Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Elizabeth Allan

Second Committee Member

Suzanne Estler

Third Committee Member

Susan Gardner


Many colleges and universities have established student learning outcomes for diversity education as a part of their broad undergraduate education program. These education goals, developed for assessment purposes or other policies, reflect a range of possible diversity and multicultural learning purposes. The emphasis on some purposes, and the language used to articulate those purposes, potentially focuses or constrains practice. Using a policy discourse analysis methodology, I explore the articulated diversity education goals and the discourses and subject positions they advance. In particular, I consider the institution-wide diversity education goals established at 50 public liberal arts colleges and universities across the United States. I present evidence that dominant discourses of Market and Harmony, weakly countered by alternative discourses of social change, conflict, and disciplinary challenge, produce a limited range of available policy themes and subject positions. I argue that the dominant discourses constrain understandings of the opportunity for diversity education, and they potentially narrow the educational practices available, with impacts especially on the subject positions accessible to students.