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Assessing course goals is often challenging; assessing an abstract goal, like empathy, can be especially so. For many instructors, empathy is central to sociological thinking. As such, fostering empathy in students is a common course goal. In this article, we report the initial findings of a semester-long assessment of empathy change in undergraduate students (N = 619). We employ a mixed-methods research design that utilizes qualitative instructor data to determine independent instructor-level variables and student surveys to measure student empathy change.
Previous scholarship has demonstrated the value of high-impact practices of community engagement, inquiry-based pedagogy, and collaborative learning for engagement and learning in sociology courses, especially undergraduate research methods and statistics. This article explores the changes made to an upper-division undergraduate course focused on applied research practices and community-level interventions.