Developing Critical Consciousness and Social Justice Self-Efficacy: Lessons From Feminist Community Engagement Student Narratives

Angela Clark-Taylor


As community engagement continues to be institutionalized within colleges and universities, it is increasingly important that it retain its founding mission to prepare engaged citizens to address societal issues and contribute to the public good. Unfortunately, dominant models of community engagement remain charity focused and thereby reinforce social hierarchies that undermine higher education’s mission of public good. Though many studies have focused on critiquing charity-focused models of community engagement, few studies offer alternative approaches. Utilizing an intrinsic single-case-study approach, this study investigates what can be learned from the narratives of 12 students in a community engagement program that uses feminist pedagogy. The findings suggest that a feminist approach to community engagement can be a catalyst for students to develop critical consciousness and social justice self-efficacy by addressing issues of privilege and oppression in community-engaged work in ways that current community engagement models have yet to operationalize.


community engagement; service-learning; critical consciousness; social justice; self-efficacy; feminism

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