Engagement Multiplied: The Impact of Dialogue across Difference in Fostering Civic Mindedness and Civic Identity as Professionals

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Originally Published In

Paper presented at The 25th Annual Jon C. Dalton Institute on College Student Values, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.


Service-learning programs seek to engage students in meaningful learning experiences that help students become civic-minded and engaged citizens who will respond to injustice and seek to meet communities’ needs. Although studies have demonstrated a link between service-learning activities and learning outcomes, few studies have observed the connection between widely-accepted pedagogical techniques and civic engagement as adults. Practical problems raised in service site settings can challenge students’ notions of fairness and the public good within the context of their budding professional lives (Schon, 1983; Sullivan & Rosin, 2008). Service learning experiences can assist in discerning one’s career and preparing one for the challenges of doing work on behalf of the common good, including facing the challenges of righting inequities. Civic-minded professionals likely are those who connect their professional identity with a call for community service and a responsibility to use one’s expertise and skill for the public good (Hatcher, 2008). The results confirm that the outcomes of civic engagement and dialogue produce deep and lasting consequences in the lives of students long after they leave college and become active in their careers and in their communities.

Learning outcomes:

  • gain insight into doing alumni research, options for use of preexisting survey tools, and ideas for data analysis
  • gain knowledge about the long-term impact of a 4-year service learning experience and what the factors were most associated with attitudes and values of civic minded professionals