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Dissertation Overviews

Vol. 17 No. 1

Pedagogical Catalysts of Civic Competence: The Development of a Critical Epistemological Model for Community-Based Learning

March 7, 2013


Democratic problem-solving necessitates an active and informed citizenry, but existing research on service-learning has shed little light on the relationship between pedagogical practices and civic competence outcomes. This study developed and tested a model to represent that relationship and identified pedagogical catalysts of civic competence using five years of survey data from over 10,000 students in approximately 700 courses. The results strongly substantiate the proposed model, with knowledge, skills, attitudes, and actions as epistemological components of civic competence. Most importantly for the social justice aims of service-learning, the study found that diversity significantly enhances all civic competence outcomes. Finally, the results demonstrated that service must be thoroughly integrated into a course through the syllabus and community partnership to maximize civic competence. These findings and the new Critical Pedagogy Model of Civic Competence through Service-Learning provide direction for faculty development and future research related to cultivating competent citizens through service-learning.