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ERIC Number: ED553075
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 361
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3030-3783-2
The "Moral Minority" Meets Social Justice: A Case Study of an Evangelical Christian Urban Immersion Program and Its Influence on the Post-College Civic Engagement of Asian American College Students
Lew, Jonathan W.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Claremont Graduate University
Asian Americans, as a group, are not as civically engaged as might be expected given their rapid growth in population and high average levels of education and income. The undergraduate years are a critical period in which this "civic engagement gap" could be addressed given the dramatic growth in Asian American college students and higher education's historical mission to develop responsible citizens. Evangelical Christian campus ministries are well-positioned to influence the civic engagement of Asian American students, who have been flocking to these religious groups in large numbers. One way that evangelical campus ministries address civic engagement is through "urban immersion programs" that place college students in inner-city contexts where they live and volunteer for a period of time and learn firsthand about issues of poverty and race. In this study I examined one such program, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's Los Angeles Urban Project (LAUP), to determine how it has influenced the post-college civic engagement of its Asian American graduates. Using qualitative case study methodology, I interviewed 40 Asian American alumni and three directors of LAUP, analyzed websites and documents, and observed an alumni event. To guide my study I adapted Weidman's (1989) conceptual model of undergraduate socialization to locate LAUP among other potential factors that could influence civic engagement outcomes. Most study participants described the profound ways that their LAUP experiences shaped their understanding of social justice, concern for the poor, and involvement in urban communities after college. For example, a third of participants chose to move to low-income neighborhoods after graduating to volunteer with churches or faith-based organizations there. However, LAUP seemed to have very little impact on participants' generally low levels of interest or involvement in political forms of civic engagement like donating to candidates, volunteering for political campaigns, or contacting newspapers to express their opinions on issues. I conclude by suggesting ways that higher education leaders can learn from and incorporate the socialization methods used by LAUP in their curricular and co-curricular programs, taking into account race, ethnicity, and religion as factors that can either help or hinder civic engagement. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California