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Dissertation Overviews

Vol. 28 No. 1

Academic Community-Engaged Learning and Student Mental Health and Wellness: Understanding The Lived Experiences of Undergraduate Students

  • Stephanie J. Brewer
December 4, 2023


The purpose of this study was to illuminate the experiences of undergraduate students who participated in academic community-engaged learning, specifically as those experiences related to student mental health and wellness. The data for this qualitative interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was collected through semistructured interviews with seven undergraduate students. Analysis resulted in the identification of essential components of the student community-engaged learning experience as it relates to students’ mental health and wellness and included three main themes: Identity (Head), Belonging (Heart), and Agency (Hands). The implications of these findings are many, including pedagogical considerations for community-engaged classrooms and campuswide considerations for the inclusion of high-impact practices, as well as community partner implications. Ultimately, the findings of this study will lead to a better informed, nuanced, macrolevel strategy that higher education institutions can use to impact the state of student mental health and wellness broadly.