Graduate students in an Educational Psychology program completed a course on the Multicultural Family. Thirteen students agreed to participate in a study that used reflection essays that were part of the class assignments as data. A memoir reading was combined with traditional academic readings with content on multicultural families. Students completed reflection essays through an online discussion format in which they compared their college experiences to the life of a prominent African American from the local area. Using a qualitative approach, the final reflection essays were examined with thematic analysis. Two coders independently coded the essays for key themes. Differences were resolved through consensus. A set of 10 primary categories were organized under three broader themes of African American Experiences, Resources, and Identity Processes. African American Experiences included the primary categories of Personal Understanding, Racism is Current, Food Accessibility, and Historical Contexts. Resources included the primary categories of Family, Resilience, and Community. Finally, the theme of Identity Processes included Identity through Land, Similar Identity Search, and Awareness of White Privilege. In summary, the use of reflective essays and group discussions revolving around the memoir of a prominent, local African American seemed to be successful in contributing to diversity training. Findings will be discussed in the context of the need for continued diversity training in academic settings. These students will continue their professional lives in community and academic settings as educators and counselors who work with diverse individuals and families. In today's world, a strong commitment to diversity training is essential.
Susie Lamborn, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, United States