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ERIC Number: EJ791168
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 4
ISSN: ISSN-1041-6099
Civic Engagement Assessment: Linking Activities to Attitudes
Terkla, Dawn Geronimo; O'Leary, Lisa S.; Wilson, Nancy E.; Diaz, Ande
Assessment Update, v19 n3 p1-2, 14-16 May-Jun 2007
Recently, higher education has witnessed a renewed commitment to the mission of preparing students for lives of active citizenship. Under the leadership of President Lawrence S. Bacow, Tufts University (Medford, Massachusetts) has articulated an institutional mission that embraces three areas of focus: active citizenship, internationalism, and life sciences and the environment. The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service (Tisch College) was established in 2000 to facilitate and support a wide range of programs that build faculty and student knowledge, skills, and values in civic engagement. To evaluate these efforts, the Office of Institutional Research and Evaluation conducts annual surveys that, among other things, assess student, faculty, and alumni participation in civic engagement. Questions on students' involvement in civic engagement activities and their attitudes toward such activities have been incorporated into standard outcomes assessment instruments, including the New Student Survey, the Sophomore Experience and First Year Engineering Advising Surveys, and the Tufts Senior Survey. In addition, items designed to capture the number of hours and in what ways alumni are contributing to their community have been added to the graduate and professional schools' alumni surveys. Students' attitudes toward the importance of civic engagement are measured on five factors: (1) value and commitment to the public good; (2) personal efficacy through community service; (3) personal efficacy through politics; (4) appreciation of dynamics of diversity; and (5) awareness of and interest in community and national issues. Students' behaviors that exhibit their dedication to civic engagement are scaled according to the number of hours they spend participating in community service activities, civic actions, and political actions. Preliminary survey results suggest that students' involvement in particular activities affects their attitudes toward their self-efficacy, the value of commitment to the public good, and levels of community and national knowledge. These initial results suggest that involvement in civic engagement activities can affect students' civic and political attitudes, a finding that could substantiate the need for institutions of higher education to promote these types of activities. These findings, which already allude to a link between students' engagement in activities and their adoption of positive civic engagement attitudes, will help Tufts and other universities shape and direct programs that enhance student commitment to civically engaged lives.
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts