Enhancing Underrepresented Students’ Success Through Participation in Community Engagement

  • Geoffrey Maruyama
  • Andrew Furco
  • Wei Song


In this chapter, the authors investigate the relationships between students’ participation in a multifaceted community-engaged learning program (the Community Engagement Scholars Program—CESP) and their educational success. Using propensity score matching techniques, the authors compared undergraduate students participating in CESP with comparable peers who did not participate. The students who participate in the program progressed more rapidly toward graduation, completing more credits, and were more likely to persist/graduate (93% vs. 83%) after four years. Students from groups underrepresented in postsecondary education completed more credits and, although not significant, had higher persistence/completion (89% vs. 81%) compared with other underrepresented students.


  1. Aries, E., & Seider, M. (2005). The interactive relationship between class identity and the college experience: The case of lower income students. Qualitative Sociology, 28(4), 419–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Astin, A. W., & Sax, L. J. (1998). How undergraduates are affected by service participation. Journal of College Student Development, 39(3), 251–263.Google Scholar
  3. Astin, A. W., Vogelgesang, L. J., Ikeda, E. K., & Yee, J. A. (2000). How service learning affects students. Los Angeles, CA: Higher Education Research Institute, University of California.Google Scholar
  4. Banks, J. A. (2007). Educating citizens in a multicultural society. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  5. Barnes, J. V., Altimare, E. L., Farrell, P. A., Brown, R. E., Burnett, C. R., III, Gamble, L., et al. (2009). Creating and sustaining authentic partnerships with community in a systemic model. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 13(4), 15–29.Google Scholar
  6. Borden, A. W. (2007). The impact of service-learning on ethnocentrism in an intercultural communication course. Journal of Experiential Education, 30(2), 171–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. G. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241–258). Greenwood, NY: Greenwood Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  8. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cabrera, A. F., Nora, A., Terenzini, P. T., Pascarella, E., & Hagedorn, L. S. (1999). Campus racial climate and the adjustment of students to college: A comparison between White students and African-American students. The Journal of Higher Education, 70(2), 134–160.Google Scholar
  10. Celio, C. I., Durlak, J., & Dymnicki, A. (2011). A meta-analysis of the impact of service-learning on students. Journal of Experiential Education, 34(2), 164–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cushman, K. (2007). Facing the culture shock of college. Educational Leadership, 64(7), 44–47.Google Scholar
  12. Einfeld, A., & Collins, D. (2008). The relationships between service-learning, social justice, multicultural competence, and civic engagement. Journal of College Student Development, 49(2), 95–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Engle, J. & Tinto, V. (2008). Moving beyond access: College success for low income, first-generation students. The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. Washington, DC. 38 pages.Google Scholar
  14. Engstrom, C. M., & Tinto, V. (2008). Learning better together: The impact of learning communities on the persistence of low income students. Opportunity Matters, 1, 5–21.Google Scholar
  15. Eyler, J., & Giles, D. E. (1999). Where’s the learning in service-learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  16. Eyler, J., Giles, D. E., Jr., Stenson, C. M., & Gray, C. J. (2001). At a glance: What we know about the effects of service-learning on college students, faculty, institutions and communities, 1993–2000. National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  17. Furco, A., & Billig, S. H. (2002). Establishing norms for scientific inquiry in service-learning. In S. H. Billig & A. Furco (Eds.), Service-learning through a multidisciplinary lens, A volume in Advances in Service-Learning Research (pp. 15–29). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publication.Google Scholar
  18. Gurin, P., Dey, E., Hurtado, S., & Gurin, G. (2002). Diversity and higher education: Theory and impact on educational outcomes. Harvard Educational Review, 72(3), 330–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Harkavy, I., & Puckett, J. L. (1991a). Toward effective university-public school partnerships: An analysis of a contemporary model. Teacher’s College Record, 92(4), 556–581.Google Scholar
  20. Harkavy, I., & Puckett, J. L. (1991b). The role of mediating structures in university and community revitalization: The University of Pennsylvania and West Philadelphia as a case study. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 25(1), 10–25.Google Scholar
  21. Holland, B. A. (2009). Will it last? Evidence of institutionalization at Carnegie classified community engagement institutions. New Directions for Higher Education, 2009(147), 85–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jay, G. (2008). Service learning, multiculturalism, and the pedagogies of difference. Pedagogy, 8(2), 255–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Karp, D. (1986). “You can take the boy out of Dorchester, but you can’t take Dorchester out of the boy”: Toward a social psychology of mobility. Symbolic Interaction, 9, 19–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Langhout, R. D., Drake, P., & Rosselli, F. (2009). Classism in the academy: Antecedents and outcomes. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 2(3), 166–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Langhout, R. D., Rosselli, F., & Feinstein, J. (2007). What’s class got to do with it? Assessing classism in academic settings. Review of Higher Education, 30(2), 145–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Leiderman, S., Furco, A., Zapf, J., & Goss, M. (2002). Building partnerships with college campuses: Community perspectives. Washington, DC: Council of Independent Colleges.Google Scholar
  27. Lohfink, M. M., & Paulsen, M. B. (2005). Comparing the determinants of persistence for first-generation and continuing-generation students. Journal of College Student Development, 46(4), 409–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Manning, K. (2000). Rituals, ceremonies, and cultural meaning in higher education. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  29. Maruyama, G., Jones, R. J., & Finnegan, J. R. (2009). Advancing an urban agenda: Principles and experiences of an urban land grant university. Metropolitan Universities, 20, 75100.Google Scholar
  30. Ostrove, J. M., & Long, S. M. (2007). Social class and belonging: Implications for college adjustment. Review of Higher Education, 30(4), 363–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pascarella, E. T., Pierson, C. T., Wolniak, G. C., & Terenzini, P. T. (2004). First generation college students: Additional evidence on college experiences and outcomes. The Journal of Higher Education, 75(3), 249–284.Google Scholar
  32. Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students: Vol. 2. A third decade of research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  33. Patton, L. D., Renn, K. A., Guido, F. M., & Quaye, S. J. (2016). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  34. Putnam, R. D. (2015). Our kids: The American dream in crisis. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  35. Robbins, S. B., Oh, I. S., Le, H., & Button, C. (2009). Intervention effects on college performance and retention as mediated by motivational, emotional, and social control factors: Integrated meta-analytic path analyses. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(5), 1163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Scales, P. C., Roehlkepartain, E. C., Neal, M., Kielsmeier, J. C., & Benson, P. L. (2006). Reducing academic achievement gaps: The role of community service and service-learning. Journal of Experiential Education, 29(1), 38–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Simons, L., & Cleary, B. (2006). The influence of service learning on students’ personal and social development. College Teaching, 54(4), 307–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Soria, K. M. (2012). Creating a successful transition for working-class first-year students. The Journal of College Orientation and Transition, 20(1), 44–55.Google Scholar
  39. Soria, K. M. (2015). Welcoming blue collar scholars into the ivory tower: Developing class-conscious strategies for students’ success. Columbia, SC: National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.Google Scholar
  40. Soska, T., & Butterfield, A. K. J. (2013). University-community partnerships: Universities in civic engagement. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  41. Student Experience at the Research University (SERU) Survey. (2014). Berkeley, CA: University of California, Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education.Google Scholar
  42. Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  43. Tinto, V. (2006). Research and practice on student retention: What’s next? Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory, and Practice, 8(1), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Torres, K. (2009). ‘Culture shock’: Black students account for their distinctiveness at an elite college. Ethic and Racial Studies, 32(5), 883–905.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Walpole, M. (2003). Socioeconomic status and college: How SES affects college experiences and outcomes. The Review of Higher Education, 27, 45–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Warren, J. L. (2012). Does service-learning increase student learning?: A meta-analysis. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 18(2), 56–61.Google Scholar
  47. Yorio, P., & Ye, F. (2012). A meta-analysis on the effects of service-learning on the social, personal, and cognitive outcomes of learning. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 11(1), 9–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Maruyama
    • 1
  • Andrew Furco
    • 2
  • Wei Song
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Educational Psychology, University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and DevelopmentUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations