Historically, educational institutions have played an important role in social change—providing knowledge creation and equipping individuals with the tools and practical knowledge needed to address some of society’s greatest needs.
At Walden University, we believe knowledge is most valuable when put to use for the greater good, and we’re deeply committed to improving human and social conditions by creating and applying ideas in order to advance society as a whole. Effecting positive social change is at the heart of our mission and has been since our founding in 1970.
In 2011, Walden commissioned Harris Interactive, a global research firm, to conduct an online survey of adults around the world on the topic of social change—defined as involvement in activities that make improvements in the lives of individuals and communities locally and 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, the survey explores attitudes, behaviors and motivations of Americans as well as the international community.
The research first examined the current state of social change engagement in America, revealing Americans’ beliefs about social change, the issues they care about, the motivations behind their engagement, the actions they take to further social change and the tools they use.
The research was then expanded to include the international views of more than 12,000 adults from Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Japan, Mexico, and Spain as well as the United States. The global survey similarly gauged adults’ perceptions on the importance of social change, the top issues in their country, and the future of social change from a global perspective.
Our hope is that the Social Change Impact Report will spur local, national, and global discussions about the advancement of social change among business and government leaders, educators, healthcare workers, nonprofit organization employees, and those who simply care about making a difference.