Tertiary Education and Management

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 215–228 | Cite as

Civic effects of higher education in Russia: religiosity, social capital and the ‘pure teaching effect’ of educational programmes

  • Elena Melkumyan
  • Ivan PavlyutkinEmail author
  • Elena Prutskova


Higher education is valued as one of the main sources of civic participation and social benefit. In spite of the significant growth in the number of students over the last 20 years, Russia is still considered to be a country with a low level of civic engagement. Our study aims to respond to this contradictory standing and to explain the causes of student civic engagement. The survey conducted in 10 state universities has shown a difference in civic engagement index values among students from 4 educational programmes. The results of linear regression models have shown that, in addition to the ‘pure teaching effect’, such factors as religiosity and social capital influence student civic engagement.


student experience civic engagement social capital religiosity teaching effect 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Almond, G., & Verba, S. (1963). The civic culture: Political attitudes and democracy in five nations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrushchak, G., & Prudnikova, A. (2012). Gde luchshe uchitsya: differentsiatsiya zarabotkov vypusknikov vuzov [The best universities to study in: Differentiation of graduates’ salaries]. Vestnik Rossiyskogo Monitoringa Ekonomicheskogo Polozheniya i Zdorovya Naseleniya NIU VShE, 2, 129–136.Google Scholar
  3. Astin, A. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Development, 25, 297–308.Google Scholar
  4. Brehm, J., & Rahn, W. (1997). Individual-level evidence for the causes and consequences of social capital. American Journal of Political Science, 41, 999–1023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brennan, J., King, R., & Lebeau, Y. (2004). The role of universities in the transformation of societies. London: Association of Commonwealth Universities and Centre for Higher Education Research and Information.Google Scholar
  6. Brown, P. (1992). Education, the free market and post-communist reconstruction. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 13, 285–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burns, N., Schlozman, K. L., & Verba, S. (2001). The private roots of public action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Calhoun, C. (2006). The university and the public good. Thesis Eleven, 84, 7–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Campbell, D. E. (2006). What is education’s impact on civic and social engagement? Measuring the effects of education on health and civic engagement. Proceedings of the Copenhagen Symposium. Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation. Retrieved from Scholar
  10. Claibourn, M. P., & Martin, P. S. (2000). Trusting and joining? An empirical test of the reciprocal nature of social capital. Political Behavior, 22, 267–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Coates, H. (2006). Student engagement in campus-based and online education: University connections. London: Taylor and Francis.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Culum, B., Roncevic, N., & Ledic, J. (2013). Facing new expectations — Integration of Third Mission activities into the university. In B. M. Kehm & U. Teichler (Eds.), The academic profession in Europe: New tasks and new challenges (pp. 163–195). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Durkheim, E. (1964). The elementary forms of the religious life. London: George Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  14. Glock, Ch. Y. (1962). On the study of religious commitment. Religious Education, 57, 98–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Glock, Ch. Y., & Stark, R. (1968). American piety: The nature of religious commitment. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  16. Hare, P., & Lugachev, M. (1999). Higher education in transition to a market economy: Two case studies. Europe-Asia Studies, 51, 101–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Healy, T. (2005). In each other’s shadow: What has been the impact of human and social capital on life satisfaction in Ireland? (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). National University of Ireland, Galway. Retrieved from Scholar
  18. Hill, J. P., & den Dulk, K. R. (2013). Religion, volunteering, and educational setting: The effect of youth schooling type on civic engagement. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 52, 179–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hill, R. C., & Hood, Jr., R. W. (1999). Measures of religiosity. Birmingham, AL: Religious Education Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hout, M. (2012). Social and economic returns to college education in the United States. Annual Review of Sociology, 38, 379–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Inglehart, R., & Norris, P. (2004). Sacred and secular: Religion and politics worldwide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Ishitani, T. T., & McKitrick, S. A. (2013). The effects of academic programs and institutional characteristics on postgraduate civic engagement behavior. Journal of College Student Development, 54, 379–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jacob, P. (1957). Changing values in college: An exploratory study of the impact of college teaching. New York, NY: Harper and Brothers.Google Scholar
  24. Johnstone, D. B. (2004). The economics and politics of cost sharing in higher education: Comparative perspectives. Economics of Education Review, 23, 403–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jongbloed, B., Enders, J., & Salerno, C. (2008). Higher education and its communities: Interconnections, interdependencies and a research agenda. Higher Education, 56, 303–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kamens, D. H. (1971). The college “charter” and college size: Effects on occupational choice and college attrition. Sociology of Education, 44, 270–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kelley, J., & de Graaf, N. D. (1997). National context, parental socialization, and religious belief: Results from 15 nations. American Sociological Review, 62, 639–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lin, N. (1999). Building a network theory of social capital. Connections, 22, 28–51.Google Scholar
  29. Maloshonok, N. G. (2014). Studencheskaia vovlechennost’ v uchebnyi protsess: Metodologiia issledovaniia i protsedura izmereniia [Student involvement in the educational process: Research methodology and measurement procedure]. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniia, 3, 141–147.Google Scholar
  30. Mann, S. J. (2001). Alternative perspectives on the student experience: Alienation and engagement. Studies in Higher Education, 26, 7–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Marginson, S. (2011). Higher education and public good. Higher Education Quarterly, 65, 411–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McMahon, W. (2009). Higher learning, greater good: The private and social benefits of higher education. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University.Google Scholar
  33. Mueller, T., de Graaf, N., & Schmidt, P. (2011, August 20–23). Religious socialization in a religious diverse context: A network explanation tested with 41 nations. Paper presented at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Las Vegas.Google Scholar
  34. Newmann, F. (1992). Student engagement and achievement in American secondary schools. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  35. Norenzayan, A., & Shariff, A. F. (2008). The origin and evolution of religious prosociality. Science, 322, 58–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement). (2014, January). From benchmarks to engagement indicators and high-impact practices. Retrieved from Scholar
  37. Nussbaum, M. C. (2010). Not for profit: Why democracy needs the humanities. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  38. OECD Better Life Index. (2012). Retrieved from
  39. Portes, A. (1998). Social capital: Its origins and application in modern sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York, NY: Simon and Shuster Paperbacks.Google Scholar
  41. Putnam, R. D. (2007). Education and social capital. Eastern Economic Journal, 33(1), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ruiter, S., & De Graaf, N. D. (2006). National context, religiosity, and volunteering: Results from 53 countries. American Sociological Review, 71, 191–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Saroglou, V., Delpierre, V., & Dernelle, R. (2004). Values and religiosity: A meta-analysis of studies using Schwartz’s model. Personality and Individual Differences, 37, 721–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Slaughter, S., & Leslie, L. L. (1997). Academic capitalism: Politics, policies, and the entrepreneurial university. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Tinto, V. (1975). Dropout from higher education: A theoretical synthesis of recent research. Review of Educational Research, 45, 89–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Verba, S., & Nie, N. H. (1972). Participation in America: Political democracy and social equality. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  47. Verba, S., Schlozman, K. L., & Brady, H. E. (1995). Voice and equality: Civic voluntarism in American politics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Weber, M. (1992 [1904/5]). The Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  49. Woolcock, M. (2011). Civil society and social capital. In M. Edwards (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of civil society (pp. 1–9). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Yakobson, L. I., Mersiyanova, I. V., Kononykhina, O., Benevolenski, V., Pamfilova, E., & Proskuryakova, L. N. (2011). Civil society in modernising Russia (Analytical report). Moscow: Higher School of Economics. Retrieved from Scholar

Copyright information

© The European Higher Education Society 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena Melkumyan
    • 1
  • Ivan Pavlyutkin
    • 2
    Email author
  • Elena Prutskova
    • 1
  1. 1.Sociology of Religion Research LaboratorySt. Tikhon’s Orthodox UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Department of Economic SociologyHigher School of EconomicsMoscowRussia

Personalised recommendations