Higher Education Websites: The “Virtual Face” of Diversity

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Abstract

This research investigated the availability of 15 data and/or services of interest to minority students through an analysis of the websites of 40 higher education institutions; 10 each from doctoral/research, master's, baccalaureate, and community colleges drawn from 40 different states. This descriptive study answered 3 research questions: (a) How available is information or services of interest to prospective African American and Hispanic students on higher education websites? (b) When information or services are available, how far are they from the home page? (c) How consistent is the presentation of minorities on the website with the actual proportion of minority students at institutions? Findings indicate that 51% of the information or services were missing and statistically significant differences were found in missing information by the institution's Carnegie classification. However, 11 of 15 services or information investigated were relatively easy to locate. An analysis of minority students in rotating photos on the home page revealed that 78% of institutions used photos that overrepresented the percentage of minorities at the institution.

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