Pascarella and Terenzini (2005) said, “The impact of college is largely determined by individual effort and involvement in the academic, interpersonal, and extracurricular offerings on a campus” (p. 602). Student engagement in educationally purposeful activities inside and outside the classroom has been linked to various positive outcomes. Tinto (2000) found that engagement is the single most significant predictor of student persistence. Quaye and Harper (2014) similarly saw that students who are actively engaged in educationally purposeful activities are more likely to persist through graduation.

Student engagement is connected to positive student development in the following areas: cognitive and intellectual skills, moral and ethical development, psychosocial development, and practical competency and skill development (Quaye & Harper, 2014). As students attain leadership positions on campus, such as in student organizations, they assume responsibilities in their groups and know that others depend on them for service, guidance, and follow through on important initiatives. These student leaders have a greater sense of commitment to both the organization and institution (Quaye & Harper, 2014).

The University of Iowa is committed to creating environments that support student engagement in educationally purposeful activities, and encourages every student to become actively engaged on campus in ways that support their sense of belonging, develop their skills and knowledge, and help them become effective leaders.

The University of Iowa Definition of Student Engagement

The University of Iowa defines student engagement as the intentional participation in meaningful learning experiences that foster students' academic success, sense of belonging, holistic well-being, and community involvement. Student engagement helps students develop knowledge, values, skills, and behaviors that support their success at Iowa and beyond.


active student organizations at the University of Iowa


on-campus events in Fall 2021


students at the Fall 2021 Student Involvement Fair


organizations at the Fall 2021 Student Involvement Fair