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The Theological Exploration of Vocation among StudentsPTEV Final Conference Lilly Endowment February 9, 2007 Cindy Miller-Perrin Don Thompson Pepperdine University
Research Hypothesis • Vocational Development is the intersection of Faith Development and Identity Development. • Vocational Development is significantly correlated with both Faith and Identity scores over time.
Research Methods2002-2006 Student Development Faith, Vocation, Identity Surveys (N=300; Response Rate=64%-83%) Interviews (N=150; Response Rate=70%-81%) Autobiographical Writings Vocation Discussion Groups
Results • Identity Development • Faith Development • Vocational Development • Significant Predictors
Ego-Identity Status Groups • Achievement: exploration and commitment • “It took me a while to figure it out, but now I really know what I want for a career.” • Moratorium: exploration without commitment • “Religion is confusing to me right now. I keep changing my views on what is right and wrong for me.” • Foreclosure: no exploration, but commitment • “My parents decided a long time ago what I should go into for employment and I’m following through with their plans.” • Diffusion: no exploration or commitment • “I haven’t really considered politics. It just doesn’t excite me much.”
Best Predictors of Vocational Maturity Faith Maturity Diffusion & Moratorium Ego-Identity Scores Personal Barriers Vocational Maturity
Conclusions • Students experience significant developmental variation over time • Strength of faith belief • Faith behavior • Identity development • The sophomore year is a particularly critical milestone • Strong Relationship Between Vocation and Faith • Strong Relationship Between Vocation and Moratorium & Diffusion Identities • Students Perceive Particular Barriers to Vocational Development • Emotional problems • Selfishness • Need for personal control • Importance of Examining Gender Differences in terms of Faith Development and Vocational Barriers
Programmatic Predictors of Vocational Development • Mentoring • Selected Readings • Autobiographical Reflection • International Program Experience • Barriers
Lessons & Opportunities for Nurturing Student Development at Christian Universities • Engender faith growth – mentoring, spiritual nourishment, challenges • Promote self-discovery – leading to achieved identity – reflective experiences – summation as well as formation • Respect the barriers • Understand dynamics of gender • Capitalize on opportunities for impact in the sophomore year – especially International Experiences
Final Details • We found gender differences with regard to faith, barriers, and service, but not discernment. • All three subscales of faith (strength of belief, faith application, and faith behavior) are related to both vocational discernment and vocation as service (with just a few exceptions) for each of the assessment time periods (baseline, first-year, sophomore, junior, senior). • Identity is also related, pretty strongly, but slightly less consistently across assessment time periods and only with vocational discernment, not vocation as service. • The significant relationships seem to be between moratorium scores and diffusion scores and the relationship is negative (higher moratorium and higher diffusion scores are related to lower vocational discernment). • Barriers (personal in particular) are also fairly consistently negatively related to vocational discernment (but not vocation as service) for most assessment time periods.