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Citizenship: How do leaders in universities think about and experience citizenship?

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This presentation explores the concept of citizenship based on the experience of student leaders from a mid-sized university in western Canada. Five student leaders participated in semi-structured individual interviews to explore their experience with, and understanding of, citizenship. Interviews concentrated on personal view points and definitions of citizenship, explored whether or not there are “good” and “great” citizens, and the role universities play in fostering strong citizenship amongst its student body. The measurement of citizenship and opportunities to foster citizenship were also explored. Qualitative content analysis revealed five themes, including political participation, social citizenship/solidarity, engagement, transformative action and autonomy. Citizenship, while highly valued by this population, also appears to be impossible to measure. If post-secondary institutions are aiming to create better citizens, more work needs to be done to create a common understanding of the intended outcome. Based on these findings, a new potential model of citizenship is proposed, in line with the work of Dalton and others who emphasize a shift towards personal involvement over traditional political engagement. Further, these results suggest that students could benefit from understanding themselves as political agents, capable of inculcating change within the university context and beyond.

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Citizenship: How do leaders in universities think about and experience citizenship?

  1. 1. 1 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY Citizenship How do leaders in universities think about and experience citizenship?
  2. 2. 2 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY INTRODUCTION This article explores the concept of citizenship based on the experience of student leaders from a mid-sized university in western Canada.
  3. 3. 3 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY Theories of Citizenship Background and Context Qualitative Study Design OVERVIEW Results Implications Next Steps
  4. 4. 4 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY Who are we? We actually don’t look like this … Janet Miller Chair & Associate Professor, Dept. Student Counselling, Mount Royal University Randy Connolly Professor Dept. Math and Computing, Mount Royal University Famira Racy Research Assistant & Recent Graduate of Mount Royal University
  5. 5. 5 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY 1. BACKGROUND CONTEXT+
  6. 6. 6 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY OUR AIM Explore the concept of “citizenship” in the university context, add to the dialogue about higher education and its role for creating or fostering citizenship, and stimulate conversation about active citizenship amongst our student body.
  7. 7. 7 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY
  8. 8. 8 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY
  9. 9. 9 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY
  10. 10. 10 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY 2. THEORIES CITIZENSHIPof
  11. 11. 11 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY WHAT IS CITIZENSHIP? Classic formulation is that citizenship refers to society’s shared set of expectations about an individual’s role in politics.
  12. 12. 12 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY Citizenship expectations Following Dalton [2008] Public Participation Knowledge About Government Commitment to Order Moral Respect
  13. 13. 13 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY
  14. 14. 14 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY IN CONTRAST Others have argued that citizenship is not in decline but rather is changing its form. For instance, Dalton [2008] argues that there are two types of citizenship: the first is duty-based (and corresponds to traditional forms of political participation), while the second is engagement-based, and involves more generalized activities in civil society, such as signing petitions, visiting political web sites, or boycotting goods or services for political reasons.
  15. 15. 15 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY Collective Global Individual Hyper-Local Thurston, 2013
  16. 16. 16 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY 3. STUDY DESIGN
  17. 17. 17 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY It is the experience of citizenship, the development of citizens, the measure of citizenship and the meaning of being “good” or “great” citizen that is of interest in this study.
  18. 18. 18 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY Methodology the theory and practice of interpretation Hermeneutics seek to understand how the participants interpret the world; emphasis on understanding their social reality. Interpretive Inquiry semi-structured telling of stories and experiences Individual Interviews
  19. 19. 19 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY SAMPLE QUESTIONS What does citizenship mean to you? Share some experiences you've had that reflect citizenship. What's the difference between a "good" and a "great citizen"? How might students/faculty/admin show "great" citizenship?
  20. 20. 20 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY MORE QUESTIONS What role does university play in creating "great citizens"? How might the citizenship of our student alumni be measured? What could MRU do to create "better citizens"?
  21. 21. 21 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY
  22. 22. 22 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY 4. RESULTS
  23. 23. 23 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY COLLECTIVE GOVERNANCE IT’S A RELATIONSHIP WITHIN A COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERISM RESPONSIBILITY
  24. 24. 24 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY CHALLENGES GOVERNANCE FOSTERS CRITICAL THINKING DEMONSTRATES CARING AND ROLE MODELS ENCOURAGES INVOLVEMENT
  25. 25. 25 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY ENCOURAGES INVOLVEMENT FOSTERS CRITICAL THINKING ROLE MODELING HELP OTHERS
  26. 26. 26 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY TIME IS GREATER THAN MONEY GENUINE VOLUNTEERISM IT IS PERSONAL OVER AND ABOVE DUTY
  27. 27. 27 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY Involvement Record Measure MEASURE CAN WE • Co-curricular record? • Pre-post measurement? • Difference in amount? • Difference in kind? • Involvement in community? • Involvement on campus? POSSIBILITIES: CITIZENSHIP
  28. 28. 28 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY
  29. 29. 29 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY Engaged Global Duty Hyper-Local Thurston, 2013 Dalton, 2008 admin students
  30. 30. 30 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY 5. IMPLICATIONS
  31. 31. 31 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY PERSPECTIVECITIZENSHIP Students AdminStudents
  32. 32. 32 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY 6. NEXT STEPS
  33. 33. 33 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY FUTUREPLANS Students AdminStudents Faculty
  34. 34. 34 Citizenship MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY YOUTHANK Famira Racy famiraracy@gmail.com Janet Miller jbmiller@mtroyal.ca Randy Connolly rconnolly@mtroyal.ca

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