Research in Higher Education

, Volume 56, Issue 6, pp 622–644 | Cite as

You Expect What? Students’ Perceptions as Resources in Acquiring Commitments and Capacities for Civic Engagement

  • Cassie L. Barnhardt
  • Jessica E. Sheets
  • Kira Pasquesi


This mixed-method analysis presents a model of college students’ civic commitments and capacities for community action. Quantitative findings indicate that after controlling for background characteristics, campus contexts, and college experiences, students’ acquisitions of commitments to and skills for contributing to the larger community are largely influenced by the extent to which students perceive their campus as one that advocates for its students to be active and involved citizens. Qualitative findings convey the behaviors and types of speech that students view as legitimate public advocacy by peers, faculty, and administrators. Qualitative insights also reveal the ways in which students’ exposure to campus-based public advocacy influences their civic skills, and their understandings of social responsibility.


Civic engagement Campus advocacy Student outcomes Social responsibility 



The authors are grateful to the Association of American Colleges & Universities for providing access to the Core Commitments data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cassie L. Barnhardt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jessica E. Sheets
    • 1
  • Kira Pasquesi
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.College of EducationIowa CityUSA

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