Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

How do Christian students' academic, emotional, spiritual, and social experiences impact their spiritual identity and development at a secular institution: A grounded theory approach
by Wallace, Elizabeth, Ed.D./HE, Azusa Pacific University, 2015, 180; 3715898
Abstract (Summary)

This study explored and sought to understand the factors that lead to students’ spiritual development at a secular institution. I focused on examining the perceptions of the students in determining the factors that facilitated individual spiritual growth. The rationale behind conducting this research was that colleges and universities desire for students to have a transformative and holistic experience. Knowing the factors that facilitate growth might enable university officials to intentionally create environments that stimulate growth for all students. Using a qualitative research design, I utilized methods for establishing a grounded theory because I sought to explain how students use their social, spiritual, and emotional experiences to impact their spiritual development. I interviewed 18 upper-division, Christian students of two regional secular state-assisted universities. All interviewed students were involved with local chapters of the nationally established parachurch college student organization. The data displayed a distinct difference between the first year of a student’s academic career and subsequent years. The students detailed the first year being a time of confusion and turmoil while the upper-division years were calmer for them a period in which context is important during a time of disruption. Choices consisted of the themes of involvement and authenticity, or aligning behaviors, because of opportunities for reflection. Finally, the change category provided rich data about triggers or internal dialogue that followed from students’ experiences with disruptions to their routine thinking. Relationships, mentoring, or reading created disruptions in routine thinking. The data suggested that for students to experience growth in their spiritual identity, they must undergo a trigger that disrupts their normal thinking patterns. The reflective disruption model emerged from the vertical structure that was built from the bottom to the top with the themes of context, choice, and change. The four areas comprising the matrix’s four concept horizontal matrix are relationships, authenticity, involvement, and spiritual actions. The reflective disruption model provides a foundation upon which future research may be built.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jun, Alexander
Commitee: Kim, Young, Louis, Michelle
School: Azusa Pacific University
Department: Higher Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religious education, Spirituality, Higher education
Keywords: College student, Development, Higher education, Identity, Spirituality
Publication Number: 3715898
ISBN: 978-1-321-94230-9
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