Exploring the Impact of Ethnic Studies Course on College Students’ Cultural Intelligence and Self-efficacy


Across 23 campuses of California State University (CSU), students are required to take a 3-unit General Education (GE) course in Ethnic Studies as a part of their baccalaureate degree - starting in fall 2021 (The California State University, 2021). Ethnic Studies courses often discuss the four racialized ethnic groups in the US, including Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, and Latino/Latina Americans. This GE requirement aims to enrich students’ understanding on racial and social issues as well as enhance students’ ability to critically analyze racial and social justice experienced by the four racial groups. In order to better understand the potential impact of this administration of Ethnic Studies course within CSU campuses, this study explores the influence of Ethnic Studies course on students’ cultural intelligence (CQ) and self-efficacy. An online survey was conducted (IRB approved) using previously validated measures. A total of 461 usable college students’ responses (Age mean: 22.50 years old, Caucasian: 25.8%, African American: 24.9%, Asian American: 25.8%, Latino/Latina American: 24.7%) were collected via Qualtrics panel data (s. Among 461 participants, 260 participants took at least one Ethnic Studies course while the others did not. SPSS and Smart-PLS were used to test the relationships among constructs and to compare the results between the two student groups. The results confirmed the important role of Ethnic Studies courses in students’ CQ and self-efficacy. Specifically, participants who took ethnic courses demonstrated statistically significantly higher CQ in its all four sub-dimensions, metacognitive CQ, cognitive CQ, motivational CQ, and behavioral CQ.

Author Information
Seoha Min, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, United States
Claire Whang, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, United States
Jooyoung Shin, Indiana University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: IICE2023
Stream: Educational Research

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon