Image of Tom Hogan
Tom Hogan
Image of Tom Hogan

Creating Transformative Experiences: The Art of Student Engagement and Engaged Scholarship

The basis of this study is to determine the benefit of being engaged by being psychologically involved, connected to, and passionate about learning, in relation to the arts. Penn State’s strategic plan involves using the advancement of Arts and Humanities to foster change and inclusion. We found that some of the most common barriers to entry regarding events and programs offered by Penn State, often revolve around the problem of “lack of time” as well as “cost of the event.” Another barrier of entry that creates cause for concern is the fact that domestic white students had a higher positive attitude toward Penn State arts commitment to diversity/inclusion rather than international students who feel more separated ethnically and culturally.  Hence, the importance of feeling welcomed, valued and included in their university community. To address this, international students must be especially included in surveys based around the decision making for arts events for Penn State to improve their inclusion effort, and potentially surveyed separately or more thoroughly.

This project offered five actionable recommendations:

1. Generate funding opportunities for students to participate in arts events and programming both in-person and virtually to build on face-to-face engagement experiences.
2. Incorporate technology by creating a feature on the respective university app that students can download and easily access engagement opportunities on their campus through their phones.
3. Provide faculty and staff with adequate training and resources in order to expose them to how the arts can be used in student engagement and as a result, how it can be incorporated into their curriculum.
4. Create more diverse general education classes that mandate or encourage participation in art events and programming.
5. Survey under-represented or marginalized groups on campus to ascertain what types of arts programming they specifically would like to see.