Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


Dr. Boyd Ayers


This study sought to discover if there was a significant difference between freshmen and sophomores enrolled at Tusculum College during the Spring of 1985 in terms of religious beliefs and spiritual attitudes. This study was undertaken because a low interest in religious activities was observed among students during their first two years on the Tusculum campus. Tusculum is a four-year liberal arts college related to the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. The study was conducted shortly after a report was released that indicated that only twenty-three percent of the freshman Class entering in 1981 would be graduating from the college at the end of the spring semester of 1980. The results of the study were based on data received from a questionnaire which was adapted from The College Freshman Questionnaire Developed by Devolder and Hummer (1977). The questionnaire was sent to 103 freshuan and 93 sophomores enrolled at the college in the spring semester of 1985. Fifty freshmen and fifty-one sophomores responded to the survey. The subjects responded to thirty-three items pertaining to religious doctrine and teaching, ethical and social issues and attitudes toward religious activities both on and off campus. Respondents were asked to respond to each of the items with a yes or no answer. Respondents were also asked to give complete sentence answers to the items, especially to items related to the existence or expansion of religious programs at Tusculum College. The responses from both groups indicated a high orientation to the Christian belief system and a high interest in religious activities especially of the voluntary kind. The null hypothesis that there was no significant difference between freshmen and sophomores in terms of religious beliefs and spiritual attitudes was accepted. The null hypothesis was tested with an alpha of 0.05 and the Chi-Square was calculated to be .0050. It was recommended to the Administration and the Board of Trustees at Tusculum College that consideration be given to strengthening the Religious Life Program at the college. It was recommended that more courses be taught in religious studies. It was recommended that more budget be devoted to the work of the Campus Pastor. It was pointed out that since seventy four percent of the Freshman class returned in the Fall of 1985 and sixty-eight percent of the Sophomore Class returned that students were probably not leaving college because of dissatisfaction with the religious emphasis at the school.

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