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Institutional Diversity in the U.S.: A Study of How a Historically Black College, Women's College, and Evangelical Christian College Contribute to the Social, Political, and Economic Fabric of a Diverse Democracy


This study was primarily a multiple-case study that incorporated descriptive statistical analysis to examine the contributions that three niche institutions play in the diverse democracy of the U.S. A niche institution is a college or university whose role in U.S. higher education is to meet the needs of a specific group and whose resources are influenced by perceptions of the institution's relevance by specific populations and interest groups, state and federal governments, and others who are in a position to influence the allocation of resources. Findings for each case study are discussed in detail by institution, and then a comparison of findings across the three institutions were categorized by four themes: 1) niche institutions' role in the higher education marketplace, 2) niche institutions as social selves, 3) community engagement and outreach, and 4) niche institutions' potential for promoting substantive citizenship in a diverse democracy. Implications for institutional leaders, policymakers, and scholars are also discussed.

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