The Longitudinal Connections Between Undergraduate High Impact Curriculum Practices and Civic Engagement in Adulthood


Carrie B. Myers, Scott M. Myers, Martha Peters


Research in Higher Education


There is concern that civic engagement in the U.S. has declined recently especially among the younger generations. It is known that one of the strongest predictors of civic engagement is education level, where those with at least a college degree typically have the highest levels of civic engagement. There is also emerging evidence that college curriculum experiences have the potential to instill pro-civic dispositions. In this study, we improved on and advanced past research that examined the associations between undergraduate curriculum experiences and civic engagement. We used cohort and longitudinal data from the 2002–2012 Education Longitudinal Study to test whether experiences in six different high impact practices (HIP) as well as in the number of HIP predicted levels of civic engagement later in adulthood. Based on a series of binomial regression analyses, we found that experiences in HIP significantly predicted higher levels of civic engagement later in adulthood, especially for students who entered college with low levels of pro-civic orientations. Some of these longitudinal relationships were adjusted downward after controlling for precollege selection factors, other college experiences, and other adult outcomes. Still, the significant influence of these undergraduate HIP experiences persisted into adulthood suggesting that individuals carry their curriculum involvements into their post-college transitions including that of being engaged in their communities.



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