Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hoffman, David M.

Committee Member

Tijerina, Milena Melo

Committee Member

Copeland, Toni

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 3 Years

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only


Applied Anthropology

Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures


Service to the community is a key element in mission statements of public and private universities. In the 21st century, higher education shifted by establishing community engagement offices and encouraging student community service through service-learning. Previous literature indicated that experiential learning increased ethnocultural empathy and volunteerism among college students. This study compares two experiential learning programs’ influence on the ethnocultural empathy development among college students at Mississippi College, a private, religious-affiliated university to explore how this empathy increases community service. 38 students were asked to complete the Scale of Ethnocultural Empathy (Wang et al. 2003) and were interviewed about their service-learning and mission experience. This study found that service-learning students develop more cultural empathy than mission trip students. These findings show that applying anthropological methods to evaluating service-learning programming can help understand how it develops cultural empathy and give insight into how to continue to increase intercultural competence among students.



cultural applied anthropology