Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Kelly Kennedy, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Angel Miles Nash, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Nicol R. Howard, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the primary characteristics of engineering college students’ involvement in out-of-class activities (OA) at one private college in China through the use of the translated and culturally adapted Chinese version of the Postsecondary Student Engagement Survey (PosSES 2.1). This study provides the statistical analyses of the survey data completed by 283 senior engineering students on their perceptions about their levels of involvement related to positive/negative outcomes students perceive and affective engagement. Data results showed all levels of involvement have a significant influence on positive outcomes. Besides, active involvement degree, hours, and types of OA have significant differences in engineering students’ affective engagement. Only the number of OA in which students were involved has a significant influence on negative outcomes and had no difference for affective engagement. Moreover, results reported a strong correlation between affective engagement and positive outcomes. These findings confirmed the importance of participation in OA and indicated paying attention to the quality of OA involvement other than the quantity was essential for colleges and universities, educators and policymakers, and engineering undergraduates. Furthermore, this study provides descriptive statistics on participants’ reported data on identifying incentives for and barriers to out-of-class involvement. To date, existing Chinese literature has primarily focused on student engagement and learning outcomes. However, this study provides evidence that OA involvement is a practical pathway to Chinese engineering college students’ development and makes affective engagement a significant contributor to student engagement measures in engineering education. Significantly, the PosSES 2.1 (Chinese version) that measures different facets of engineering students’ out-of-class engagement meets the urgent need of Chinese higher education to investigate and understand the status quo of engineering students’ OA involvement. Additionally, this study provides new insight for educators and policymakers to analyze the reasons for problematic out-of-class involvement that could help them design meaningful OA and create new approaches to mitigate the crisis of engineering undergraduates’ low retention rate and persistence. Future researchers should consider exploring more complex dimensions and broaden the research perspective in this area.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.