Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

John Elmore, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline S. Hodes, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Dana Morrison, Ph.D.


Since its inception, public education in the United States has billed itself to the masses as an “equalizer” that “prepares the citizenry.” Although there are varying institutional types in higher education, Americans believe the myth that higher education is an extension of the same K-12 educational values. Despite higher education teaching the components of civic engagement separately, the skills are seldom combined for students to practice. Students do not learn how to transfer or combine these skills into their “real lives” outside of higher education. Since graduate students are electing to further their education, higher education has an increased responsibility to ensure their graduates are equipped to participate and succeed in civic life. An international literature evaluation demonstrates that student disenfranchisement is not a uniquely American problem nor is the discontent that arises from institutional personnel governing higher education. This paper provides a detailed examination of my understanding of education, the structures in American history that leave students disenfranchised from their educations, and options to reengage students in controlling their education, before then pressing forward to propose using shared governance for graduate student mentorship. Graduate students have been found to be the most politically stable student population, making them ideal partners as community leaders to guide student participation in shared governance (Love, et. al. 2003). More than Just a Seat at the Table provides the mentoring teams a cohort model to engage in curriculum, problem solve their experiences, demonstrate their learning, and make lasting change in their institution.

Canazzi full thesis (1).pdf (1236 kB)