RESEARCH

IDP collects, analyzes, and disseminates assessment information about our offerings (academic courses for undergraduate and graduate student; customized workshops for faculty, staff, alumni, and students; training sessions, etc.). Our commitment to assessment enables us to measure our impact, use data-informed decision-making when making programmatic changes, and communicate with campus stakeholders and partners in other academic contexts.

Given the breadth of our offerings – spanning from semester-long courses to single 3-hour-long workshops – we utilize a range of assessment strategies. Students enrolled in our academic courses (EDUC 2610, EDUC 4826, NBA 6870) are invited to complete pre- and post-surveys at the beginning and end of the semester, respectively, allowing us to measure how their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors change over time. Students, faculty, and staff who participate in our workshops are presented with a brief survey at the end of each workshop, with questions focused primarily on their experience connecting with others and practicing skills during their time with us and often tailored to include some questions specific to the goals of each client.

In an effort to connect our work to existing empirical evidence, many of our surveys contain scales developed and validated by researchers. For example, among EDUC 2610 students who completed both the pre- and post-survey in the fall 2018 semester, we saw a statistically significant increase in cultural humility, described by scholars as “an interpersonal stance that is other-oriented rather than self-focused, characterized by respect and lack of superiority toward an individual’s cultural background and experience” (Hook et al., 2013). We also saw a significant increase in students’ motivation to use intergroup contact as an opportunity for learning, an outcome that has been empirically linked to interest in and comfort with intergroup contact (Migacheva & Tropp, 2012).

In July 2018 we began administering a survey at the end of most IDP workshops, enabling us to get a sense of how over 350 undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff have reacted to the content and processes shared during their time with us. Overall, the data suggest that IDP’s workshops offer meaningful opportunities for members of the Cornell community to engage with intergroup dialogue practices: a majority of survey respondents reported that during the workshop they thought about their identities in a way they hadn’t thought about them before, they practiced skills that will help them communicate with someone from a different background, and the skills they practiced will be helpful when they’re engaged in a challenging conversation.

In addition to the analysis of quantitative data collected through participant and facilitator surveys, we are in the process of developing an assessment plan focusing on rich sources of qualitative data including students’ written reflections, final papers, focus groups, and interviews. The analysis of these sources allows us to learn about individual and collective processes inside and outside the classroom, to gain an in-depth understanding of the ways in which our participants use and implement intergroup dialogue skills and content, to assess unintended impacts, and to examine our overall impact on campus.  

Assessment results have been shared with various partners on campus including University administration. In the future, we look forward to sharing results more broadly through conferences and academic publications. We are also eager to continue exploring our transformative impact on individual students through analysis of existing qualitative data, in addition to investigating our effect on the campus community, utilizing, for example, annual surveys that are distributed to all students.

Based on our own experiences, we understand the potential for intergroup dialogue to profoundly change the way people think about themselves, others, and the world around them. Though we will never completely capture the outcomes of this process – so much of which is ineffable – IDP remains committed to rigorous, creative, and relevant assessment as an integral component of creating community across difference through dialogue.

Kathryn Stamm, Research Assistant

I’m a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, studying English and American Studies. I was first introduced to IDP during an orientation workshop in Fall 2018. Immediately after that experience, I signed up for EDUC 2610, before becoming a facilitator. In Spring 2019, I started an English research project, where I realized the opportunities of research outside of STEM fields and how it can be a lens into how people feel and conceptualize themselves. I wanted to extend this to IDP to understand its tangible results on a broader scale than just my own experience. This research is exciting to me in terms of measuring how we are achieving our goals, and how we can use that data to evaluate our programs and explain our real impact outside the IDP sphere.

Rachel Sumner, PhD, IDP Associate Director

I arrived at Cornell as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Human Development, where my dissertation focused on the development of purpose in life and identity among college students and adults. Through subsequent roles in a nonprofit organization and then at Cornell’s Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research I collaborated with youth work practitioners to use data as a tool for understanding and informing programmatic decisions. Everything changed in January 2017, when I participated in the second IDP session for graduate/professional students and postdocs; I’ve been grateful to continue my involvement with IDP since then, first as a co-facilitator/coach and now as associate director. I work with other members of IDP’s team to assess our program’s transformative impact on individual participants and the campus community, using this information to communicate accurately with campus partners and continuously improve our offerings.

Ruju Dani, Research Assistant

I have been involved with IDP since my first few days on campus. From participating in the program’s first year of freshmen orientation-week sessions to taking the course that same semester to facilitating for the past two semesters, I am still trying to understand the effects of social identities and the deep influence IDP has had on me. Pursuing marketing in the Dyson school of Applied Economics and Management, I have a deep appreciation for the art of storytelling. Though, IDP facilitation as well my classes and business experiences in student organizations have taught me that this art is increasingly data-driven. I’ve seen immense curriculum changes in IDP’s offerings even within my time here and I share the program’s commitment to keep improving. Through analyzing student surveys and understanding the perception of IDP, I am grateful for the opportunity to help better communicate its impact.

Research Inspired by IDP

Besides conducting our own research, IDP has also inspired members of our team to engage in social justice-related research outside of our program

“The Impact of Unpunished Hate Crimes: When Derogating the Victim Extends into Derogating the Group”

In Social Justice Research (2016), 1-21

Aaron Ong ’17

Academic Publication | College of Architecture, Art & Planning

Aaron enrolled in EDUC 2610 in freshman year, and was deeply impacted by the course. He went on to facilitate the Socioeconomic Status and Gender dialogues throughout his sophomore year. IDP triggered Aaron’s interest in intergroup relations, and left such a lasting impact that he went on to work with social psychologist Dr. Winnifred Louis (pictured, left) at the University of Queensland during the summer of his sophomore year. His stint in Australia led to an academic publication.

The social psychological study looked at the impact of a racist hate crime on observers within an Australian context (White-Aboriginal Australian relations). While research has shown that individuals tend to derogate or blame victims when the perpetrator of a hate crime goes unpunished by the justice system, this study is among the first to empirically demonstrate that this derogation extends to the group level (i.e., reinforcing prejudice towards all Aboriginal Australians). This has critical implications for social justice; group authorities’ response or non-response to a hate crime can influence wider social attitudes. Click here to read more about this study.

Head-shot of Katelyn

“EDUC 2610: IDP’s Impact on Student Attitudes and Behaviors Regarding Diversity and Inclusion”

Katelyn Fletcher ‘15

Senior Year Honors Thesis|College of Human Ecology

Katelyn took EDUC 2610 as part of her education minor during her sophomore year, and subsequently underwent training to become an IDP facilitator. Her positive experience with the program led her to focus her senior year Honors thesis on evaluating the early stages of the EDUC 2610 program using the data we had collected. Working under the supervision of Professor Stephen Hamilton from Human Development, along with IDP staff and faculty, her findings underscored the positive impacts of IDP on student attitudes within the Cornell context.

By analyzing pre/post-test survey findings, Katelyn’s study found that Cornell students who had taken the early iterations of EDUC 2610 were more likely to take self-directed, other-directed, and intergroup collaborative action to promote social justice causes. Given that one of IDP’s goals is the mobilization of students to become social agents for change, her study underscores the efficacy of the program thus far.

Katelyn not only presented her research findings at a Cornell Panel Presentation of IDP Research in Cornell in May 2015, but also at the Northeastern Intergroup Relations (IGR) Conference at Skidmore College in June 2015. Click here to watch a presentation of her findings.