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ERIC Number: ED515293
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 177
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-7669-3
Catholic Culture and Student Spiritual Development in Catholic Higher Education: The Student Perspective
Ackerson, Betsy V.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia
The Catholic Church, in "The Application of Ex corde Ecclesiae for the United States," has appealed to its affiliated colleges and universities to renew their institutional missions. This includes a responsibility to cultivate and support the spiritual development of their students. In a recent national study of student spirituality, 80% of college students expressed having an interest in their spiritual life. To support students in their spiritual development requires an understanding of the relationship between an institution's religious culture and student spiritual development. This study investigates the relationship between Catholic collegiate culture and student spiritual development. The study is informed by Chickering's theory of student development, Fowler and Parks' theories of spiritual development, and uses the Catholic culture framework developed by Melanie Morey and John Piderit, SJ to analyze student survey data from the National Survey of Student Engagement and its Consortium of Catholic Colleges and Universities. Institutions in the study represent all Catholic culture types. Catholic culture analysis reveals the importance of integrating Catholic culture into academics and student life, and the limited role of campus ministry in determining Catholic culture. Data analysis confirms that (1) there is a direct relationship between students' deepened sense of spirituality and their perceptions of institutional support for student spiritual development; (2) differences do exist between Catholic culture types; and (3) students' reported perceptions of Catholic culture types are not necessarily in accord with stated institutional objectives vis-a-vis spiritual development. Findings from this study challenge Catholic colleges and universities (1) to more fully incorporate their institutional Catholic culture across all parts of the institution; (2) to pursue with greater commitment the spiritual development of their students; (3) to create new instruments that assess spiritual development and institutional support for spiritual development; and (4) issue a clarion call to the majority of Catholic institutions to address the inconsistencies between stated institutional objectives and students' reported experiences in the area of knowledge and spiritual maturity in the practice of the Catholic faith. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A