Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Peter Taylor


My experience as an undergraduate college student was marked by many challenges. A constant source of support throughout that time was my participation in cocurricular community service activities – without those experiences I would never have completed my degree. After graduating I pursued a career in which I could continue my involvement with such programs, which, for the purposes of this paper, I will refer to as higher education civic engagement (HECE). There has been one issue that I have been particularly drawn to in HECE work — how to maximize what students learn when they participate in cocurricular civic engagement activities. Finding strategic and effective ways to support student learning outcomes from such experiences is challenging for a number of reasons. This paper begins with a reflection on how the Critical and Creative Thinking (CCT) program has contributed both to my personal development and to this project specifically. I then review the challenges HECE programs face in promoting student learning, followed by a review of best practices for cocurricular and civic engagement programs. I then offer four frameworks for conceptualizing student learning in HECE programs. Next is the core of this synthesis, a planning model that programs can use to strategically support and track student learning, adapted from the Service-Learning Course Design Workbook edited by Jeffrey Howard. Finally, I conclude by reflecting on this synthesis as a whole and considering possible follow-up steps to this project.