GSE Publications

Leading Grassroots Change in the Academy: Strategic and Ideological Adaptation in the Civic Engagement Movement

Matthew Hartley, Graduate School of Education

Document Type Journal Article


This article examines the challenges and opportunities of leading broad-based change. It examines the civic engagement movement in American higher education over the past three decades, an effort that began with a number of small uncoordinated efforts and evolved into a major national effort involving tens of thousands of faculty and administrators and spurring change at more than a thousand colleges and universities in the United States. The analysis focuses on the critically important role that leaders have played in advancing these efforts, a factor that has received scant attention by social movement theorists. The article describes how leaders attempted to build networks and also points to the challenges of negotiating ideological tensions that inevitably emerged as the movement grew and evolved.


Date Posted: 25 May 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.