Michigan Student Study to offer unique analysis of undergrads


The Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives has developed a unique treasure trove of data on U-M undergraduate student opinions and experiences on campus, especially with regard to race and the climate of inclusion.

These data are the product of the Michigan Student Study, a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative longitudinal plunge into the lives of Michigan students.

MSS began with a survey of the graduating class of 1994, followed by a second iteration with the graduating class of 2004. The study’s third decade will launch the week of Feb. 10, when members of the graduating class of 2014 receive an invitation to contribute their insight and experiences.

“We hope faculty and staff will encourage the 2014 seniors to participate. This is a propitious moment in U-M’s history to capture their input,” said MSS principal investigator Katrina Wade-Golden.

“This year’s study will make a significant contribution to the university’s understanding of our students’ experiences and the climate and inclusion issues we are witnessing on campus in recent years.”

MSS captures student attitudes, perceptions and experiences with diversity — including but not limited to race — as well as their experiences with the general educational enterprise and learning outcomes at Michigan.

It spans topics from pre-college diversity experiences to satisfaction with the academic and social spheres at U-M; peer interactions and friendships; perceptions of interracial tension; personal and political attitudes; involvement in student organizations and leadership opportunities; faculty interaction and mentoring relationships; and perceptions of the classroom climate.

Early MSS data reside at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research repository at the Institute of Social Research, where they are available to all scholars, here and around the country.

“MSS data have been used to support faculty and graduate student scholarship, to inform the development of diversity programs available to all students at all levels of the university, and to provide the knowledge we need to make wise decisions for our community of scholars through the 21st century,” said Wade-Golden, OAMI assistant director for research and assessment.

“Our findings help engage the national discourse on how to develop, implement, and evaluate institutional diversity efforts in higher education.

“MSS data bolstered the university’s successful arguments on the benefits of diversity in the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court affirmative action admissions cases Gratz v. Bollinger, which addressed undergraduate admissions, and Grutter v. Bollinger, which pertained to Law School admissions.”



  1. John Burkhardt
    on February 3, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    This study constitutes a very important, long term investment in the University’s efforts to understand and improve the climate for student success on our campus. Of course it only serves its purpose if graduating students participate and I hope we can encourage that in as many ways as possible. Thanks and great respect are due to the research team and our colleagues at OAMI.

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