Everyone has the power to make a positive difference, whether big or small, local or global. What kind of social change agent are you?

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Aspiring to know more about people who are involved in positive social change, the 2013 Social Change Impact Report identifies distinctive profiles of social change agents around the world and includes many of their key motivations, interests and levels of involvement, ultimately putting a face on social change agents. The six different types of social change agents are:

Take the quiz to discover what kind of social change agent you are.

Since our founding in 1970, Walden has attracted students who seek knowledge both to advance their careers and use their knowledge to create positive social change in their communities and professions. Beginning in 2011, Walden has partnered with global research firm Harris Interactive to gauge the state of social change worldwide. The annual Social Change Impact Report illustrates one of the many ways we are leading and contributing to positive social change around the world.

The inaugural 2011 Social Change Impact Report focused on why social change matters. The focus of the 2012 Social Change Impact Report was discovering what motivates people to engage in and lead positive social change. In 2013, the research uncovered who is leading and contributing to positive social change. By segmenting these groups in the 2013 Social Change Impact Report, we find new insights to understanding the ways in which social change agents are alike and different.

  • Survey Findings

  • Methodology

  • Social Change Agents

  • News Release

  • Resources for Media

  • In the News

2013 Social Change Impact Report CoverThe 2013 Social Change Impact Report is the third in an annual series, which was 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. Including perspectives of more than 9,000 adults in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Jordan, Mexico and the U.S., the 2013 Social Change Impact Report identifies distinctive profiles of social change agents around the world and includes many of their key motivations, interests and levels of involvement, ultimately putting a face on social change agents. (April–May 2013)

In addition to establishing these profiles, the 2013 survey reveals that participation in social change has maintained its importance, is widespread and is moving forward as a result of people working together to address the issues most important to them. What’s more, findings reveal that education continues to play a vital role in providing opportunities for social change engagement, which, if modeled to and started at a young age, may lead to more involvement in adulthood. 

For more information on the Social Change Impact Report, including the questionnaire providing answers to each survey question, please contact Jen Raider at 1-443-627-7452 or jen.raider@waldenu.edu.

To join the conversation, use #IamSocialChange.

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Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt. Photo credit: Stan Kaady.“Social change is important because the world we live in changes every moment. We still have a long way to go to achieve peace and equity, and every effort big and small makes a contribution toward this. Our actions that contribute to the greater good also are our signature or legacy to be left on the world.”

Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt
World champion, Paralympian, advocate and author

About the Survey

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.

Details on data collection and the weighting of data for each country are provided below.

Country  Sample Language Survey Conducted Population Represented Variables Adjusted Where Necessary by Weighting
Brazil 1,010 adults ages 18–59 Brazilian Portuguese Online Age, gender, region, household income
Canada 1,010 adults ages 18 and older British English/
French Canadian
Online Age, gender, region, education, household income, race, Internet usage
China 1,010 adults ages 18–60 Simplified Chinese Online Age, gender, region, education
Germany 1,013 adults ages 16 and older German General Age by gender, region, education, Internet usage
India 1,008 adults ages 18–64 British English Online Age, gender, household income, hours online per week, bought online in past month
Jordan 1,005 adults ages 18 and older Arabic  Online Age, gender
Mexico  1,021 adults ages 18–64 Latin American Spanish  Online Age, gender, region, social grade, education
United States 2,020 adults ages 18 and older  American English  General Age, gender, region, race/ethnicity, education, household income

Data for each individual country is representative of that 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.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult populations of the respective countries. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About the Segmentation Analysis and the “What kind of social change agent are you?” Quiz

In order to better understand the people who are involved in positive social change and their reasons for involvement, an in-depth segmentation analysis was conducted to examine how the interaction among individuals’ attitudes about social change, involvement in social change activities, their social change motivations and personal demographic characteristics lead to distinctive profiles of social change agents in different countries across the globe. The analysis utilized a statistical technique called predictive segmentation. In order to be able to examine segments that are common across all countries, the initial analysis was conducted on the U.S. results to capitalize on its larger sample size and diversity of social change attitudes and behaviors measured. This analysis was used to develop an algorithm that was applied to each of the other countries to classify each country’s respective results. The analysis revealed six distinct groups of social change agents as well as a segment of the population that says it never engages in positive social change activities. The six segments of social change agents are: Ultracommitted Change-Makers, Faith-Inspired Givers*, Socially Conscious Consumers, Purposeful Participants, Casual Contributors and Social Change Spectators.

The “What kind of social change agent are you?” quiz was developed based on the results of the segmentation analysis. The quiz is based on a subset of questions from the 2013 Social Change Impact Report survey that can be used most efficiently to predict an individual’s classification into one of the social change agent segments. The quiz also includes several added questions used to provide additional context to the segment profile.


*In China and Germany, the Faith-Inspired Giver segment was too small in the survey (<50 respondents) to allow an examination of its characteristics and thus these countries are excluded from the analysis of this segment.

In India and Jordan, the Socially Conscious Consumer segment was too small in the survey (<50 respondents) to allow an examination of its characteristics and thus these countries are excluded from the analysis of this segment.

In Brazil, India and Mexico, the Social Change Spectator segment was too small in the survey (<50 respondents) to allow an examination of its characteristics and thus these countries are excluded from the analysis of this segment.

John Wood“I believe social change is important because too many children are ‘born in the wrong place at the wrong time’ and therefore have not received the lifelong gift of education. Thus far, we have built 1,675 schools, 15,000 libraries and we can only hope this is the ‘down payment on the dream’ and we hope to do more in the future.”

John Wood
Founder of Room to Read

Raquel Battle, Ph.D. in Health Services Student

Raquel Battle. Photo credit: Simon Griffiths.“My father passed away from prostate cancer in 2007 in Belize. He had to make a painful, six-hour journey by bus to get treatment. His dying wish was to establish a hospice so that others wouldn’t suffer the way he did. In his honor, I established Blissfulsage Foundation and the Edlin Leslie Sr. Hospice for terminally ill patients, especially those affected by cancer in Southern Belize, the region where I grew up. I also recently launched BEAT Cancer, a clearinghouse of information for cancer patients and their families.”

Read her story.

Dr. Lois Engelbrecht, Ph.D. in Human Services Graduate

Lois Engelbrecht with team at ArpanSince founding the nonprofit Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse in 1993, Dr. Lois Engelbrecht has helped create systems of prevention and response in more than 400 schools in the Philippines, Malaysia, China, India, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. Currently living in Ghana, Dr. Engelbrecht is helping the African Movement for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect develop an abuse prevention program in public schools around Accra. She also is spearheading the development of child protection systems in International Schools in Africa that would link the schools to local authority and resources. “I’ve made it my mission to use my talents to benefit the world.”

Read her stories from Walden Magazine and Spotlight on Walden.

Dr. Ahmed Tufeiru, Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration Graduate

Women Carrying fruit on their head“After graduation, I decided to pursue my goal of financial inclusion for the poor rural women from northern Ghana. I successfully partnered with a microfinance organization to extend access to capital for migrant female porters in Accra and Kumasi who are willing to leave their grueling portage jobs and return home for dignified self-employment as microentrepreneurs.”

Read his story.

Jill Bastian, M.S. in Education (M.S.Ed.) Graduate

Jill Bastian“When I went to Okahandja, Namibia in 2009, I collaborated with local educators to conduct research to formulate strategies that will empower students to recognize that they, too, can make a difference. This goal came to fruition in 2011 when I returned to teach science and consider solutions for developing vegetable gardens and wells for fresh water provisions. I was fortunate to meet and collaborate with a first-year science teacher deep within the heart of a squatter’s camp. His passion to end poverty within his village and assist in finding a means for students to sustain themselves ignited a flame in me. I shared the concept of hydroponics with him and his seventh-grade students. Today, the garden is flourishing.”

Read her story. 

Jodi Vermaas, M.S. in Mental Health Counseling Graduate

Jodi Vermaas“While traveling to India and meeting with their children and caregivers in the orphanage, I noticed an incredible need for basic mental health resources. Many of the children I’d visited had witnessed their parents brutally murdered and remained in need and without crisis support. That’s why I launched Priority One Worldwide, a nonprofit to raise money to provide for the needs of these women and children. The goal is to stabilize their day-to-day living conditions, provide safety and genuine care, and support them with free mental health services.”

Watch her story

Eric Barton, Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) Graduate and Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) Student

Eric Barton“I took my daughter Alexis to Uganda since I was working to shut down a rock quarry there. We spent about a week there. Widows and kids would hammer out stones. We continued to try to get the government to shut it down. I brought her there to see that. We helped the widows and children settle elsewhere. They were so thankful and happy-not only the people who we were helping, but the government officials who supported it too. It’s really through policy that you can make big changes in a government. We really worked hard to close down the quarry through the legal system to make a policy change.”

Read his story.

Chantrell Bruton, Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Graduate

Chantrell Bruton“I began an initiative called the ‘We Care Crew’ at my school that involved children collecting empty juice pouches to be recycled and upcycled. Students discussed in class how they wanted to help others with the points from recycling the juice pouches. They decided to provide meals to hungry Americans, water to people in other countries, and save wildlife land, among other social and civic services. I took what I learned about impacting the world and applied it in a kid-friendly fashion that broadened children’s ideas about helping others on a global scale.”

Ben Banks, Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) Graduate

Benjamin Banks and WifeAt the age of 12, during a routine medical checkup, Benjamin T. Banks, a Stage V cancer survivor, received devastating news: He had contracted HIV through a blood transfusion at the age of 2 while battling cancer. Although his initial focus was to stay healthy and challenge himself to live a normal life, he has found an even more profound way to impact a larger community long term. Today, he is a mentor to kids living with HIV and an Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) ambassador who has shared his experiences on a panel at the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “I bring life to EGPAF’s mission statement. My goal is to help prevent pediatric HIV infection and to eradicate AIDS through research and advocacy.”

Read his story.

Linda Davis, M.S. in Psychology Graduate

Linda Davis at her school opening in Guatemala"My passion for helping young women become educated was realized when I retired at 53 and began to do charity work in Guatemala. Working with a nonprofit, Miracles in Action, to build two schools in poor rural villages was a dream come true. I hope to continue helping young women in Guatemala improve their skills and perhaps start their own businesses. The girls in this country are the last to receive an education. Consequently, they are dependent on others. By educating and coaching these young women, they will have the opportunity to participate in their society and realize their entrepreneurial spirit."

Read her story and watch her video.

Dr. Shannon Irvine, Ph.D. in Psychology Graduate

Shannon Irvine, husband and child in UgandaDr. Shannon Irvine and her husband, Micah, run the nonprofit Mosaic Vision, which has supported more than 300 AIDS orphans since its inception in 2004. Child-headed households are common in Uganda. One of Mosaic Vision’s primary goals is to place caretakers, often widows, in child-headed homes or support grandparents who have already stepped in to help. It starts with the basics—rebuilding homes to stave off disease-carrying insects and initiating community-oriented projects like rainwater collection. These basics, paired with a guardian, are necessary not only to allow these children to grieve the loss of their parents, but also to allow them to continue to learn before becoming fully independent adults. “It’s exciting to see the children go from a hopeless situation to become leaders and change agents for their communities,” says Dr. Irvine, a Walden Ph.D. in Psychology graduate.

Read her story.

Dr. Melissa Thomas

Melissa ThomasDr. Melissa Thomas created a nonprofit that is committed in part to serving Amish and Mennonite communities in need of healthcare and cancer education. Project Hoffnung, or “Hope,” stays mobile, serving Ohio and Indiana through free one-day clinics in community centers and churches to screen women for breast cancer and provide culturally competent cancer education. To date, the project has received more than $1 million in funding; her troupe of volunteer community healthcare workers has screened more than 3,500 women. “There’s passion behind the work we do. We know we have information that can save people’s lives.”

Read her story from Walden Magazine and Spotlight on Walden.

2012 Social Change Impact Report

Cover from the 2012 Social Change Impact Report.Provides a diverse global perspective on why adults engage in social change and the roles individuals, nonprofit organizations, government, and the media play in facilitating it.

Learn more about the 2012 report.

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—February 11, 2014—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.

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. For additional information about Walden’s online programs, call 1-855-203-7874 or visit www.WaldenU.edu.

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 jen.raider@waldenu.edu.

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. 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.


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Resources

Infographics

2013 SCIR Segment Infographic What kind of social change agent are you?
(WEB) (PDF) (PNG) (JPEG)
2013 SCIR 5 Myths Infographic 5 myths of positive social change
(WEB) (PDF) (PNG) (JPEG)
2013 SCIR Education Infographic Education as a force for social change
(WEB) (PDF) (PNG) (JPEG)

Spokespeople

Cynthia G. Baum, Ph.D., President of Walden University
Dana Markow, Ph.D., Vice President, Youth and Education Research, Harris Interactive

Cynthia G. Baum, Ph.D., President, Walden University

Cynthia BaumCynthia G. Baum, Ph.D., president of Walden University, is committed to finding new ways to fulfill Walden’s social change mission and to support student success. Dr. Baum assumed her position after serving as vice president of the College of Health Sciences and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and, most recently, as executive vice president of Walden. With more than 20 years of leadership experience in postsecondary education, Dr. Baum has previously served as a campus president and regional vice president for a number of institutions. In addition, she previously held full-time faculty appointments with Virginia Tech and The Catholic University of America. Dr. Baum is also a clinical psychologist, and prior to her higher education experience, she worked in the nonprofit sector as assistant executive director for education at the American Psychological Association (APA). Dr. Baum holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Georgia. Her honors include a Presidential Citation from the APA, the Advocacy Award from the Association for the Advancement of Psychology, and recognitions from STP and the Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools. Dr. Baum holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Georgia. (Read more.)

Dana Markow, Ph.D., Vice President, Youth and Education Research, Harris Interactive

Dana MarkawDana Markow has worked for Harris Interactive for 14 years. She has considerable experience working on survey research projects for academia, foundations, and corporations. For these different entities, she has conducted studies related to multiple issues surrounding youth and education. With regard to research with children, these studies include children's media use, the impact of work on parenting and family life and children’s school experiences. Also, she has done work on college students’ consumer behavior for Alloy Media + Marketing and on work and family life for the Center for Work-Life Policy and the Families and Work Institute. In addition, she has also conducted custom research among other key youth audiences such as educators and parents. One of the major projects she has worked on for the past 13 years is the annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher which examines different issues on public education and incorporates the perspectives of parents, students, teachers and other education professionals. Dr. Markow also is a regular speaker on education and youth issues. She earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.

2011 Social Change Impact Report

Cover of the 2011 Social Change Impact ReportProvides a detailed picture of adults’ beliefs about social change, the issues they care about, the motivations behind their engagement, the actions they are taking to further social change and the tools they use. It also provides a global perspective on the importance of social change, the top issues in their country and the future of social change.

Learn more about the 2011 report.

News Release

Social Change Impact Report in the News

(2014) (2013) (2012) (2011)

Paul Rusesabagina“I think we need to make a positive difference. This should be the mission of everyone. If we all can get involved, this world will always be a better world. Social change is a need, a must.”

Paul Rusesabagina
Humanitarian and founder of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation