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graduate students, group activities, public administration education, service learning, program effectiveness, higher education, statistical analysis, outcomes of education, student characteristics, surveys, communication skills, regression (statistics)


This study provides a greater understanding of which factors influence the effectiveness of service learning projects at improving graduate students’ professional skills. Data for this study was gathered from students in eight Master of Public Administration (MPA) courses taught during two semesters at a large state university. Younger students were more likely than older students to believe that their service learning project was helpful in improving their professional skills. We also find that students who spent more time working on a service learning project outside of class reported their projects were more helpful in improving their professional skills. In addition, our ANOVA analysis indicates that for projects involving group activities, students who were members of groups that worked as teams reported that their projects were more helpful in improving their professional skills than students in less cohesive groups.


This is the accepted version of a paper published in College Teaching. This paper has been peer-reviewed but does not include the final publisher proof-corrections or journal pagination

Publisher Attribution

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in College Teaching in 2010, available online: doi:10.1080/87567550903583777.

Lu, Yi, & Lambright, Kristina T. (2010). Looking beyond the Undergraduate Classroom: Factors Influencing Service Learning's Effectiveness at Improving Graduate Students' Professional Skills. College Teaching, 58(4), 118-126. doi:10.1080/87567550903583777.



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