Making Meaning: How Student Affairs Came to Embrace Spirituality, Faith, Religion, and Life Purpose. A forthcoming publication from ACPA Books and Media / Stylus Press Jenny L. Small, Boston College (Editor). Overview of the session. 9:00 – 9:10: Introduction
Making Meaning: How Student Affairs Came to Embrace Spirituality, Faith, Religion, and Life Purpose
A forthcoming publication from
ACPA Books and Media / Stylus Press
Jenny L. Small, Boston College (Editor)
9:00 – 9:10: Introduction
9:10 – 9:50: Two section presentations (including Q&A for each)
9:50 – 10:00: Break
10:00 – 10:20: Third section presentation (including Q&A)
10:20 – 10:40: Small group conversation #1
10:40 – 10:50: Break
10:50 – 11:00: Discussion of themes
11:00 – 11:20: Small group conversation #2
11:20 – 11:30: Concluding conversation
This program explores the forthcoming edited volume, Making Meaning: How Student Affairs Came to Embrace Spirituality, Faith,Religion, and Life Purpose,being published by ACPA Books and Media (2014). In the last 10 to 15 years there has been a dramatic proliferation in research and best practices surrounding spirituality, faith, religion, and life purpose in the field. This session studies the questions what has enabled this topic to become an integral aspect of the field, and how we can build upon this success for the future.
How we reached a “tipping point” (Gladwell, 2000)
What the driving forces behind the change were
What fundamental transformations were caused by these changes
How these changes impacted people and institutions
How we can build upon this success
What lessons we can apply in the future
History and current state of religion, spirituality, faith, and life purpose in 3 arenas: research, association work, and practice.
Shared vision-building of where the work on religion, spirituality, faith, and life purpose can go in the future.
Utilizing an example of past fostered changes as a lesson for how to facilitate future change.
Vivienne Felix and Nicholas A. Bowman, Bowling Green State University
Sam Siner, University of Texas at Austin
Tricia Seifert, University of Toronto
Models of education from abroad
Christianity in higher education
Intersections between religion/spirituality/faith and race, culture, sexual orientation, etc.
Student experiences at public vs. private secular vs. private religious universities
Student experiences with other worldviews (e.g. Hinduism, agnosticism, Baha’i)
Religious majority students
Religious minority students
Religiously unaffiliated students
Perceiving a hostile religious/worldview climate
Well-being and academic outcomes
Sharon A. Lobdell, University of Michigan-Dearborn
Dafina-Lazarus Stewart, Bowling Green State University
Sharon: “I was out of touch until I was exposed to a climate where my religious beliefs were embraced…this nurturing allowed me to grow.”
Dafina: “Participating in ACPA’s CSFRM was one of the most spiritually formative experiences of my life.”
As professionals help guide the journey of the students they work with, they can engage in an intrapersonal journey to discover their own beliefs.
Affiliation with these associations can be critical, especially if the professional does not have a safe or open climate at their institution.
Through their research and collaborative efforts, these associations can help shape graduate programs by creating/influencing the scholarly material, articles, and competencies that will round-out the graduate preparation process.
In turn, graduates from these programs can bring more individuals with knowledge and skills concerning religious pluralism and interfaith dialogues into the profession.
Did your grad school curriculum include any discussion on spirituality, religion, or meaning making?
How are you engaging issues of spirituality, faith, religion, and life purpose through your professional association involvement?
What do you need from your professional associations as support networks for this engagement?
Kathleen Goodman and Katie Wilson, Miami University
Frank Shushok, Jr., and Patricia Perillo, Virginia Tech
Case Study: Miami University
Courses and pedagogy
Spirituality and health initiatives
2009 - Florida State University launched its Spiritual Life Project
2010 - University of Massachusetts, Amherst established the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life
2012 - Stanford University appointed its first chaplain for atheists
2013 - Elon University (NC) opened its first multifaith center for religious and spiritual life
Campus leaders “should make a thoughtful, evidence-based, purposeful effort to get in each student’s way; in fact, shaping a certain kind of campus culture may be the biggest contribution campus leaders can make.” Light (2001)
Integrative learning—learning that “engages the students in the systematic exploration of the relationship between their studies of the objective world and the purpose, meaning, limits, and aspirations of their lives” (Palmer, Zajonc, & Scribner, 2010)—is a pedagogical approach that gets in the way.
“Tragedy is a special, unique and powerful time to invite students to learn about some of the most important questions related to living: Who are we? Why are we here? How can we make the world more humane and just? (Shushok, 2010) - Virginia Tech got in the way after the April 16, 2007
1. Space and Place
2. People and Roles
3. Conversation and Community
How does this impact your research, practice, service, graduate studies?
What are the compelling issues, challenges, opportunities?
How does this presentation of the field align with your campus reality?
The future of meaning-making through research, practice, and professional associations: where do we go from here?
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