Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2010

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Counseling, Rehabilitation and Student Development

First Advisor

Liddell, Debora

First Committee Member

Pascarella, Ernest

Second Committee Member

Brown, Kenneth

Third Committee Member

Liu, William

Fourth Committee Member

Umbach, Paul


Long has been the charge by society for college and universities to produce more engaged citizenship. Institutional initiatives on civic engagement have focused on community service and service-learning initiatives to meet this demand. The existing literature, therefore, is reflective of these civic engagement involvements and outcomes. Little research is conducted on another form of civic engagement, activism. The existing literature on student activism focuses on the student activists of the 1960s. This study intends to address the gaps in the literature related to activism. Specifically, the purpose of this study was to identify the learning outcomes associated with student participation in activism

Data from the Higher Education Research Institute's surveys, the 1999 Student Information Form (SIF) and the 2003 College Student Survey (CSS), were used in this study. Multiple regression, along with logistic regression, were used.

The results of this study provide some noteworthy findings that improve our understanding of activism and its effect on the learning outcomes of undergraduate students. In addition, this study provides a number of implications for student affairs practice and future research.

Student activism has a long and rich history in our colleges and universities and will continue to have a place in our institutions of higher learning. This study reveals that activism is an active part of students' learning experiences while in college. This study supports the notion that (a) learning outcomes are associated with involvement in college student activism, (b) involvements do make a difference, (c) faculty and peer relationships matter, (d) curricular and co-curricular experiences, and (d) gender and ethnicity in activism is worth exploring

The examination of specific learning outcomes associated with activism provides student affairs professionals and higher education research and policy-makers a better understanding of what students gain from their activism. In addition, the results of this study contribute to the body of knowledge on the role of college involvements in developing an action-oriented citizen.


college student activism, higher education, learning outcomes, student affairs administration


2, ix, 197 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 166-187).


Copyright 2010 Marisela Rosas