Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Stephen Bedi

Second Advisor

Todd Ream

Third Advisor

Scott Gaier


Using national HERI data – 14,407 respondents –this study tested the impact of involvement on longitudinal changes in students’ self-ratings and goals. The aspiration was to explore research-based principles to provide students with resolute answers to questions of calling. The results of the study indicated that the quantity of student involvement matters in the development of calling. The regression outcomes substantiated the hypothesis that greater levels of involvement positively correlate to higher levels of calling indicators in the lives of college students as represented by CIRP constructs. On average in the sample, students’ calling indicators changed very little between their first year of college and graduation. For example, their Academic Self-Concept increased less than a single point on a 100-point scale. The largest gains were observed in Social Self-Concept and Social Agency, yet both increased approximately 3-points on a 100-point scale. The experimental scale, Philosophy of Life, was designed based on the conceptual parallels in the definitions of calling and maintaining a meaningful philosophy of life. Reliability analysis was conducted revealing a Cronbach’s Alpha score of .587 indicating a moderate coefficient of reliability. Among the five involvement constructs explored, Habits of Mind and Leadership predicted statistically significant effects on all four of the criterion variables. These two involvement constructs were the most prevalent in the final model for each outcome. A conceptual alignment between these constructs and the relevant literature on calling along with implications for higher education practice are explored.