Co-journeying: Fostering Student Faith Development in College

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Title: Co-journeying: Fostering Student Faith Development in College
Author: Heckman, Barbara L.
Advisors: Carol Kasworm, Committee Co-Chair
Colleen Aalsburg Wiessner, Committee Chair
Deb Collins Luckadoo, Committee Member
Leila Gonzalez Sullivan, Committee Member
Abstract: Within the United States, religious pluralism has given rise to a new era of spiritual renewal (Roof, 1993). In light of this renewal, many church-related colleges and student affairs professionals have raised the question regarding the purpose and mission of colleges to include spirituality as a component of college student development (Chickering, 2004; Love & Talbot, 1999, and Mahoney, Schmalzbauer, & Younis, 2001). The purpose of this study is to advance this discussion of fostering spirituality by exploring how two Protestant-affiliated colleges incorporated faith development activities into their overall program. Using a qualitative institutional case study approach, this research explored formal, informal, and non-formal organizational aspects of the colleges as well as individual activities and interactions of students within these organizational components. The conceptual framework for this study came from Argyris and Schön (1996, 1974) theories-of-action and use of organizational mapping. Through data synthesis of document and artifact analysis, organizational processes where mapped, revealing relationships and complexities for fostering student faith development. Participant interviews affirmed these relationships and complexities, further illuminating organizational strategies for fostering student faith development. A new conceptual model emerged, identifying co-journeying as the key institutional strategy for fostering student faith development. Elements of co-journeying include environment, opportunities, openness to growth, exposure, intention, engagement and exploration. These elements are interrelated, and when combined, afford students the richness of interactions and reflections necessary to foster faith development. Co-journeying is then shown within the organizational map as the key institutional strategy for fostering faith development. Student faith development advances when foundational influences of denominational ties, mission, and the programmatic structures of the college commit to creating environment and opportunities for student exploration. This study lays the foundation for further research on student faith development by exploring the relationship of these elements of co-journeying with learning communities (Tinto, 1997, Zhao & Kuh, 2004), Astin's (1999) theory of involvement, Kuh and Hu's (2001) research on faculty engagement and Bryant and Astin's (2008) research on spiritual struggles of college students.
Date: 2008-07-24
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Higher Education Administration

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