Date of Presentation


Name of Conference

National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Date of Conference


Location of Conference

Lewisville, Kentucky

Document Type

Conference Presentation


School of Education, Leadership, and Public Service


A Midwestern university’s annual diversity conference hosts about 1,500 attendees from a campus of 9,000 students. Using a successive independent samples design, a series of cross-sectional surveys were conducted to answer the research question, how does a presenter’s race, gender, and ability/disability affect participant responses on conference evaluations. A review of the literature has determined that our research represents the largest and longest empirical study of a higher education diversity conference in the United States. The research is a comparative study of evaluation trends of conference attendees toward diversity conference presenters based on race, gender, and disability over eight years from 2006 to 2013. Ten evaluation items provided qualitative and quantitative data on topics of quality, likes best, shortcomings, meets expectations, and level of appropriateness. Over 4000 evaluations were analyzed over an 8-year period, resulting in a 33% evaluation response rate. Content analysis of evaluation data revealed underlying themes in attendees’ general comments. Threats to validity are discussed. Statistical analyzes include descriptive statistics, Chi-square, and regression analyses of contrasting trends in conference attendees’ evaluations. A trends analysis of diversity conference evaluations articulates the reality that in modern societies, humans may occupy a number of social groups in the same social/political public space, but the perceived diversity of individuals and social groups result in differences in evaluations of quality and performance.