Volunteerism is Associated with Improved Student Soft Skills

A Case Study in a Marine Engineering Program in the Philippines


  • Ian I. Llenares
  • Custer Deocaris Commission on Higher Education




positive psychology, volunteerism, soft skills, higher education, community outreach


In this study, we assessed student soft-skills after a 36-month long community service program in a Philippine private higher education institution. The Soft Skills-Graduate Attribute Scale was developed to measure professional competence, critical thinking skills, communication skills, lifelong learning, social and ethical responsibility, productivity, and interpersonal skills. Sixty (60) marine engineering students were purposively selected based on their participation in the various community service activities. The result shows that students who regularly volunteered have significantly higher measures of graduate attributes relating to professional competence, communication skills, and social and ethical responsibility as compared to non-regular and first-time volunteers. This study underscores the value of service learning programs in higher education in improving soft skills as well as the cross-cultural competencies of students in highly technical fields.


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Author Biographies

Ian I. Llenares

IAN I. LLENARES, Ph.D., is the Chair of the Department of Psychology, National University in Manila. His major research interest is the field of positive psychology.  Email: iillenares@national-u.edu.ph

Custer Deocaris, Commission on Higher Education

CUSTER C. DEOCARIS, Ph.D., is the former Research Chief of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).  He currently works as a research specialist of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), Department of Science and Technology, and is a graduate school professorial lecturer of the Technological Institute of the Philippines.  His current research interest is in field of “science for science & innovation policy.” Email: cdeocaris@gmail.com


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How to Cite

Llenares, I. I. ., & Deocaris, C. (2019). Volunteerism is Associated with Improved Student Soft Skills: A Case Study in a Marine Engineering Program in the Philippines. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 8(2), 57–73. https://doi.org/10.32674/jise.vi0.1152