Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Scott Moeschberger

Second Advisor

Tim Herrmann

Third Advisor

C. Skip Trudeau


The integration of faith and learning serves as a central tenet for Christian higher education. Though valued for its guiding principles of faithful scholarship, the ambiguous and philosophical nature of the concept leaves a gap of understanding of how faith-learning is actualized, let alone actualized excellently, in the classroom. In order to explore the essence of the concept, 11 academic teaching faculty members selected for their exemplary faith-learning work from a small faith-based liberal arts institution were interviewed. Representing a diverse field of disciplines, the interviews explored the faculty members’ excellence in faith-learning conceptualization and practice. Strong emergent themes resulted in the Faith-Integration Formation Model (FIFM), an interconnected and holistic process of exemplary faith-learning practice. Components of the FIFM included the role of an educational ally, comprised of the faculty member’s personhood interacting with their deep understanding of faith-learning and specific discipline. Their deep understanding was given praxes through what they did both in their faculty role and in the pedagogical practices. These praxes served as a catalyst to their strategic hopes for students, including cultivating intellectual virtues and prompting self-authorship. Exemplifying the interconnectedness of the model, the strategic hopes for students emerged from the faculty members’ deep understanding of faith-learning as well as the convictions they themselves embodied. The FIFM expands the faith-learning conversation in a holistic manner, stimulating thoughts on the roles of educational allies, intentional praxes of faith-learning integration, and strategic hopes for students.