Results & Impact


The Shriver Center has a proven track record of successfully engaging students in applied learning and is poised to assist in making this valuable student success strategy available to all UMBC students. Shriver Center assesses all of its programs on a regular basis using a variety of qualitative and quantitative strategies.

Examples of results include the following:

  • Service-Learning Demonstrates Positive Impact on Student Success: In 2019, Dr. Delana Gregg successfully completed her doctoral program in Language, Literacy, and Culture. In Dr. Gregg’s dissertation, entitled: ‘Effects of “High-Impact Practices” on First-Generation College Students’ Academic Success, over 15,000 student records from UMBC were analyzed from 2013-2018 to estimate the effects of “high-impact practice” participation on student success.  Students who participated in service-learning were matched with similar students who did not (using propensity score matching and regression, including key variables that lead to student success: high school grades, grades at UMBC, number of credits completed, under-represented minority status, gender, living on campus). After matching on propensity score to determine treatment effects of service learning participation, there was a statistically significant increase in retention beyond the second year (10-11 percentage points increase) and in retention beyond the third year (13 percentage points) for first-time students.Also, 9,985 survey responses were analyzed from students who had participated in the “high-impact practices.”  Students who participated in service-learning reported significant increases in their academic engagement (critical thinking skills and learning academic knowledge and skills) and their social engagement (interpersonal communication, oral presentation and interacting across diversity.
  • Applied Learning Demonstrates Positive Impact on Student Learning and Development:  In FY14, Dr. Thomas Penniston successfully completed his doctoral program in Language, Literacy and Culture. Dr. Penniston’s dissertation, entitled: “The Impacts of Service-Learning Participation upon Post-Secondary Students’ Academic & Social Development” involved quantitative and qualitative methods, including 18 years of longitudinal data, representing 55,000 students and numerous statistical controls. His qualitative component involved 10 semi-structured interviews. This study provides an in-depth analysis of students’ academic, personal and social development. Specific findings suggest:
    • Service-learning students who engaged in Shriver Center experiences demonstrate a diverse set of advantages over students who did not engage in similar experiences including academic development, pro-social growth and community binding mechanisms.
    • In particular, service-learning students were significantly more likely to:
      • Have higher final cumulative GPAs than non-applied learning students;
      • Have attempted and earned more credits;
      • Graduate with honors;
    • Service-learning students four-year graduation rate was significantly higher than non-applied learning students.
  • Every semester, the Center collects data describing the impact of applied learning on student learning and development.  Students report the impact of their experiences on their cognitive functional competencies (e.g., critical analysis and reasoning) as well as their professional and affective/personal development. In FY19, as a direct result of their applied learning experiences, participants reported their:

93% – interpersonal communication skills increased

88% – awareness of civic responsibilities increased

87% – helped them grow as a leader

85% – ability to solve problems increased

84% – skills in teamwork and collaboration increased

83% – increased their intercultural awareness and perspective

78% – increased their self-confidence

78% – ability to apply their education to work increased

73% – oral presentation skills increased

70% – ability to view their career expectations realistically increased 

67% – motivation to continue and persist to graduation increased

67% – applied learning experience related to their major or career goals

Of these students, 96% recommended an internship/work/co-op-research/service to another student.

*Data collected from UMBCworks Student and Placement Surveys (Student/Self Survey, n=845; Placement/Site Survey, n=838).

  • Shriver Living Learning Community (SLLC) Shows Positive Impact on Residents:  Data from the annual Educational Benchmarking Incorporated (EBI) Resident Satisfaction Survey suggests positive outcomes for students participating in the SLLC:
    • Strengthens Graduation and Retention – 6.32 (out of 7), statistically significant above the “ALL LLC” mean of 5.78;
    • Integrates academic and social life – 6.08 (out of 7);
    • Life Skills are strengthened by balancing social and academic commitments – 5.81 (out of 7).
  • Public Service Scholars (PSS) Programs Show Positive Impact on Alumni: Community Psychology graduate student, Lisa Shanty, conducted an evaluation of the Center’s Public Service Scholars Programs. A survey of 209 alumni revealed positive professional and personal impact of the PSS experience on the participants, including: clarifying career goals (95% agree); deepening understanding of the public/nonprofit/social sector (96% agree); increasing interest in working in the public/nonprofit/social sector (94% agree); increasing feelings of preparedness to enter their career field (94% agree); and, increasing confidence in professional competencies such as leadership (96% agree), presentation skills (95% agree), professional networking (94% agree), and team collaboration (92% agree). Alumni also shared how their participation impacted their ability to see themselves as a public servant/change agent, including: the importance participants assigned to serving others in their careers (5.7 on a 6 point scale from not at all important to extremely important) and an increase in their confidence to make a difference in the world (91% agree). All respondents except one (n = 60) indicated employment or enrollment in a graduate program in the public and/or social sector after graduation.
  • The Center’s Choice Program Continues to Demonstrate Positive Outcomes for Baltimore’s Youth and Families:  Choice continues to demonstrate positive outcomes for Baltimore’s youth and families: In FY14, through intensive advocacy, Choice served nearly 500 youth and families. Ninety-two percent (92%) of Choice youth were not adjudicated with new charges during their time in the program and 87% remained in the community at the time of program completion. Choice served 73 DSS youth and their families, with 77% of youth remaining with their families during Choice’s intervention. This year, 42 students were served by the Baltimore City Education team at Lakeland Elementary/Middle School. 88% of youth reduced or maintained the number of suspensions compared to the previous school year, while 95% of them reduced or maintained the number of behavioral referrals. 93% of program participants engaged in positive and educational after-school or out-of-school activities with Choice Program Fellows.
  • Retention Data, Office of Institutional ResearchUMBC data reveal that first-time, full-time freshmen engaging in applied learning experiences are more often retained and graduate at significantly higher rates than students who do not engage in similar experiences (OIR, 2005).