Posts Tagged 'Research'

National Study on Student Civic Skills and Identities Seeking ADP/TDC Campus Participation

Research Question
Do campus student organizations cultivate civic skills and identities?

JOIN A NATIONAL STUDY TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION. This National Study is being organized by two ADP Campus Coordinators and political science faculty members — Elizabeth Bennion at Indiana University South Bend and Cherie Strachan at Central Michigan University.

Invitation to Participate
Minimal time commitment! Serve as campus coordinator or recruit somebody else!

TO SIGN UP OR GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CIVIC SKILLS RESEARCH PROJECT, please send the following information to Elizabeth Bennion at the project email address RSOstudy@iusb.edu: name, title, contact information (including email and phone number).

Project Description
Colleges and universities are increasingly called upon to bolster students’ civic and political engagement. Yet research in both political science and higher education suggest that current college-level civic education and political science coursework are incapable of fully addressing these concerns. Political scientists know that participation in associational life plays an important role in cultivating such engagement. Yet we have largely overlooked the potential of civil society on our own campuses. Given the prominent role of voluntary associations in political socialization, this work explores whether student organizations function as the equivalent of campus civil society, and whether they can supplement formal civic education efforts on campus. A single-campus pilot study, based on an internet survey of student organization presidents, found that traditional Greek organizations far outperformed other types of campus organizations in activities known to cultivate members’ civic identities, political skills, and political efficacy. The finding that some student organizations excel at this task is reassuring. Yet given the reputation of Greek organizations, this preliminary pattern is also disconcerting. Recent research by both sociologists and higher education scholars have found that participation in Greek organizations is associated with higher levels of sexism and symbolic racism. This project seeks to replicate the single campus pilot study across numerous college campuses, to determine whether the patterns identified are unique to a single campus, or whether they describe the state of campus civil society across higher education. The findings will help advocates of campus civic engagement to identify both problem-areas and best-practices for student groups. [NOTE: You do NOT need to have Greek organization on campus to participate in this study of registered student organizations.]

Participation Requirements | Campus coordinators for this project will be asked to:

  • Assemble contact information for student organization presidents on their campus
  • Provide assistance coordinating approval of the questionnaire/study for their campus
  • Help to bolster the response rate on their campus

Participation Benefits | Campus coordinators for this project will receive:

  • A report detailing the findings for their own campus
  • A summary report comparing their campus to overall findings
  • A letter documenting participation in the project
  • Eligibility to serve as PI of future Consortium projects

IRB Approval Notice
This study has already been approved by the Institutional Review Board at both Indiana University South Bend and Central Michigan University. The Principle Investigators of the study, Elizabeth Bennion (IUSB) and J. Cherie Strachan (CMU) will assure that all protocols are strictly observed. The recruitment procedure and student leader survey have been vetted by the Institutional Review Board of each campus in accordance with university and federal policies governing human subjects research. A copy of the IRB approval letters, or other IRB materials, is available upon request. Separate IRB approvals are NOT required for each participating campus. The requirements and approval protocols for student participation in national research studies vary by campus. However, if your campus would like you (or the PIs) to submit an IRB application, or other materials, please contact Elizabeth Bennion at the project email site RSOstudy@iusb.edu. Dr. Bennion will be pleased to assist with any IRB requests related to this study of registered student organizations.

CIRCLE’s National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement webinar today!

Friday, March 21, at 2 p.m. EST.

CIRCLE (the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement) recently received a grant to study college student voting rates.  260 universities and colleges have already signed up including 43 American Democracy Project member institutions.

The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) presents an unprecedented opportunity for your campus to learn in aggregate numbers:

  • How many of your students are eligible to register to vote
  • How many registered and/or voted, and where (locally or elsewhere)
  •  The way your students voted (regular or absentee ballot)

By participating in this study, your campus will also help build a national database for future research. CIRCLE will be working with de-identified student lists, so your students’ privacy rights are fully protected. This is not a survey!

If you are interested, you can also correlate voting with specific demographic information such as age, gender, race/ethnicity, field of study, and class level. CIRCLE has also been able to provide peer comparisons by Carnegie classification.

To join the study, you must sign up by April 10th 2014.

NSLVE is offering ADP campuses the chance to learn more about what you can do with this data and share what information you would like to know in the future. Take advantage of this opportunity and join this conversation by attending a free webinar TODAY, Friday, March 21 at 2 p.m. Eastern.

To join the webinar:

For additional specifics, go to the NSLVE page and/or contact Nancy Thomas, NSLVE director, for more information.

CIRCLE Working Paper Examines Civics, Digital Badges and Alternative Assessments

CIRCLE LogoWith support from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, CIRCLE published “New and Alternative Assessments, Digital Badges, and Civics: An Overview of Emerging Themes and Promising Directions” (March 2013) which explores digital badges and alternative assessments for civic skills, knowledge, and dispositions. This working paper also considers ePortfolios, rubrics, games, simulations, and other assessment and learning tools that might expand options for those committed to improving civic education.

States are, to a greater extent, using multiple-choice-only tests that focus primarily on memorizing information, rather than demonstrating civic skills. Furthermore, assessments focus mostly on the history and geography of the United States; far fewer states assess students in world affairs or economics. Are we preparing and assessing students to be engaged citizens?

CIRCLE explores this question and the broader landscape of alternative assessments, here, in an online presentation.

For more information, go here.


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