Publication Date

Spring 5-8-2023

Document Type

Action research project: Open access

Degree Name

MA Higher Education Leadership


Leadership Studies


The commuter student population faces many challenges in getting involved on campus. Taking an asset-based approach, this study aimed to enhance first-year commuter engagement and support their sense of belonging at a private, faith-based university. By modifying McNiff and Whitehead’s model of reflect-plan-act-exhibit, students were invited to engage in several identity, community, and leadership activities throughout the academic year. Results suggest first-year commuters need role modeling or mentorship that is challenging and supportive, the support of creating a ‘third space’ away from home and school, and the development of authentic and genuine connections among peers and staff. It is recommended that practitioners acknowledge and embrace students’ commuter identity and work to increase the visibility and accessibility of commuter-targeted programming. Additionally, staff must build a community among commuter students through dedicated spaces and peer mentoring programs to strengthen and enhance first-year commuter cocurricular engagement.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a CC BY License.