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ERIC Number: ED547879
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 315
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2674-2896-7
An Examination of the Impact of a Physical Activity-Based Service-Learning Course on Undergraduate Student Leaders
Whitley, Meredith Anne
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
Over the past 25 years, there has been a call for change within American higher education, with an increasing number of foundations, national organizations, and individual researchers pushing for institutions of higher education to become more involved with the surrounding communities and American society (Campus Compact, 2011; Glass & Fitzgerald, 2010). In response to this call for a more engaged campus, colleges and universities have begun to seek out partnerships with community agencies, organizations, and other groups (Bringle & Hatcher, 2002; Driscoll, Holland, Gelmon, & Kerrigan, 1996), as well as invest in many different forms of engaged scholarship. One form of engaged scholarship that is becoming increasingly prevalent in institutions of higher learning is that of service-learning, which merges academic study with meaningful service in the community (Butin, 2010; Eyler, 2009). Service-learning has been incorporated into a wide range of fields, although the field of kinesiology has not yet embraced service-learning as a common pedagogical practice (Watson, Hueglin, Crandall, & Eisenman, 2002). In order to increase the prevalence of service-learning courses within kinesiology, it is necessary for research to be conducted on courses within this field. This dissertation examined one physical activity-based service-learning course within kinesiology. The primary purpose of the study was to explore the impact of this course on the undergraduate students enrolled, with a focus on personal growth, academic and intellectual development, and social and community engagement. The secondary purpose was to explore how these changes occurred during a physical activity-based service-learning course. These aims were addressed through a semester-long qualitative study, with in-depth interviews with six undergraduate student leaders and the course instructor, along with reflections completed by the students and the primary investigator in the role of a participant observer. The data were analyzed with a combined nomothetic and idiographic methodological approach, with commonalities and patterns being identified across participants in addition to the individual characteristics, experiences, and outcomes for each individual participant (Dunn, 1994; Gould, Tuffey, Udry, & Loehr, 1997). Results revealed that the participants all experienced growth and development from their experiences in the service-learning course, including leadership development, improved interpersonal skills, increased knowledge of social justice issues, and enhanced self-understanding. However, the participants varied significantly in terms of the number, depth, and complexity of these proximal outcomes, with the variance largely explained by the students' predisposing factors (e.g., race, gender, previous volunteering experience), the service-learning experience variables (e.g., feedback from the course instructor, effort level of students, integration of course content and service-learning experience), and the mediating variables (i.e., quality and quantity of reflection and cognitive complexity). These findings led to new insights within the field of service-learning as well as a deeper understanding of previous findings, resulting in a refined comprehensive theoretical framework that can be used by researchers, practitioners, administrators, and funders for the study, practice, and funding of service-learning. Along with a detailed discussion of this theoretical framework as it relates to the study and practice of service-learning, other practical implications of this dissertation are explored, including the design of coach education and mentoring programs and the potential impact on the field of kinesiology. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A