The civic development of students has always been a purpose of higher education. As access to higher education became open to a more diverse group of students the purpose and manifestation of civic engagement was re-shaped. The skills and knowledge gained from civic engagement opportunities in higher education became a means for improving social equity and addressing misguided public policies.
The commitment to the civic mission diminished as university interests grew and divergent political and philosophical ideals prevailed. As this occurred scholars noted a decline in student civic participation and social responsibility. To counteract this unwelcome change, leaders sought to reinvigorate the civic engagement for developing social responsibility. However, as strides were made in this direction, the recession of 2008 caused substantial budget cuts threatening civic engagement opportunities in higher education.
Using Critical Social Theory (CST) as a theoretical framework, the purpose of this study was to examine the impact of massive budget cuts on civic engagement opportunities at a public university. Additionally, this study sought to offer strategies to avoid or lessen the impact of the budget crisis on civic engagement opportunities.
A single case study design was used as this provided a more in-depth, robust view of the impact of budget cuts on civic engagement opportunities. This study was conducted on the campus of Mountain View State College (MVSU, pseudonym). Seventeen senior administrators, faculty, and staff were interviewed. The data collection was guided by the theoretical framework (CST) and research questions. A collection of interviews, document and records analysis, observations, and field notes, served as the primary sources. Additionally, a research log and member checking were employed to enhance trustworthiness.
A finding from this study noted that choices made by decisions makers at MVSU to mitigate the budget crisis jeopardized the sustainability of civic engagement practices for social justice. Recommendations are provided for policy and practice, sustaining civic engagement efforts during fiscal turmoil, and further research.
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 51/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Political science|
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