Outcomes of knowledge, empathy, and action from a freshman seminar on world hunger
Gray, Benjamin Elie
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The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of a freshman seminar about world hunger on student learning, empathy, and action towards hunger. Study participants were freshmen at the University of Georgia (N = 30 and 67% female). The educational intervention, a 15 week freshman seminar conducted in the fall semester of 2010 entitled "FRES 1020: Let the Big World Eat," met once a week for 60 minutes. Evaluations included a multiple choice pre-test/post-test to assess knowledge, short answers to assess knowledge of domestic hunger organizations, a short answer question to assess knowledge transfer, Likert scale pre-test/post-tests to assess empathy and activism orientation, a frequency scale to asses actions taken, and an informal qualitative analysis of written hunger activity responses. Following the seminar there were statistically significant increases in both knowledge and actions taken and a positive significant relationship between knowledge scores and knowledge transfer. Hunger activity responses revealed positive trends in empathy and willingness to act. These results provide encouraging data for the development of future courses for undergraduate students to improve their knowledge and action toward hunger-related problems.