Independent study courses give students an opportunity to explore topics that may be outside the box of regular programs. Marketing department graduate assistant Yousry ElDardiry took advantage of this opportunity to collaborate with marketing department head Dr. Ismet Anitsal and Dr. Meral Anitsal to learn more about the impact of service learning on community engagement. Their paper, titled “Service-Learning Programs and Community Engagement: An Analysis of Student Reflections”, received a Distinguished Research Award and is under review for a refereed journal publication
Yousry ElDardiry, now an alumnus of the College of Business’ Master of Project Management program, is an international student from Egypt who came to Missouri State for its well-acclaimed curriculum after studying at Alexandria University. ElDardiry became a graduate assistant for the marketing department in the spring of 2020 and worked closely with Dr. Ismet Anitsal on this research project.
In the fall 2020, ElDardiry enrolled in an Independent Study in Marketing course led by Dr. Ismet Anitsal. Working together once again, the pair decided to investigate the impact of the public affairs pillars that are pursued by Missouri State University, particularly community engagement. “We wanted to explore some important reflections of students’ understanding and activities of community engagement using their skills gained while they are at MSU to make a positive impact on the world around themselves,” says Anitsal. The duo was later joined by Dr. Meral Anitsal, professor at the Tennessee Tech University, to bring additional perspective and insight to the research.
Several departments at Missouri State offer courses that have a service-learning element. “Service-learning classes help students gain hands-on experience won the business environment based on real life situations,” says Anitsal. “It gives the students a chance to reach out with hands of expertise to help local partners in the community.” The goal of the research was to gain insight into the impacts of these service-learning opportunities.
ElDardiry was responsible for analyzing the qualitative data from graduating students’ exit surveys. He reviewed over 500 surveys to find emerging themes in the data. This information was then categorized by themes, allowing the team to reach conclusions about the important impact of service-learning on community engagement. “Communities cannot thrive without the help of its people,” says ElDardiry. “Even the slightest contribution to the community makes it better for the upcoming generations.”
“Service-Learning Programs and Community Engagement: An Analysis of Student Reflections” by ElDardiry, Anitsal and Anitsal was presented at the Institute for Global Business Research (IGBR) Virtual Spring 2021 Conference in mid-April. The team’s paper received a Distinguished Research Award at the conference, and the abstract is published in the IGBR conference proceedings (Vol. 5, No. 1, ISSN 2576-2699). The full paper is currently under review for wider publication through the Global Journal of Business Pedagogy.