Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

Advisor

Delores Smiley

Committee Member

Linda Simunek

Committee Member

Maryellen Maher

Abstract

In the field of Christian higher education, some educators are more concerned with marketing their programs to nontraditional students, the fastest growing segment of new enrollments. Although many view that as a blessing, the issues of mission and specifically spirituality are of concern to educators and administrators who want to avoid the secularization already impacting many fine schools in the country. At satellite locations, some educators perceive that the lack of structured practices and intentional procedures and the marketing of convenience-based structural models have watered down the offerings of Christian higher education. This applied dissertation evaluated whether spiritual development and the Christian mission was being accomplished through the development of transformative spirituality in students attending the current organizational leadership program of a Christian university in Florida. Three groups of stakeholders, faculty, staff, and students, participated in a survey questionnaire and interview process.

The study exposed the barriers that were impeding transformative spirituality at some level and provided recommendations for improvement. The hiring of Christian faculty who integrate their faith throughout the curriculum and who take the time necessary to spend with students was deemed the most essential element needed to create an environment where transformative spirituality can take place. For administrators and educators in Christian higher education who seek to fulfill their mission to “transform” students by helping them grow spiritually, not just in their skill set, this study can help them recognize the factors responsible for the existence of or lack of transformative spirituality at satellite centers catering to nontraditional students.

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