Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Drivers of engagement in professional development activity: A study of undergraduate business majors
by Snell, Corinne M., Ed.D., Temple University, 2012, 176; 3510347
Abstract (Summary)

Since college and university students typically vary in their utilization of student services and resources, the variance in undergraduate business student engagement levels in professional development activity was explored by this quantitative study. Professional development is defined as career-related preparation of students for entry into the professional business environment and is accomplished through coaching, workshops, mentoring, student professional organization involvement, and internships that complement the content knowledge taught in the classroom.

The results of a mandatory student satisfaction survey were analyzed to identify drivers/correlates of engagement, specifically relative to participation in professional development activity at a mid-Atlantic, urban research institution with an undergraduate business school population of approximately 5,700 students. The goal was to assess the demographic, organizational and motivational drivers (using a distal to proximal flow of relevance) that serve as potential initiators of variance in engagement levels related to professional development activity. This study attempted to provide insight as to the types of students who are engaged or disengaged by examining a combination of student background characteristics, pre-college credentials, college credentials, and organizational/motivational factors. The existing literature has concentrated on identification of “good practices” leading to engagement, as well as the impact of educationally purposeful activities on the higher education experience, but has not clearly identified the precise drivers of student engagement. Academic research on undergraduate student engagement in professional development activity is even more challenging to locate and is practically non-existent.

The study population consisted of 864 graduating seniors who completed the mandatory senior student satisfaction survey. Student demographic data from the University's information system as well as self-reported survey responses comprised the independent variables. This information was used to create thirty drivers of engagement categorized into five variable sets. The dependent variables, identified as behavioral indicators of engagement in student professional development activity, were derived from self-reported responses in the senior survey. A factor analysis was used to create a TotalDV score relative to student engagement in professional development activity.

Descriptive statistics provided a picture of each group of students. ANOVA and correlational analyses were used to determine the predictive factors (by variable sets) for professional development activity engagement (PDAE). Twenty-five of the thirty independent variables produced significant correlations (.000) spanning the five variable sets thereby indicating that multiple factors are ultimately involved in this complex model of student engagement in professional development activity.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Caldwell, Corrinne A.
Commitee: Blau, Gary J., Cucchiara, Maia B., DuCette, Joseph P., Jordan, Will J.
School: Temple University
Department: Educational Administration
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 73/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Business education
Keywords: Business majors, Drivers of engagement, Professional development, Student engagement
Publication Number: 3510347
ISBN: 9781267379337
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