Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Katherine Garlough


The use of community service to promote learning and civic responsibility in higher education has blossomed since the 1980s. The problem addressed in this study was that although the X University initiated the required community service program in 2004, it had not assessed the effectiveness of the program from students' perspectives. Using Kolb and Kolb's conceptual framework on experiential learning, a qualitative case study was used to evaluate the perceptions of 13 4th-year students who had participated in the required community service program during their 1st-year of study. The research questions were focused on students' perceptions on how community service influenced their attitudes towards philanthropy. Data were coded and themes developed using key words from the interviews. Findings from 1-on-1 interviews revealed 4 themes: support for effective community service programs, students' personal growth and development, giving back to society with gratitude, and students' self-awareness in attitude towards the needy. The study results indicated that, the required community service program made a change in participants' lives and influenced their attitudes towards being sensitive to people with need. It is also likely to make them more philanthropic and affect positive social change. The resulting project consisted of an evaluation report recommending the reassessment of how the program is introduced to 1st-year students. Potential social change impacts include improved student experiences, as well as helping other universities in Kenya to learn from X University's experience to introduce similar community service programs.