As the dean for Student Engagement, I am constantly reflecting on the significance of student engagement and its numerous benefits for personal and professional growth and the broader community.
When students participate in campus or community activities, such as joining student organizations, attending social events and interacting with others, it positively affects their well-being, mental health and overall satisfaction. This is because students can develop a stronger sense of connection and social support, both in and outside of the classroom. Additionally, student engagement provides opportunities for leadership roles within student organizations, clubs or initiatives.
Student engagement is a crucial factor in the overall development of students. Engagement is vital in retaining students by fostering motivation, a sense of belonging and a connection to their institution. This connection allows students to persist and complete their studies while identifying and receiving value from the institution’s mission.
Student engagement can meet the community’s needs in several ways, including service learning projects, networking and civic participation. Through community service projects, students help their neighborhoods and gain practical experience and a sense of social responsibility. Engaged students may become more civically active and aware, contributing to a more informed and vibrant community.
Waubonsee Community College offers various engagement opportunities through National Honor Societies, dozens of student clubs and organizations and the Social Leaders program. These experiences empower students to take on leadership roles in their communities and current and future professions.
Student engagement is essential for academic success and personal growth, social development and the preparation of individuals to be responsible, active and informed members of their community and society.
Moreover, as students graduate and become alumni, they may continue to contribute to the community in various ways, such as through employment, philanthropy or leadership in local organizations.
• Jami Hinshaw is dean for Student Engagement at Waubonsee Community College.