Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Todd Ream

Abstract

Since the beginning, American colleges and universities featured mandatory chapel exercises. Secularization reduced the influence and occurrence of these exercises. Despite this, member institutions within the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities retained the mandatory nature as a necessary bulwark against secularization. However, one such institution in the Midwest witnessed high student chapel attendance rates while holding a non-mandatory policy. Utilizing focus groups from each floor of every first-year student living area, five distinctive themes emerged to provide context for this phenomena: desire for spiritual growth, desire for community solidarity, perception of chapel speaker quality, desire for choice or self-actualization, and competing personal needs. Recommendations for practice centered on how housing administrators structure the sense of belonging and connection among residential students in order to influence chapel attendance.

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