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This case study used social network analysis methods to examine the evolution of friendship and academic collaboration networks among students in first-year seminar courses. Specifically, our research compared friendship and academic collaboration networks among students in courses with a significant focus on community engagement with networks among students in courses that did not require community engagement. We analyzed these networks using UCINET (Borgatti et al., 2002), a social network analysis software package. We first studied network cohesion measures—density, diameter, and average path length—to understand how easily information spread among classmates. Secondly, we studied network centralization measures—degree, closeness, and betweenness—which help to identify power inequalities in social groups (Hanneman, 2001). Results of our study suggest that integrating community engagement projects into curricula helps reduce power inequalities. In other words, community engagement projects appear to encourage the creation of connected friendships among first-year students.


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  • Alternative title
    • Social Networks and Community Engagement

  • Journal title
    • Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship

  • Volume
    • 13

  • Issue
    • 2

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • License
  • Keywords