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Equity & Excellence in Education








This cross-sectional, repeated measures, quasi-experimental study evaluates changes in college stu- dents’ commitment toward, and confidence in, political participation, civic engagement, and multi- cultural activism. Our sample (n = 653) consisted of college students in a Midwestern university who participated in one of three social justice education course types (service learning, intergroup dialogue, or lecture-based diversity classes) or in an “introduction to psychology” course (the non-intervention group). After completion of a social justice education course, students reported an increase in politi- cal participation and multicultural activism, whereas students enrolled in the non-intervention group reported no changes in these measures. Service learning course participants started and ended their course with the highest reported levels of political participation, civic engagement, and multicultural activism but did not demonstrate an increase in any of the three outcomes. Intergroup dialogue par- ticipants demonstrated increases in all three outcomes, while participants of lecture-based classes focusing on social justice issues demonstrated increases in political participation and multicultural activism, but not civic engagement. Our findings suggest that participation in social justice education courses is associated with increases in political participation and multicultural activism.


Author Posting © University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Education, 2015. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Taylor & Francis for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Equity & Excellence in Education, Vol. 48, Iss. 3, August, 2015.

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