Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


College students--Middle West--Societies and clubs; College students--Social networks--Middle West; Core competencies;


Higher education has a significant impact on the development of critical skills that improve students’ academic outcomes. However, academic institutions have not adequately focused more on the role of student organizations in supporting and improving student outcomes. The primary purpose of this study is to investigate students’ perception of the development of core competencies during their experiences at a comprehensive Midwestern university, specifically examining the differences of those involved in student organizations to those not involved.

The impact of student organizations on the development of core competencies was assessed using a survey that was designed around the core competencies outlined by Derek Bok. Bok’s framework accentuates the major competency areas including learning to communicate effectively; the ability to think critically; building character; preparing for citizenship; living with diversity; preparing for a global society; acquiring broader interests; preparing for a career and vocational development.

Regarding the development of Bok’s core competencies, the present research study found that there is no statistically significant difference comparing students who are involved in student organizations to those who are not involved. Although there were statistically significant difference when comparing males vs. females, and leaders vs. members in student organizations

The findings of this study have implications regarding the broad application of Bok’s framework of core competencies across all student organizations in the university. The result suggests that a general set of competencies cannot serve as a model for all student organizations in assessing how students grow and develop through participation in student organizations. Therefore, each student organization should either adopt Bok’s framework of core competencies and align their activities to it or develop their own set of competencies that parallels with the activities and programs offered. In addition, colleges and universities should rethink how the outcomes of being involved in student organizations are being measured.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services


Division of Leisure, Youth and Human Services

First Advisor

Julianne Gassman, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vii, 92 pages)



File Format