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Walden University Survey Finds Schools and Universities Play Important Role in Positive Social Change

Inspiration and motivation to engage in social change begin at a young age

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- According to Walden University's 2013 Social Change Impact Report, nearly all adults (93%, on average) agree it is important that schools provide opportunities for young people to be involved in positive social change activities. Findings also reveal that if social change engagement is modeled to and started at a young age, it may lead to more involvement in adulthood as 89% of adults, on average, agree that being involved in positive social change as a child or teenager inspires people to be involved as adults.

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Conducted online by Harris Interactive in April and May 2013, the 2013 Social Change Impact Report includes perspectives of more than 9,000 adults in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Jordan, Mexico and the United States. Walden University commissioned the third annual survey to continue to gauge the state of social change around the world and found that education in its many forms is a force for social change.

Ninety-two percent of adults, on average, agree the best way to get more people involved in positive social change is to show them how their actions can make a difference. For most social change agents—people who have ever engaged in social change (92% of adults, on average)—exposure to social change starts at home.

  • 73% of social change agents, on average, say they engage in positive social change because it is how their parents and family raised them to be.
  • 80% of social change agents, on average, say they have done something to engage in positive social change because they want to set an example for their children.

Nearly half of social change agents (45%, on average) say they were between the ages of 5 and 17 when they first did something to engage in positive social change. Many did so through school, whether it was to fulfill a class or graduation requirement or because it was part of an activity connected to their school that was not required.

  • 70% of adults who attended high school or secondary school, on average, participated in positive social change activities or volunteered while they were students in high school or secondary school.
  • 75% of adults who attended college or university, on average, participated in positive social change activities or volunteered while they were students in college or university.

"It is encouraging to see the important role educational institutions like ours play in fostering and sustaining positive social change," says Dr. Cynthia Baum, president of Walden University. "It is no longer a question of whether or not to incorporate social change initiatives into schools and curriculum; we now know it is essential to the development of future generations of social change agents."

In addition, the survey found that nearly three-quarters of adults (73%, on average) consider education to be one of the most important positive social change topics today. However, beyond being an important topic, education and knowledge are essential for the future of positive social change:

  • 88% of adults, on average, agree that if people knew more about a particular issue or cause they would be more involved in positive social change activities.
  • 83% of adults, on average, agree the biggest barrier preventing people from getting involved in positive social change is lack of knowledge.

A continuation of the 2011 and 2012 social change impact reports about the state of social change around the world, the 2013 study was designed to discover more about people who are involved in positive social change, ultimately putting a face on social change agents. Findings reveal there are six distinct types of social change agents: Ultracommitted Change-Makers, Faith-Inspired Givers, Socially Conscious Consumers, Purposeful Participants, Casual Contributors and Social Change Spectators. Each type of social change agent is unique in terms of engagement levels, motivating factors and issues of importance.

For more detailed findings from Walden's Social Change Impact Report and a quiz to discover what kind of social change agents people are, visit www.WaldenU.edu/impactreport

About the Study
Walden University first commissioned this annual survey in 2011 to discover the current state of social change around the world. Designed to provide a barometer of who is engaged in social change, what is important to them and how they work together to advance social change issues of interest now and in the future, Walden's Social Change Impact Report includes attitudes, behaviors and motivations from members of the international community.

The 2013 Social Change Impact Report was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Walden University between April 9 and May 8, 2013, among a total 9,097 adults within Brazil (1,010 adults ages 18–59), Canada (1,010 adults ages 18 and older), China (1,010 adults ages 18–60), Germany (1,013 adults ages 16 and older), India (1,008 adults ages 18–64), Jordan (1,005 adults ages 18 and older), Mexico (1,021 adults ages 18–64), and the U.S. (2,020 adults ages 18 and older). Data for each country were weighted to the general or online population within each country. The "Average Result" is the arithmetic average across the countries. This measure does not account for differences in population size and thus is not representative. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. A complete survey methodology is available upon request by contacting Jen Raider at 1-443-627-7452 or [email protected].

About Walden University 
For more than 40 years, Walden University has supported working professionals in achieving their academic goals and making a greater impact in their professions and their communities. Today, more than 50,000 students from all 50 states and more than 145 countries are pursuing their bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees online at Walden. The university provides students with an engaging educational experience that connects them with expert faculty and peers around the world. Walden is the flagship online university in the Laureate International Universities network—a global network of more than 75 campus-based and online universities in 30 countries.

Walden offers more than 75 degree programs with more than 385 specializations and concentrations. Areas of study include health sciences, counseling, human services, management, psychology, education, public health, nursing, public administration and information technology. For more information, visit www.WaldenU.edu/impactreport.   Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, www.ncahlc.org.

About Harris Interactive 
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for The Harris Poll®, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research across a wide range of industries. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing a client's research investment. Serving clients worldwide through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help our clients stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

SOURCE Walden University

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