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Educating tomorrow’s reformists: factors affecting the development of undergraduates’ social progressivism

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Researchers have unpacked the ways in which students participate in democracy through voting and other forms of civic engagement. However, very little empirical work has delved into how students develop socially progressive values, despite their unprecedented importance to young people during their years in higher education. Rooted in a rich historical context of campus demonstration spanning the past 75 years and current events in the United States, this inspection of college students’ social progressivism was grounded by Pascarella’s model of students’ learning and cognitive development, and uses OLS (ordinary least squares) regression to investigate the phenomenon. Analyzing data collected by the Cooperative and Institutional Research Program from 159 institutions across the United States, this study explored the predictive capacity of students’ interaction with influential agents of socialization and other variables central to undergraduates’ college experiences. Results indicate that socially progressive students tended to interact more with faculty outside of office hours and had a higher cumulative GPA. Additional findings and implications are discussed.
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Keywords: Social progressivism; civic engagement; political identity; student development; undergraduates’ social views

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, University of Saint Katherine, San Marcos, CA, USA 2: Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA 3: Department of Environmental and Ocean Sciences, University of San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA

Publication date: November 2, 2018

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