The Estimated Effects of Service Learning and Undergraduate Research on Students' Intercultural Effectiveness
Service learning and undergraduate research were both named 'high-impact educational practices' by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) for suggested positive benefits to students (see Brownell & Swaner, 2010; Kuh, 2008). Further, AAC&U identified four central learning outcomes for twenty-first century challenges, including: 'Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical World,' 'Intellectual and Practical Skills,' 'Personal and Social Responsibility,' and 'Integrative and Applied Learning' (Brownell & Swaner, 2010, p. ix). The current study examined the estimated effects of participation in service learning and undergraduate research (two high impact practices) on senior-status students' intercultural effectiveness (comparable to AAC&U's Personal and Social Responsibility learning outcome). The total effects models suggested strong, positive effects for service learning and undergraduate research on students' intercultural effectiveness. However, when the college experience and good practices variables were introduced into the direct effects model, the coefficients for service learning and undergraduate research dropped and became non-significant. Further, a mediation model suggested that indirect effects, specifically academic challenge, integrative learning, diversity experiences, and positive interactions with diverse peers had a mediating effect on students' intercultural effectiveness. Further, interaction effects were explored by race, gender, socioeconomic status, and academic ability within service learning and undergraduate research on students' intercultural effectiveness. No significant interaction effects were present, which suggested that the effect of participation in service learning or undergraduate research on students' intercultural effectiveness does not vary by gender, race, socioeconomic status, or academic ability.