary to sample the faculty teaching the course. Individuals designated by department chairmen as coordinators of the introductory literature component completed and returned a mail questionnaire specially designed for the study, together with a copy of the course outline. The questionnaire was validated by a panel of judges from the areas of literature and multicultural education, and from black colleges. It was field tested at an institution not included in the study. Data used in the study were analyzed using both descriptive and hypothesis testing methodologies. To assess multiethnic character, a course multiethnicity scale was developed from questionnaire items specifically related to course objectives and content. Because the multiethnic character of the course was the main concern of the study, hypotheses generated from the major research questions concerning course, faculty, and institutional characteristics were tested against the scale. A 2 x 2 chi square analysis with a conservative .05 level of significance was used. Other data in the analysis were reported in percentages and percentage differences. Findings and Conclusions It was hypothesized that the multiethnic character of the majority of the introductory literature courses in selected black colleges would be multiethnic and that selected characteristics related to the faculty and the institution would have an impact on the multiethnic character of the courses. [...]