Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice

Committee Member

Kenneth L. Robinson

Committee Member

Lorie Dickes

Committee Member

Elizabeth Baldwin

Committee Member

Andrew Mannheimer


Civic engagement, personal growth, and cognitive development are just a few beneficial outcomes that students gain when they participate in service-learning courses. Assessing these outcomes is often challenging; determining an ideal outcome, like leadership development, can be especially so. Leadership development as an outcome for students who participate in a service-learning is an understudied area, especially for how students develop leadership in a service-learning course throughout the semester, which critical incidents are identified as impacting student’s leadership development, and how a service-learning course that utilizes Social Impact Assessment (SIA) influences these outcomes. Designed as a case study, this research describes SIA to pilot a course logic model (e.g., SIA service-learning) related to leadership development outcomes in 16 undergraduate and 3 graduate students. Results suggest a degree of significance when it came to students acknowledging they had a good understanding of the needs and concerns of the community in which they live, and the Human Ecology Social Impact Assessment service-learning course has the ability to strengthen students understanding of local development issues. Factors enhancing or challenging student leadership development were measured. Results suggest that certain student-experiences, such as developing a strong sense of self, identifying community needs, gaining practical life skills, and feeling connected to their community might prompt changes in the level of leadership for students. Leadership development was shown through categorical outcomes of Identification, Connection, and Taking Action. Plans to integrate findings from this case study into future service-learning courses and research are described.

KEYWORDS: Service-Learning; Leadership Development; Social Impact Assessment; Case Study; Mixed-Methods



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