Presentation Title

Inclusivity of non-Christian Students at Pepperdine University

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

Inclusivity, Diversity, Religion, Study abroad, Community, Representation, Respect, Acceptance, Belonging

Department

Business Administration

Abstract

This study investigates non-Christian students at Pepperdine University, a Christian University, to further understand their experience and feeling a sense of belonging and inclusion. Informational interviews with six faculty suggested that the International Programs are a place where non-Christian students feel accepted compared to the Malibu campus where many of them experience exclusivity. We used an empirical, qualitative methodology. Currently, three-quarters of the anticipated twenty interviews are complete. Our subjects are juniors and seniors who attended an International Program for at least two months and who identify as non-Christian.Transcripts of the interviews were thematically coded with major themes identified. Preliminary results found that the International Program is a place of acceptance for these religiously diverse students. Interviewees identified student-led convocations, exposure to world religious views, and living and travelling together contributed to their feeling a sense of inclusion and belonging. In contrast, our interviewees spoke of the Malibu campus as a place of religious exclusivity because of forced convocation attendance, lack of non-Christian focused convocation opportunities, and a feeling of disrespect by many of the Christian faculty for their divergent beliefs. These findings expand the application of common diversity and inclusion theories such as Contact Theory Allport (1954), Recategorization Theory (Gaertner et al., 2011), Representation and Interaction (Weisinger & Salipante, 2005), and Integration and Learning (Thomas & Ely, 1996) to religious diversity. This research contributes to the existing knowledge of international programs and diversity and inclusion on college campuses.

Faculty Mentor

Ruth Sessler Bernstein

Presentation Session

Session D

Start Date

23-4-2021 3:15 PM

End Date

23-4-2021 3:30 PM

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 23rd, 3:15 PM Apr 23rd, 3:30 PM

Inclusivity of non-Christian Students at Pepperdine University

This study investigates non-Christian students at Pepperdine University, a Christian University, to further understand their experience and feeling a sense of belonging and inclusion. Informational interviews with six faculty suggested that the International Programs are a place where non-Christian students feel accepted compared to the Malibu campus where many of them experience exclusivity. We used an empirical, qualitative methodology. Currently, three-quarters of the anticipated twenty interviews are complete. Our subjects are juniors and seniors who attended an International Program for at least two months and who identify as non-Christian.Transcripts of the interviews were thematically coded with major themes identified. Preliminary results found that the International Program is a place of acceptance for these religiously diverse students. Interviewees identified student-led convocations, exposure to world religious views, and living and travelling together contributed to their feeling a sense of inclusion and belonging. In contrast, our interviewees spoke of the Malibu campus as a place of religious exclusivity because of forced convocation attendance, lack of non-Christian focused convocation opportunities, and a feeling of disrespect by many of the Christian faculty for their divergent beliefs. These findings expand the application of common diversity and inclusion theories such as Contact Theory Allport (1954), Recategorization Theory (Gaertner et al., 2011), Representation and Interaction (Weisinger & Salipante, 2005), and Integration and Learning (Thomas & Ely, 1996) to religious diversity. This research contributes to the existing knowledge of international programs and diversity and inclusion on college campuses.