Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline

Community College Leadership


This study investigated the extent to which participation in co-curricular events enhances the achievement of student-learning outcomes in community college students. One community college in Illinois—Chicago Metropolitan Area Community College (CMACC), a pseudonym—was selected to research based on its robust co-curricular activity programming. A concurrent nested mixed methodology (Plano Clark & Creswell, 2007) was used, nesting quantitative data within qualitative data.

To generate quantitative data, a student survey was distributed to 128 students involved with co-curricular activities at CMACC. Participating students were asked to identify their involvement with co-curricular programming and how this participation correlated with the institution’s general education learning outcomes and related objectives. Quantitative data analysis found that participation (in 6 of the 15 co-curricular activity groups at CMACC) was correlated modestly though statistically significant to the achievement of institutional general education learning outcomes. These co-curricular groups include the following: Internship/Co-op, Multicultural, Career/Professional, Service and Awareness, Creative Arts, and Leadership.

To generate qualitative data, semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals familiar with co-curricular programming at CMACC: two student leaders, two student activities staff members, two faculty members, and two student services administrators. Interview participants were asked about their perceptions regarding (a) co-curricular programming and its connection to the achievement of CMACC’s general education learning outcomes, (b) their thoughts about CMACC professionals regarding co-curricular activities, and (c) recommendations to improve the link of co-curricular activities to classroom learning. Chickering’s Theory of Identity Development provided the theoretical framework supporting this study.

Qualitative data analysis revealed themes that support co-curricular events and the achievement of student learning outcomes, including the following: sharing information with peers, using reputable sources to convey messages, knowing about current global trends and issues, planning finances and budgets, preparing for the workforce, blending technology with learning, being fiscally responsible, critiquing writing skills, and increasing social networking skills through technology. Qualitative data analysis also indicated that the perceptions of CMACC professionals’ understanding of co-curricular activities include such components as themes of support, recognition, value, and appreciation. Finally, interviewees recommended improving the link between co-curricular programming and the achievement of CMACC’s institutional learning outcomes by (a) exposing and assessing co-curricular activities, (b) communicating co-curricular activity opportunities, and (c) planning collaborative co-curricular and curricular events within the institution.