The political disengagement of youth in this country is a serious concern for those in higher education. Although many initiatives have been launched in recent years to address this situation, many have missed the opportunity to equip students with the political skills necessary for meaningful participation in our democracy. This article details the results of a study designed to assess the effects of participation in a Social Issues Fair (SIF) on students’ perceived relevance of the SIF, individual efficacy, political understanding, political deliberation skills, and strategic action skills. In addition, the study sought to explore differences in the dependent variables by participant sex. Findings demonstrated no significant differences between presenters and audience members who participated in the SIF; however, there were significant differences by sex. Specifically, women in the sample reported significantly higher means on the relevance, efficacy, and political deliberation skills measures. Finally, significant, positive correlations were found between perceived relevance of participation in the SIF and all of the political engagement learning outcomes. Overall, findings indicate that the pedagogy of political engagement can play a vital role in general education programs as a means of educating students for democracy.


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pp. 54-74
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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