Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

Perceptions of college students of color about community service learning through tutoring

Kacie Charmion McCollum, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This study examines the perceptions of college students of color, about their community service (CS) experiences as tutors in public schools. It explores how Black and Latino students at one large public university and three small private colleges in the Northeast conceptualized their experiences as tutors, the impact of tutoring on their college education and the affects of tutoring on their career choices. This study is significant because it enhances our knowledge of the experiences of students of color in CS activities. This study has potential to generate information that is valid for the recruitment and retention of teachers of color and possibly open new avenues about the recipients of service. From a policy perspective, the information obtained is potentially useful to CS organizations, colleges and universities, public and private schools, local, state, and federal policymakers. Three methods of inquiry are used: (1) Pre-questionnaires were used to ascertain a biographical background of each participant. (2) Modified in-depth interviews were conducted with each participant and; (3) post-questionnaires provided opportunity for students to reflect on the pre-questionnaire and oral interview questions and draw further conclusions about their CS tutoring efforts. The research population included 14 undergraduate men and women of color from African American, Cape Verdean and Latino ethnic backgrounds, who participated in one of two CS tutoring projects. The findings revealed: (1) Students of color at both the large public university and the small private colleges reported that community service was an intense learning experience, prompting them to think about issues of tracking, teaching, methods, learning styles, and educational equity. (2) Students of color in both projects found themselves connecting their own educational experiences with those of their tutees, forging a crucial personal link that gave energy and commitment to their work in schools. (3) Students of color in both projects drew direct connections between their CS tutoring and their thinking about future careers; this affirmed and clarified in most cases the students plans to either enter teaching or pursue another professional field. (4) Students of color in both projects found race, ethnicity, and gender crucial to identifying with and maintaining relationships with tutees.

Subject Area

Higher education|Bilingual education|Multicultural education|African Americans

Recommended Citation

McCollum, Kacie Charmion, "Perceptions of college students of color about community service learning through tutoring" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3110532.