Diversity & Democracy: Civic Learning for Shared Futures
Diversity Innovations Institutional Leadership and Commitment
Diversity Digest Volume 9, Number 1

Diversity Digest
Volume 9,
Number 1

Download our print issue (PDF)
Campus-Community Connections
The Civic Work of Diversity
Educating Multicultural Community Builders: Service Learning at California State University Monterey Bay
Education for Democracy: Place Matters
In the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
Curricular Transformation
Narrative and Community: Civic Engagement and the Work of Diversity
Promoting Cross-Cultural Understanding for Students of Science and Technology
Research Shows Benefits of Linking Diversity and Civic Goals
Diversity and Civic Engagement Outcomes Ranked Among Least Important
Academic Service Learning for Effective Civic Engagement
Faculty Involvement
There Is No Substitute for Experience
Student Experience
The Personal Is Still Political: HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention
Institutional Leadership and Committment
Communicating Common Ground
Resources for Diversity and Civic Engagement
The Civic Engagement Imperative: Student Learning and the Public Good

Diversity and Civic Engagement Outcomes Ranked Among Least Important

By Debra Humphreys, vice president for communications and public affairs at AAC&U, and Abigail Davenport, vice president at Peter D. Hart Research Associates. This article is excerpted from “What Really Matters in College: How Students View and Value Liberal Education” in the Summer/Fall 2004 issue of Liberal Education.

In 2004, AAC&U commissioned a series of student focus groups. In each location, one discussion was held with public high school seniors or rising seniors who planned to pursue a baccalaureate degree, and a second discussion was held with advanced college students at both public and private colleges and universities. The focus groups
explored the students’ hopes, concerns, expectations, and goals regarding college.

Participants were asked to identify the five most critical and two least critical outcomes from a list of sixteen. Students identified global understanding, civic engagement, a sense of values and ethics, and intercultural skills and knowledge as among the least important goals for college learning.

Nearly all the students we interviewed regarded civic engagement as something that might be important to some individuals, but not as something that a college education should address. Some of the students went so far as to suggest that activities like service learning might distract from the more important work of their own individual self-development—the primary reason they gave for attending college.

For more information, see www.aacu.org/advocacy/pdfs/HartFocusGroupResearchReport.pdf.

Student Rankings
Most Important Outcomes Mid-Tier Outcomes
Least Valued Outcomes
• A sense of maturity and how to succeed on your own
• Time-management skills
• Strong work habits
• Self-discipline
• Teamwork skills and the ability to get along with and work with people different from
• Tangible business skills, and a specific expertise and knowledge in your field of focus
• Independent and critical thinking/reasoning skills
• Strong writing and oral/speaking skills
• Improved ability to
solve problems and think analytically
• Exposure to the business world
• Leadership skills
• Sense of values, principles, and ethics
• Tolerance and respect for people of other backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and lifestyles
• Competency in computer skills and software
• Expanded cultural and global awareness and
• Appreciation of your role
as a citizen and an orientation toward public service


Questions, comments, and suggestions regarding Diversity & Democracy should be directed to Kathryn Peltier Campbell at campbell@aacu.org.
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