Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Cooperating University

University of Kentucky


Social Work

Committee Chair

Barber, Gerard

Author's Keywords

Service-learning; Faith-based; Higher education


Academic achievement; Service learning


This quantitative dissertation examines outcomes of a required service-learning program at a faith-based institution. Two hundred and ten students completed a pre/post survey administered to a sophomore level class about background, educational processes, and twelve attitude and knowledge subscales related to service-learning. All subscales met standard reliability standards. Two dependent variables were used to measure critical thinking and students' perceptions of learning. While students entered the class with strong positive attitudes and knowledge on most subscales, four subscales Civic Attitudes, Civic Behavior, Civic Action, and Social Justice showed significant positive changes, and two subscales Motivation for Service and Personal Enrichment were approaching significance. A regression model analysis indicated that significant predictors of Learning Perceptions were: Social Justice Pretest, Learning about the Community Pretest, Learning about the Community Change, and Reflection through Discussion Outside of Class Posttest which accounted for approximately 46% of the variance in the dependent variable. Four independent variables significantly predicted Critical Thinking: Civic Behaviors Pretest, Civic Action change, Interpersonal Skills pretest, and Interpersonal Skills change score which accounted for approximately 21% of the variance in this variable. The literature indicates that students' participation in reflection is paramount to the learning process. However, that was not evident in this study. More research is needed to better understand how reflective experiences affect service-learning outcomes. Findings also indicate that students come to the service-learning experience at different levels and readiness to learn, which has implications for the design of service-learning programs.