Does Social Involvement Enhance the College Experience

Social involvement is the means of being involved in things on campus whether it is socially or academically - Does Social Involvement Enhance the College Experience introduction. The means of being socially involved can account for any form of extracurricular engagements outside of the classroom. Social involvement can also mean the same thing as student engagement within an academic setting. “Student engagement represents both the time and energy students invest in educationally purposeful activities and the effort institutions devote to using effective educational practices to induce students to doing the right things (Kuh et al. 007). ” “The concepts of student engagement are all based on the premise that learning in college is related to how students spend their time and energy (Kuh 2003). ” “Student engagement is positively related to learning outcomes, academic achievement, and student success broadly defined (Pike et al. 2009). ” There are many variables to student engagement that can benefit the college experience.

Student engagement can be defined in activities consisting of academic effort, higher order thinking skills, academic integration, active and collaborative learning, interaction with faculty members, and diversity-related experiences. Participation in student engagement activities will be positively linked to the differences in students’ college experiences and learning outcomes. “Learning requires both active participation in a variety of academic and social activities and integration of these diverse experiences into a meaningful whole (Kuh, Pike. 005). ” Past research studies point to the positive influences of student engagement in educationally purposeful activities on learning. “Academic and social engagement, along with integration are presumed to affect learning and intellectual development directly (Kuh, Pike. 2005). ” The students’ perception of the college environment may also be beneficial as a source of influence on learning and intellectual development.

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This helps because perceptions of the environment can relate to academic and social engagement. “Perceiving the environment to be positive would lead to greater and social academic engagement, and at the same time engagement would produce positive perceptions of the environment (Kuh, Pike. 2005). ” The way that students’ view the college environment as a whole will enhance the ability of them wanting to gain more knowledge in learning and the development of being socially involved in activities around campus.

Despite numerous studies of the relationship between student engagement and the results from the National Survey of Student Engagement, not much is known about the context and the most beneficial ways of student engagement socially in the college experience. With this being said, the current research that is being examined is determining whether there is a common ground between the enhancement of social involvement or student engagement and the college experience.

The overall aspect of the social involvement includes participating in sports, clubs, leadership roles, and any other extracurricular activities outside of just being prepared academically. The expectation of a college experience can be determined within the amount of socially engaged activities that a student may participate in. Background: Student engagement is already known to be the devotion of students into educationally activities. The act of being engaged adds to the foundation of skills and dispositions that are essential to live in a productive satisfying life after college. Students who are involved in educationally productive activities in college are developing habits of the mind and heart that enlarge their capacity for continuous learning and personal development (Kuh 2003). ” Previous studies have found that such approaches of student engagement are linked with positive behaviors as increased academic effort and outcomes such as promoting openness to diversity, social tolerance, and personal and interpersonal development.

Students who actively participate in various out-of-class activities are more likely to connect with a group of their peers that are similar to them, which is important for student retention, success and personal development. Pike and his colleagues found evidence that suggested that interactions with faculty members and other students play an important role in mediating the relationships between learning community participation, grades retention, and learning outcomes (Kuh, McCormick, Pike. 009). The National Survey of Student Engagement is the measurement that is used to measure the dynamics of student engagement for all of the previous studies that will be discussed. The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is an annual survey of first-year and senior students. The NSSE measures the degree to which students participate in educational practices that are related to learning and personal development.

NSSE assesses student experiences in specified areas: (a) involvement in a range of educationally purposeful in-class and out-of-class activities; (b) amount of reading and writing; (c) participation in selected educational programs, such as study abroad, internships senior capstone courses; (d) perceptions of the campus environment including the quality of students’ relationships with peers, faculty members, and administrators; and (e) student satisfaction with academic advising and their overall collegiate experience. (Zhao, Kuh. 004) The NSSE does not assess student learning outcomes directly it just provides the kind of information that every school needs in order to focus its efforts to improve the undergraduate experience (Kuh, 2001). NSSE focuses on what is far more important to student learning. It focuses on how students actually use the resources for learning that their school provides. The studies involving the NSSE are conducting experiments dealing with student engagement and learning outcomes of first-year and senior students. The results from previous studies focused on the academic aspect of social engagement for college students.

The current study that is being implicated will focus on the social aspect of college experiences for college students. This is a missed quality that tends to be forgotten about when determining the college experience. Attending college is more important than ever, but the college experience does not only consist of increasing educational abilities academically. The social involvement around campus in clubs and organizations is also part of the developmental process. When students graduate from college they need to be prepared socially and academically for the real world and the issues that are within it.

Current Study: This study will examine the relationship between social involvement and the enhancement of the college experience. It is hypothesized that the more a student is socially engaged in activities around campus the better the college experience for that student will be and the more well rounded a student will become. The reason being is because college does not only consist of academics, it consists of the plans that are made for oneself in order to mature in life. There is little evidence to actually support the specific research that is trying to be adhered in this study.

Many studies have found how student engagement in academic settings is positively linked to the learning outcomes of a student. There are really not any research studies that focus on the social life a college student can have outside of drinking and participating in sororities/fraternities, which is the only social aspect that researchers tend to veer towards. Methods: The measurement of student engagement will be a self evaluation survey consisting of questions pertaining to the involvement of the students socially on campus and how they would rate their college experience on a Linkert’s scale.

The survey will assess student experiences in the following areas: (a) involvement in any organizations on campus; (b) attending the different events hosted on campus by the different councils; (c) participation in any athletic organizations; (d) obtaining any leadership roles on campus; and (e) perceptions of the campus environment including the quality of big sister relationships, relationships with people in their class, faculty members, and others in general; (f) student satisfaction with the academic aspect and their overall college experience. Zhoa, Kuh. 2004) The sample of participants in this study is compromised of 20 randomly selected first-year and senior students from Wesleyan College who will complete the student engagement self-evaluation survey. (Zhao, Kuh. 2004) “Self –report measures are likely to be valid under five conditions: 1. The information is known to the participants 2. The questions are phrased clearly 3. The questions refer to recent activities 4. The respondents thinks the questions merit a serious and thoughtful response; and 5.

Answering the question does not threaten, embarrass, or violate the privacy of the respondent or encourage the respondent to respond in socially desirable ways (Kuh, McCormich, Pike. 2009). ” The first 20 students to sign up for each group classified as a first-year or senior will participate in the study. The sample will consist of women from different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. The age range of the women will be from ages 16-24. Six student engagement measures will be used in this study.

The six measures correspond with the level of social involvement that each student has participated in. The measures of engagement are listed at the beginning of the methods section. The independent variable is the amount of student involvement a student is engaged in. The dependent variable is the enhancement of the college experience that will result from the amount of engagement from the student. The controlled variable will consist of how involved a student is. Another controlled variable will consist of a students’ personality.

To provide an initial assessment of validity the relationship of student engagement is examined with six measurements that provides indications of convergent and discriminant validity. A consent form will be given to the participants at the beginning of the experiment as well as a debriefing form at the end of the study. Students will be compensated with extra credit points for any psychology class that they are currently taking during the semester. Expected Results/Discussion As stated previously above student engagement and the outcomes of the college experience are proposed to result from both individual and institutional level factors.

The results will show the positive effect that student involvement has on the enhancement of the college experience, both for first-year students and seniors (Kuh, McCormick, Pike. 2009). Not only will student engagement enhance the college experience academically but socially as well. This research has provided support for the desired hypothesis finding that engagement is positively related to the enhancement of the college experience. “Research has provided a strong and consistent approach positively showing that engagement is positively related to self reports of student learning (McCormick, Pike, Kuh. 009). ” A second premise underlying much of the research on student engagement is that, even though the focus is on student engagement, institutions can and do influence levels of engagement on-campus as a result of structural features, programs, policies, and organizational culture. (Kuh, et al. 2009)

For both first-year and senior students student engagement is associated with higher levels of academic effort, academic integration, and active and collaborative learning. Similarly, student involvement is positively linked with more requently interacting with faculty members, engaging in more diversity-related activities, and having a positive perception of the campus environment as a whole. (Zhao, Kuh. 2004) Limitations: The limitations of this study will include the small sample size of participants that is accepted into this study. With the small sample size the results of the data can be skewed in one way or another because there is only a limited amount of data that was collected. Another limitation is the relatively short survey. The short length of the survey cannot measure all of the aspects of student engagement.

The measures used in this study are based on self-reported data. Students with different cultural backgrounds may define being socially involved differently than others outside of their culture. Students in different social engagement settings have different social experiences and the influence of these factors on their perception may differ. Students may report their gains from college using different baselines depending on their openness to college experiences. Conclusion: In conclusion the results projected from this study is that there is a positive relationship between student involvement and the enhancement of the college experience.

Being involved in activities around campus will be beneficial academically and socially and increase the overall satisfaction with college. Researchers should look more into the social aspect of college than just the academic aspect of it. College consists of being socially and academically ready for the workplace. It is just as important to know how to prepare a presentation as well as it is important to know how to present it.

References

Inkelas, K. K. , Daver, Z. E. , Vogt, K. E. , & Leonard, J. B. (2007a). Living-learning programs and first-generation college students’ academic and social transition to college.

Research in Higher Education, 48, 403-434. Kuh, G. D. (1996). Guiding principles for creating seamless learning environments forundergraduates. Journal of college student development, 37(2), 135-48. Kuh, G. D. (2001). Assessing what really matters to student learning: Inside the National Survey of Student Engagement. Change, 33(3), 10-17, 66. Kuh, G. D. , Kinzie, J. , Cruce, T. , Shoup, R. , & Gonyea, R. M. (2007b). Connecting the dots: Multifaceted analyses of the relationships between student engagement results from the NSSE, and the institutional practices and conditions that foster student success.

Final report prepared for Lumina Foundation for Education. Center for Postsecondary Research, Bloomington, IN. McCormick, A. C. , Pike, G. R. , Kuh, G. D. , & Chen, D. P. (2009). Comparing the utility of the 2000 and 2005 Carnegie classification systems in research on students’ college experiences and outcomes. Research in Higher Education, 50, 144–167. Pike, G. R. , Kuh, G. D. , & Gonyea, R. M. (2003). The relationship between institutional mission and students’ involvement and educational outcomes. Research in Higher Education, 44, 243–263.

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