Are we really doing all we can for our undergraduates? Professional socialization via out-of-class experiences

Kathleen McKinney, David Saxe, Laura Cobb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Research indicates that some of the most important factors in promoting individual development and academic achievement for undergraduate students are student involvement, student integration, and high effort at academic tasks (e.g., Astin 1984; Kuh 1996; Pascarella and Terenzini 1991; Terenzini and Wright 1987). Student involvement and integration are often measured by frequency of academic and social interactions with faculty members, participation in student organizations, integration into the major program, and participation in research projects. These experiences can be conceived of as part of the academic and professional socialization of students and often occur outside the traditional college classroom. In this paper, we discuss the importance of these out-of-class experiences and review the literature on outcomes of this "other" or "informal" curriculum. In addition, we argue, by sharing some data on academic and professional socialization from students, faculty members, and departments, that most departments do not adequately provide these beneficial opportunities. After a discussion of barriers to providing these experiences, we conclude with a call, and some suggestions, for increasing these important learning opportunities for our undergraduate students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalTeaching Sociology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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