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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

First Advisor

Elizabeth Lugg


Abstract: Implicit bias in college judicial systems

Race matters in the American criminal justice system. Outcomes for black defendants are far worse than white defendants accused of similar crimes (Banks, Eberhardt, & Ross, 2006). This system, however flawed, is foundational to college and university due process procedures. In this study the findings demonstrated that implicit biases held by student conduct professionals exists at similar levels to those found in the general public. Furthermore, at times this bias was expressed in the decisions they made in sample judicial cases. Finally, the findings demonstrated that the expressions of association were reduced by exposing the participants to evidence of their own implicit bias before decisions were made. The study involved 175 college student conduct practitioners drawn from around the country. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) (Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998) was used to reveal participants' implicit bias. The researcher chose to use the IAT because it is a strong reaction-time instrument used to assess bias that is automatically activated, in this case, by race. The researcher theorized that the IAT performance feedback would expose individuals to discrepancies between their conscious values and their unconscious bias, motivating them to make attempts to reduce the effect of the implicit bias. This study offers evidence regarding three primary hypotheses: (1) student conduct professionals who participated in the study harbor implicit bias related to race similar to that of the general public, and (2) a significant correlation exists between the degree of bias and the decisions made in some of the sample cases, and (3) IAT performance feedback motivated discrepancy reduction in judicial sanctioning in the sample cases. The implications for college student conduct research are also considered and recommendations for improvement are offered.


Imported from ProQuest Stallman_ilstu_0092E_10538.pdf


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