Shaped by Campus Culture: Intersections Between Transformative Learning, Civic Engagement, and Institutional Mission

Dennis McCunney


This ethnographic case study describes how civically engaged students understand their commitment to social change. Literature on civic engagement and service-­learning abounds, yet gaps remain in understanding how students understand and act on campus mission and culture with respect to civic engagement. Using the frameworks of transformative learning, emerging adulthood, and civic engagement, this study attempted to understand a subculture of 24 undergraduate students at a Jesuit university. Ethnographic case study methodology was used in order to understand broader context and culture within which this subculture existed. Findings help to further understand how students interact with campus mission and culture relative to civic engagement. Emic and etic themes were distilled into 10 overarching umbrella themes. Implications for future research focus on the intersection of culture, context, and civic engagement at both faith­-based and secular institutions.


culture, Jesuit, civic, engagement, activism

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