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K. Andrew R. Richards, Andrew D. Eberline and Thomas J. Templin

Secondary professional socialization is a phase of occupational socialization theory that focuses on graduate education in preparation for a career in academia. Due to the need to present and publish research and make professional contacts, professional organizations likely serve an important socializing function during graduate education. The purpose of this exploratory study was to understand graduate students’ perspectives of participating in professional organizations. Participants included 16 health and physical education graduate students who shared their experiences in focus group interviews. Data were analyzed using constant comparison and inductive analysis. Results indicate graduate students become involved in professional organizations primarily due to faculty encouragement. Participants highlighted networking as a benefit of involvement, and viewed professional learning and opportunities to present research as important to their career development. Results are discussed through the lens of occupational socialization theory, and limitations and implications for graduate student training are shared.

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K. Andrew R. Richards, Andrew D. Eberline, Sookhenlall Padaruth and Thomas J. Templin

Service-learning has become a popular pedagogical tool to promote academic and civic learning. One form of service-learning provides physical activity for underrepresented community groups, including children with disabilities. Using experiential learning theory, the purpose of this descriptive case study was to evaluate college students’ experiences in a physical activity-based service learning program for children with disabilities. Through convenience sampling, 97 program participants (82 female, 15 male), most of whom were White (N = 85), were recruited for participation. Data included a pre- and postsurvey of civic learning, participant interviews, reflective journaling, and program observations. Qualitative data were analyzed using constant comparison and inductive analysis, and quantitative data were analyzed using Mixed ANOVAs. Results revealed that the program resulted in enhanced civic and academic learning. Themes included making a difference, academic and career connections, emotional and personal growth, and program reflection. Implications of the study and future directions for research are discussed.