Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Timothy Herrmann

Second Advisor

Scott Gaier

Third Advisor

Skip Trudeau

Abstract

Recently, scholars and practitioners are increasingly promoting a reexamination of the role of spirituality in the college environment (Astin, 2004; Kuh & Gonyea, 2006; Lindholm & Astin, 2007). Since spirituality has often been associated with service and a variety of other humanitarian motivations, multiple higher education theorists have speculated on the relationship between the two learning outcomes. However, influential higher education researchers have noted the dearth of research on spirituality in higher education in general (Astin, Astin, & Lindholm, n.d.), and heretofore investigators have barely examined the connection between spirituality and manifestations of social action. In this study I examined the relationship between Spirituality and Social Concern and Action through a data set of 3,462 respondents surveyed by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute (HERI). I found Spirituality correlated significantly to all measurements of Social Concern and Action. I also analyzed the impact of Institutional Type on the relationship between Spirituality and Social Concern and Action. In a Multiple Analysis of Variance, I found students at institutions designated as “religious” scored significantly lower than their peers at “public” and “private” institutions in regards to Compassionate Self-Concept. In contrast, I found “public” institutions scored significantly lower than their peers at “private” and “religious” institutions on measures of Charitable Involvement and Ethic of Caring. These findings are an indication of a close link between Spirituality, Social Concern and Action, and Institutional Type.

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