Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Tim Herrmann

Second Advisor

Skip Trudeau

Third Advisor

Todd Ream


Today’s American college student enters higher education with the expectation college will play a role in spiritual development. Spiritual development is an ambiguous term to many student affairs professionals. To qualify students’ experiences of spiritual development in college, this study examined the aspects of the college experience affecting a student’s God image. The God image, a construct encompassing myriad ways of viewing and understanding God, serves as a working model or metaphor of the person of God. The researcher chose God image as a construct for this study because it changes as a result of experiences. Using a qualitative approach and phenomenological design, this study explored the essence of the aspects of college having the greatest effect on a student’s God image. Major themes from the data included relationships, settings, and specific conditions within which students noted their understanding of God changed. The implications of this research provide direction to student affairs professionals as they seek pathways for faith development among college students.