Students Perceived Sense of Campus Community: The Influence of Out-Of-Class Experiences

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Out-of-class involvement provides students with opportunities for rich social lives which, according to Cheng (2004), are closely associated with sense of campus community. Based on Astin's (1984) Theory of Involvement, and Boyer's (1990) principles of community, the purpose of this study was to examine how involvement in out-of-class activities influences students' perceived sense of campus community. Three hundred and thirty respondents completed an on-line questionnaire which consisted of demographics and questions related to their out-of-class involvement in 14 areas as identified by the institutions' Dean of Students Office, and a 25-item sense of community scale developed by Cheng (2004). Out-of-class involvement levels were examined using a hierarchical cluster analysis. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted to examine the underlying factor structure of the sense of community scale. The six factors extracted from the EFA served as dependent variables and respondents' out of class involvement levels stemming from the cluster analysis were used to measure differences in perceived sense of campus community based on involvement using a one-way multivariate analysis of variance. Results generally indicate students with higher levels of participation in certain campus involvement areas have a significantly higher perceived sense of campus community within the following factors: teaching and learning, history and tradition, diversity and acceptance, residential experience, and loneliness and stress.


This article was originally published as Elkins, D. J., Forrester, S. A., Noël-Elkins, A. V. (2011). Students perceived sense of campus community: The influence of out-of-class experiences. College Student Journal, 45(1), 105-121.