First Advisor

Jennifer Allen

Term of Graduation

Spring 2020

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Affairs and Policy


Public Affairs and Policy




Service learning, Holism



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 325 pages)


A healthy democracy requires active civic engagement. Effective civic involvement can be encouraged by education that helps students learn to respect diverging viewpoints and build skills such as critical thinking about policy frameworks. In higher education, we have seen progress in teaching for civic engagement despite pressures to focus narrowly on career preparation. However, it is important to build on this work in two ways. First, the noncognitive and holistic dimensions of civic engagement have not been thoroughly considered in designing civic education. Second, the field could reach its goals more effectively by adopting teaching strategies that directly help students ameliorate and resolve what hinders their engagement.

This study contributes to these two areas by presenting a new model that accounts for the holistic nature of civic engagement and a curricular tool to help students transform the assumptions and mindsets that undermine their attempts to engage. The Model of Holistic Civic Engagement Education and re-engagement tool were developed out of a synthesis of literature from an array of disciplines including Indigenous knowledge. This dissertation presents the findings from an action research study in which the Model and tool were implemented in two undergraduate courses. Findings suggest that the re-engagement tool, applied through specific narrative essay assignments, holds promise as a means for increasing civic engagement capacity. Findings also suggest that the Model can be a useful approach for course design, and that further study should be undertaken to reveal more about its applicability to educational and civic settings.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier