Student Engagement: A Multiple Layer Phenomenon

Jodie Conduit, Ingo Karpen, Francis Farrelly

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Universities are seeking to actively and strategically manage student engagement through providing opportunities for students to interact and engage with the institution on a range of levels and in different ways. However, this increasingly complex and multi-layered nature of student engagement within a tertiary education environment is not well understood. Through qualitative focus groups and a series of interviews with undergraduate and postgraduate students, this study explores and articulates the cognitive, emotional, behavioural and social dimensions of engagement that depict the nature of student engagement. This is one of the first studies that considers social engagement as a dimension of the broader engagement construct and provides an illustration of social engagement at different levels within a tertiary education setting. Further, we demonstrate that engagement occurs with three key focal objects (or levels) embedded within the university structure; the lecturer, course and the institution itself. Hence, this paper contributes to the literature by providing a multi-layered consideration of student engagement and demonstrating the nested nature of engagement across the broad service system (the university), the narrow service system (the course), and the individual dyadic level of engagement (the student-lecturer interaction). These findings could be further considered and empirically tested in other engagement contexts (e.g. employee engagement, customer engagement).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaking a Difference Through Marketing : A Quest for Diverse Perspectives
EditorsCarolin Plewa, Jodie Conduit
Number of pages17
Place of PublicationSingapore
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)9789811004629
ISBN (Electronic)9789811004643
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Student engagement
  • Social engagement
  • Tertiary education
  • Service system
  • Students

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