I’ve been working on this model for several years. There are still some pieces that need to be tied up programmatically, but the general principles work and can be assessed.
This model is based on Astin’s Theory of Involvement, which says that investment level in the involvement is equivalent to value of the experience. In short, deeper involvement begets more learning and value. In that spirit, the model has levels.
- Participating in programming board events – Example: coming to a comedy show. This is passive involvement, because you’re coming to an event but engagement of self isn’t material to the event. You can just consume.
- Joining a student organization (includes Greek life) – Participating in a student organization requires more investment than just consuming. For example, member of organizations typically vote or volunteer their time for group functions.
- Leadership of a student organization – This could be any leadership position, but leadership positions have responsibilities, thus it’s a deeper level of involvement than a student organization.
What I’ve been working on is gathering information to assess this model through collecting event participation data and trying to keep our student organization rosters as up to date as possible (a mammoth task). I’d like to get the pieces of these model tied closer together, for example, having more opportunities to join organizations at programming board events, but this has proven difficult since it requires student organizations to actually come to the events. It’s a work in progress, but I think the model works and is easy to explain to staff and students.