College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 11-20-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Joseph R. Ferrari, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Howard Rosing, Ph.D.


The current study explored the relationships within a higher education institution between innovative and inclusive mission-identity perceptions and school sense of community among first-generation U.S. citizens and first-generation college students, with varying racial backgrounds. During Fall 2012, a total of 4,492 participants at a large, urban, and Catholic university completed the Innovative and Inclusive (I/I) subscale from the DePaul Mission and Values Inventory as well as the School Sense of Community (SSOC) scale. Two 2 x 2 x 5 ANCOVAS were run to determine whether there were any differences across generation statuses and racial background for both measures. Additionally, regression analyses were run to determine whether students’ perceptions of the campus mission as innovative and inclusive predicted students’ scores on the school sense of community scale. Results found that Caucasian students reported a stronger school sense of community, whereas Hispanic students reported stronger mission-identity perceptions. Furthermore, generational statuses significantly interacted for SSOC, whereas first-generation college students perceived higher I/I perceptions compared to non-first-generation college students. Moreover, students’ perceptions of I/I significantly predicted students’ SSOC scores. Implications for Community Psychology and higher education policy are discussed.