Institutions are becoming more cognizant of preparing students for global leadership through measures such as service-learning and community service. Colby and her colleagues (2003) suggest that institutions should guide students to believe that they are members of a shared social structure. Black students are a group whose civic participation has sharply declined between the 1970s and 1990s (Putnam, 2000) when 50 years ago they were one of the most active civic groups (Davis, 1993).
This exploratory study investigated the relationships between Black studentsí citizenship perspectives and independent variables such as institution type, racial identity, gender, classification, major, age, and socioeconomic status (SES). This research included a total sample of 379 Black students who attended, one of four universities. These were, according to the Carnegie classifications: (1) a large public masterís college and university I, predominantly White institution (PWI) in the South; (2) a large public masterís college and university I, historically Black institution (HBI) in the South; (3) a large public doctoral-extensive, PWI in the South; or (4) a large public doctoral-extensive, HBI in the South. Students completed two surveys, the Revised Service Experience (RSE) survey and the Black racial identity scale (B-RIAS).
This exploratory factor analysis study combined elements of citizenship related to values, knowledge, skills, efficacy, and commitment (Eyler & Giles, 1999) to create factors. After ensuring that the factors held meaning, they were used as dependent variables. The Black racial identity stages (Helms & Parham, 1985), which is the extent to which Blacks identify with other Blacks, were utilized as independent variables, along with institution type, major, age, gender, classification, and SES for subsequent regression models to explore the relationships to the citizenship factors.
Results show that seven factors underlie the RSE, while three factors underlie the B-RIAS. Regression results indicate that students who possess higher racial identity stages score significantly higher on some civic measures than those students who possessed lower racial identity attitudes. Women scored significantly higher on some civic measures than men. Students who belong to a hard-science major scored significantly lower on some civic measures than students who belonged to soft-science majors.