Student perceptions of a community engagement experience: Exploration of reflections on social responsibility and professional formation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Physical therapy educators are challenged to emphasize the importance of social responsibility as a vital curricular element of professional development. Through reflection, students are able to identify core values, beliefs, and attitudes as part of the professional development process. The purpose of this study was to explore student perceptions and values of a community engagement experience based upon frequency of participation. This qualitative research report investigated student perceptions of the community experience following participation. Data collection tools included an open-ended questionnaire and focus group interviews. Comparisons were made across data for participants who engaged in the activity one time versus multiple times. Data analysis revealed participation in the community engagement experience had a positive impact on most participants. One time only participants demonstrated increased self-awareness, contemplating change, and capacity to serve while more than one time participants described a deeper understanding of community, impact on others, and professional transformation. Student involvement in community engagement activities combined with structured reflection provided meaningful insight into participants' personal beliefs. The results suggest incorporation of community-based learning experiences into academic curriculum may be beneficial in the students' preliminary understanding of social responsibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-421
Number of pages11
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Cite this