Understanding How Liberal Arts Experiences Influence Well-Being and Civic Engagement


AVDF/ACLS Fellowships for Research on the Liberal Arts


Education Sciences and Psychology


Students today are questioning their role in society, struggling to find purpose, and meaning amidst an increasingly digitized and polarized world. If not resolved, these challenges lead to poor psychological well-being, and greatly limit one's capacity for civic engagement. This situation threatens large-scale democratic engagement and societal flourishing on which liberal values depend upon. While liberal arts experiences are posited to support this kind of development, scant empirical evidence exists on the value of liberal arts education. This project will address these looming questions about the value of liberal arts education by conducting rigorous evaluations of the causal effects of liberal arts experiences on measures of well-being and civic engagement. Students are exposed to a variety of settings and contexts in college, however; two prominent and understudied liberal arts experiences are course-taking breadth and participation in extracurricular activities across various dimensions of well-being and civic engagement for alumni followed a decade after graduating from college.