Preparing to Live the Institutional Mission: An Evaluation of a Pilot Program with Engaged Students

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The current study investigated how a select group of mission-engaged, upper division students (n = 7) compared to a random sample of junior- (n = 20) and senior- (n = 20) year students in their perception of an urban, Catholic, and religious-order-sponsored university’s identity. Across two years, we assessed mission identity and mission-driven activities of seven Vincentian Mission Fellows (VMF) enrolled in a pilot program for engaged junior-year students. The program blended service and community action in real-world settings beyond the university. The seven participants were surveyed at the start and end of each academic year, yielding four measurement waves. Results indicated that engagement in the VMF program refi ned student perceptions of the university mission in terms of its institutional identity as compared to stratifi ed random samples of peers at baseline (juniors) and upon completion (seniors). Such programs at Catholic colleges might facilitate lifelong commitment to creating a more socially just community through public service.

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