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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Patterns of participation, modes of exclusion : undergraduate students’ experience of community at a research-intensive university Hawkey, Colleen


The purpose of this study was to come to an understanding of the meaning and experience of community for undergraduate students at a research-intensive university. It was assumed that exploring community bounded by disciplinary affiliation would be a valuable approach to understanding this phenomenon within the context of the researchintensive university. In-depth interviews were conducted with 23 third year Psychology students pursuing either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree, and a survey designed to explore key aspects of interviewees' experiences was administered to a larger cohort of such students. Students' experiences were examined through the lens of constitutive and individualistic community frameworks, and ideal and actual experiences were compared. The results of this study show that a focus on disciplinary affiliation was a useful approach to understanding the meaning of community. Results document the significant influences of disciplinary affiliation on community membership and belonging. This exploration revealed that issues of community membership, involvement, and belonging were longitudinal processes that entailed complex patterns of participation and modes of exclusion that were influenced by students' aspirations and obligations as well as structural characteristics of the Psychology department and of the research-intensive university.

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