Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Higher Education (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Michael T. Miller

Committee Member

Kristin K. Higgins

Second Committee Member

Thomas E. Smith

Keywords

Social sciences; Education; Co-curricular; Employment; Higher education; Recreation

Abstract

As grant programs dwindle and students are needing to become less reliant on parents to help finance their education, employment while enrolled is shifting from a choice to a near requirement. Collegiate comprehensive recreation programs employ several hundred students annually. Employers must be intentional in creating positions that help meet their needs, but also serve as a co-curricular experience for the student, assisting them in preparation for experiences beyond graduation. This study explores the perceived outcomes of campus recreation employment and the relevance to professional employment.

Student employees at a large university with a comprehensive collegiate campus recreation program reported their perceived skill enhancement based on their employment with campus recreation. Data were collected quantitatively and qualitatively. The quantitative data were collected via a paper and pencil survey, distributed and collected at in-service training meetings. All students, employed in December 2015 and January 2016, were invited to complete the survey. This data were analyzed through a comparison of mean scores, one way ANOVA, and independent samples t test. The qualitative data were collected through a series of focus groups. This data demonstrated additional motivation for pursuing employment and what skills they perceived enhancement in and where they would like to see more improvement.

The data revealed that student employees did perceive enhancement in some skill areas, but there was opportunity for improvement in others. Students demonstrated a stronger perceived enhancement of skills related to Social work skills than technical work skills. This response pattern held true across each employee area. A statistical significant difference was not found between length of employment, at two years, and skill enhancement. The results of the study demonstrate the need for intentional and purposeful employment experiences that not only complete the day to day functions of the job or unit, but provide learning opportunities that are co-curricular, supplementing the classroom experience.

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