Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Contact Information

865 Research Pkwy
Ste 450
Oklahoma City, OK 73104 - 3609
(918) 660-3276
FY 2017 National Service and Civic Engagement Research

Executive Summary

An Interprofessional Curriculum to Develop Character Strengths and Enhance Civic Engagement among University Students.

Overview. The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center -- Tulsa (OU-Tulsa) will create, implement, and analyze the impact of an interprofessional curriculum to develop character strengths and enhance civic engagement among university students. The curriculum will leverage dynamic cooperation and instruction across 10 colleges at OU-Tulsa.

Four courses (12 credit hours total) will comprise the curriculum and build on learners' character strengths to provide knowledge, tools, and skills that promote a thriving community and foster hope among its members. Courses are concurrent with primary programs of study. Courses 1 and 2 are instructional in nature and Courses 3 and 4 are experiential and involve the students participating in an apprenticeship with a community partner, identifying a challenge or issue, then developing and implementing a program to address it. OU-Tulsa will award a Certificate in Community Engagement upon completion of all four courses.

Research Questions and Evaluation Overview. The study will focus on four questions.

1. How does a sequenced curriculum of community/civic engagement enhance character strengths among graduate/professional students?

2. What character strengths are associated with high community/civic engagement as gauged by individuals experienced in community/civic engagement?

3. Do student knowledge and attitudes of community/civic engagement change after participating in a community/civic engagement curriculum?

4. How do the perceptions of the students change as a function of engaging in a community/civic engagement curriculum?

Baseline data will be collected utilizing the VIA Institute on Character Strengths inventory. Additional quantitative data will be collected throughout the research project. Qualitative analyses will also be applied to reflective writings and journaling submitted by students upon completion of specific curriculum components. The data will inform the process to address the research questions and assess specific factors that influenced community engagement among participants.

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