USF St. Petersburg campus Faculty Publications


What Motivates Today’s Criminal Justice Student to Become an Engaged Learner?

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Shelly M. Wagers

Document Type


Publication Date



Print: 1051-1253 Online: 1745-9117


The use of student-centered High Impact Practices (HIPs) has become increasingly popular across university and college faculty. HIPs increase student development of critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills. HIPs also provide students the opportunity to engage in real-world application of course knowledge. While HIPs increase student engagement and intrinsic motivation, little research has explored student perception of these concepts. This article describes a pilot course offered to upper level criminal justice students that incorporated three HIPs: undergraduate research, collaborative assignments, and service/community-based learning. Semi-structured interviews were used to facilitate individual student discussion regarding their perceptions and experiences of the course related to their level of motivation and engagement as compared to traditional classes. Results indicated student expectations for the course were exceeded; students believed the course would positively impact their future career/education plans; and the HIPs motivated the students to engage more than their traditional lecture-oriented courses.


Taylor & Francis