With a demonstration grant from Bringing Theory toPractice, research was conducted during the 2010-2012 academic years to examine the relationships among civic engagement, experiential learning, and student well-being (Keyes, 2006). Students and faculty in the First-Year Program completed questionnaires each year about their experiences; analysis of the student data showed that service learning and student well-being were related positively. Students in learning communities that were engaged with service learning (some or all of their off-campus experiences were service or civically engaged) reported higher levels of social, emotional, and psychological well-being than students in learning communities that were engaged primarily in field-based learning or field trips.
In addition, students engaged in service learning had higher levels of what was called “faculty-student-site connection” than students primarily engaged in field trips. “Faculty-student-site connection” was composed of four factors from the faculty surveys:
- faculty communication with the site
- orientation to experiential learning by faculty
- orientation to experiential learning by the site
- faculty accompanying students to the site
To illustrate these results and promote the work being done in the Port Richmond neighborhood, brief profiles were displayed on campus and appear here.
Reference: Keyes, C., 2006, Mental Health Continuum, short form, (“flourishing survey”).
Bringing Theory to Practice - studying the relationships between experiential learning and student well-being
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