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What Does IT all Mean?. Students’ Spiritual Development in the Advising Setting. Karen B. Hauschild, First Year College , NC State University Jennah Jones, University of California-Irvine. Today’s Agenda. Defining Spirituality & Religion What the current data literature tells us
What Does IT all Mean? Students’ Spiritual Development in the Advising Setting Karen B. Hauschild, First Year College , NC State University Jennah Jones, University of California-Irvine NACADA National Conference 2012
Today’s Agenda • Defining Spirituality & Religion • What the current data literature tells us • Small group discussion • Sharing • Conclusion
Defining Spirituality & Religion • “involving our inner, subjective life...--the meaning we see in our lives.” It is also about “our sense of connectedness to one another and to the world around us.” (p. 63) • “involves devotion to, and practice of some kind of faith tradition.” (p. 83)
Current Research: Ten Measures of Spirituality and Religiousness Religious/Social Conservatism Charitable Involvement Spiritual Quest Religious Commitment Religious Skepticism Equanimity Ecumenical Worldview Religious Engagement Ethic of Caring Religious Struggle Cultivating the Sprit, p. 23
Experiences that Affect Religiousness & Spirituality Positive (+) Negative (-) Video or Computer Games Majoring in Engineering Watching T.V. Alcohol Consumption Partying High levels of religious skepticism (Cultivating the Spirit, pgs. 60, 80, 88 & 111) • Self-Reflection • Charity Work • Reading Sacred Texts • Religious MaterialsMeaningful Conversations with Faculty, Staff & Students • Meditation • Mission Trips ( Cultivating the Spirit, p. 100)
Experiences with a Positive Affect on… Spirituality Religious Development Prayer Religious Services Singing/Chanting Campus Religious Orgs • Service Learning Courses • Study Abroad • Leadership Training • Interracial Interaction • Interdisciplinary Courses • Outside Interaction w/ Faculty • Exploration of Meaning • Exploration of Purpose Cultivating the Sprit, p. 100
Current Research: Academic Major Impact • Students in Agriculture, Engineering & Social Sciences tend to decline in Religious Engagement (p. 92) • Humanities (particularly English), Fine Arts & Social Sciences can lead to a rise in religious struggles/ religious questioning (p. 106) • Students in Physical Sciences, Business & Computer Science have a lower engagement in spiritual questioning, whereas those in Fine Arts, Humanities & Health Professions have a higher engagement in spiritual questioning (p. 40) • Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, History/Political Sciences majors increases the “Ethic of Caring and Charitable involvement” (p.73) • Business, Engineering, Math & Statistics majors show a decrease over time of “Ethic of Caring and Charitable involvement” and Ecumenical Worldview (p. 73) Cultivating the Spirit
Current Research: Academic Major Impact “When college students show significant growth in equanimity [sense of calm, peacefulness, centeredness, self-transcendence, moving beyond their personal experience], their GPAs tend to improve… this is the only spiritual/religious quality that has an effect on college GPA.” (p. 50, 119)
GPA Impact • “When college students show significant growth in equanimity, their GPAs tend to improve.” (this is the only spiritual/religious quality that has an effect on college GPA) (p. 117-119). • Service-learning courses has a direct positive on students’ overall GPA, as does volunteering (outside of service learning courses and charitable giving). • Study abroad, hours spent studying and interdisciplinary courses also impact a stronger GPA. (p. 127-128). Cultivating the Sprit
We’re Afraid of… • Offending someone • Political correctness • Institutional values • To show others what we believe • Being a spiritual role model • Not being in touch with our own spiritual selves/beliefs • Peer pressure (for or against) • Others?
Small Groups What Does Spirituality Mean? How can we understand it in the most productive way possible, rather than the most problematic way? What are our personal fears/bias in having the conversations on campus (outside the expected places on campus) with each other and with students on spiritual matters in the advising context? How can we negotiate or navigate these fears? Why is it so hard for us to discuss spiritual matters? What can we do to help students explore and develop their spiritual selves through the advising process?
Small Groups How do we give ourselves (faculty/staff) permission to engage in discussions about spirituality? * When is it appropriate to bring up these matters in the advising setting/can advisors discuss religion/spirituality or do they have to wait for the student to introduce the topic? If so, what are the limits? and what do you do when a student has a spiritual crisis? How or to whom to you refer? How do we support students in their self-exploration and expressions of faith and spirituality?* *Practioner Reflection, p. 196-197
What Can We Do? • Promoting equanimity (“self-transcendence, the ability to rise above or move beyond the limits of personal experience.” (p. 50): “greater use of reflective, meditative, and contemplative practices both in and out of the classroom, and participation in group activities that are designed to serve others--community service, leadership training, and participation in student clubs and groups.” (p. 62) • Faculty play a significant role in student caring and connectedness. “Giving students responsibility for selecting topics of study or evaluating each other’s work is self-empowering in cooperative learning, and evaluating each other’s work all help students develop an understanding of others and a sense of responsibility and caring.” (p. 74) • Faculty serving as spiritual and/or religious role models for students and engaging in conversation with students. Cultivating the Spirit
What Can We Do? • “One of the surest ways to enhance the spiritual development of undergraduate students is to encourage them to engage in almost any form of charitable or altruistic activity.” ( p. 147) • Continue with initiatives in the areas of: foreign language studies, service learning, diversity, interdisciplinary courses (p. 156) • Incorporate a culture to explore spiritual development on campus, by focusing on opportunities for both students and faculty/staff through faculty/staff orientation/professional development, guest speakers on campus, interfaith forums, and integration into learning community environments (p. 152) Cultivating the Spirit
Conclusion The issues of religion and spirituality are complex. “…what is the degree of correspondence between what we directly experience in the world and how we explain it?” Consider the challenge of capturing the totality of a sunrise. How do we understand and communicate a familiar daily event? No one approach alone can deliver the comprehensive understanding of a sunrise; even the most amazing photograph…” Many approaches together can only nearly approximate a sense of [this ] phenomenon…” Spirituality in College Students’ Lives, “The Study of Spirituality: An Epilogue” p. 202-203.
Sources • Astin, Alexander W., Astin, Helen S. & Lindholm, Jennifer A. Cultivating the Spirit: How College Can Enhance Students’ Inner Lives. Jossey-Bass: 2011. • Rockernbach, Alyssa Bryant and Mayhew, Matthew J. , Editors. Spirituality in College Students’ Lives: Translating Research into Practice. Routledge: 2013. • Photos courtesy of: http://www.ask.com/pictures?q=sunrise&qsrc=8