In this article, Uma Jayakumar investigates the relationship between white individuals’ exposure to racial diversity during college and their postcollege cross-cultural workforce competencies. Using survey data from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, housed in the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, the author uses structural equation modeling to show that for whites from both segregated and diverse precollege neighborhoods, their postcollege leadership skills and level of pluralistic orientation are either directly or indirectly related to the structural diversity and racial climate of their postsecondary institutions, as well as their level of cross-racial interaction during the college years. The author concludes that postsecondary institutions may provide lasting benefits to white students by promoting a positive racial climate for a racially diverse student body. These findings support the theory put forth by Gurin, Dey, Hurtado, and Gurin (2002) for explaining the benefits of racial diversity at the postsecondary level.
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Uma M. Jayakumar
is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in higher education and organizational change at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her scholarship examines access and equity issues for students and faculty of color, with a focus on how higher education organizations shape individual behavior and experiences, and the impact of racial diversity and campus climate on student and societal outcomes relevant to an increasingly global society.