Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James Keen; Cheryl Keen


Current literature suggests the institution of higher education is exploring its identity and role in society, much like the emerging adults who enroll in their programs as traditional aged undergraduates. Literature also reveals that society is asking undergraduate institutions to meet the diverse needs of its students and prepare them for adulthood and life long learning. However, research also highlights the need for students to be educated for participation within an interconnected and complex global society able to facilitate positive social change. Using a developmental lens, this interpretive case study addressed these current needs through interpreting perceptions of undergraduates and recent graduates about their learning within a student organization focused on global social justice. Data were gathered through 15 survey responses, 8 individual interviews, and a focus group of recent graduates as well as a reflexive journal by the researcher, a former faculty advisor of the student organization. All data were coded for emergent themes and evidence of developmental tasks of emerging adulthood and transformative learning. Findings indicated participants of this study experienced sustained transformative learning as undergraduates as a result of engagement in global social justice activism within a student organization. These findings draw attention to the role played by developmental tasks of identity exploration and commitment in undergraduate learning, the potent contributions of a student organization to academic learning, and the transformative power of undergraduate engagement in global social justice awareness and activism for positive social change.