Student Change Agents as Citizens in Contemporary Universities: Achieving the Potential of Engagement

Rebecca Ropers-Huilman, Dorian McCoy


This article presents an analysis of student change agents' roles in two university contexts, one in New Zealand and one in the southern United States.  Through interviews with 55 administrators and students, we focus on how students crafted their roles as citizens of their universities and larger communities, and how institutional processes both supported and stymied their development as civic actors.  Our analysis suggests that shifting discourses about students' relationships with their institutions are changing students' abilities to fulfill their civic potential as full members of their institutions.  We urge that administrators, faculty members, and students recognize how discursive shifts related to postsecondary education affect student engagement, and that they work together to develop multiple and clear paths for students to engage in civic action and development.

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JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing is an interdisciplinary journal of curriculum studies. It offers an academic forum for scholarly discussions of curriculum. Historically aligned with the "reconceptualist" movement in curriculum theorizing and oriented toward informing and affecting classroom practice, JCT presents compelling pieces within forms that challenge disciplinary, genre, and textual boundaries.

The journal is published by the Foundation for Curriculum Theory and is associated with the Bergamo Conference on Curriculum Theory and Classroom Practice, held in the autumn of each year. JCT is indexed in The Education Index.

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