Date of Award
© 2020 Michael James Fischer
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Colleges are vital for the provision of a trained workforce. As of 2017, over 1,100 community colleges were serving about 41% of the undergraduates across the nation. The emphasis on preparing students to enter the labor market has led to colleges developing integrated academic and co-curricular programs. Many professionals in higher education believe that education happens best in a truly integrative learning environment, where both academic and student affairs programs are used to educate the student.
The New Hampshire Community College Student Leadership program was developed to help students gain soft-skills, as identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The objective of this summative evaluation was to discover if the NHCC SLP contributes to the soft skill development of student participants. Two research questions guided the study:
RQ1: How do participants in the New Hampshire Community Student Leadership Program perceive the program to have helped them develop soft-skills?
RQ2: Do students who participated in the New Hampshire Community College Student Leadership Program feel prepared to enter the workforce at the time of their graduation?
As a summative program review, no human participants were used for this study. The evaluation highlighted several NHCC SLP strategies that could be used beyond their student leadership program. The research identified the importance of building learning outcomes into co-curricular programs and the impact that experiential learning has on student engagement. The findings support how co-curricular programs can help prepare students for the workforce. The results revealed that students participated in large part because of their intrinsic motivation; the theoretical framework of self-determination theory supported this finding. Additional data is needed to determine the long term benefits of soft-skill development through co-curricular programs. Recommendations include the need to distinguish between extracurricular activities and co-curricular activities. Co-curricular activities should be based on intentional program design and include targeted learning outcomes. Additional research should be conducted on the long term benefit of soft skill development at the collegiate level. Consideration should be given to the future study of co-curricular programs and soft-skill development utilizing the Goal Content Theory.
Fischer, Michael James, "Soft-Skill Development In Co-Curricular Programs: An Evaluation Of A Community College Student Leadership Program" (2020). All Theses And Dissertations. 312.