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Thursday, December 10 • 3:00pm - 3:50pm
Community Engagement & Student Development: A Case Study in a 2nd Level Clinical Neuroscience Course in the Faculty of Science at McMaster University (Ontario, Canada) (Poster)

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Community engagement is an effective pedagogical method that has been shown to have a wide range of positive impacts on student development (see review in Furco, Jones-White, Huesman & Gorny, 2012). The present study investigated the effects of community engagement on students in an undergraduate clinical neuroscience course with an enrollment of 130 students in the Faculty of Science at McMaster University. The community engagement component consisted of a mandatory group assignment called MacEngaged that required students to design and implement an outreach project in neuropsychology. Pre- and post-survey questionnaires used a 5-point Likert agreement scale to assess student perspectives under four general themes: academic enhancement and development, civic responsibility, professional and personal skill development. It was hypothesized that the community engagement experience would promote student development in all four of the themes. Based on previous research, the largest impact was expected in the areas of professional and personal skill development (Astin & Sax, 1998; Furco et al., 2012). Descriptive statistics suggested changes in 7 out of 25 categories of student development, including scores for independence, dependability, academic value, interest in course content, understanding of course content, importance of reflection, and value of reflection. Increases in the spread of post-survey agreement scores suggested that not all students found this experience to be beneficial. Findings from this preliminary study can be used to guide further areas of research and improve the course design for future offerings. 


Astin, A. W., & Sax, L. J. (1998). How undergraduates are affected by service participation. Journal of College Student Development39(3), 251–263. 

Furco, A., Jones-White, D., Huesman, R., & Gorny, L. (2012). Development of a model of the influence of service-learning on academic and social gains with the SERU survey.


Ayesha Khan

McMaster University

Mirella Mazza

University of Toronto

Paul McNicholas

McMaster University

Cristina Tortora

McMaster University

Deanne Wah

McMaster University

Urszula Zoladeski

McMaster University
Urszula Zoladeski is an Honours Biology student at McMaster University. The focus of her academic career is animal and human behaviour, specifically human learning and cognition. Participating in McMaster’s MacEngaged program as a second year student sparked her interest in service... Read More →

Thursday December 10, 2015 3:00pm - 3:50pm EST
McMaster Innovation Park Atrium

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