How do universities recognise student volunteering? A symbolic interactionist perspective on the recognition of student engagement in higher education.

Katharina Resch, Mariella Knapp, Ilse Schrittesser

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


Student volunteering in the higher education context has been studied vastly over the last years. Kahu provided three valuable perspectives on student engagement including the behavioural, the psychological, and the sociocultural perspective on why and how students engage. This study adds a recognition perspective to student engagement, which has so far remained an under-researched topic. In this study, we apply a recognition-sensitive social theory and symbolic interactionist perspective on the topic of student engagement. Empirically, we explore the perspectives of engaged students and lecturers at the largest Austrian university, using semi-structured interviews with N = 18 participants in two fields of practice: student unions and peer mentoring. In the findings, the study identified six categories of student engagement recognition: (1) general expectations relating to recognition, (2) recognition through formal validation in the curriculum, (3) recognition through valorisation using awards, certificates, and confirmations, (4) recognition through bonus points, (5) recognition through institutional support, and (6) the process of recognition. The findings give a differentiated insight into an important and unsolved policy issue in higher education using interview data to show how student volunteering can be recognised in higher education. We conclude the article with recommendations for higher education policy and future research.
Seiten (von - bis)194-210
FachzeitschriftEuropean Journal of Higher Education
Frühes Online-Datum3 Mai 2021
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2022

ÖFOS 2012

  • 503018 Hochschuldidaktik


  • Hochschulforschung
  • freiwilliges Engagement
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