Faith development and higher education
Is Version Of
In recent years there has been a growing interest in the faith and spirituality of the college student. James Fowler introduced his theory of faith development in 1978 claiming that every person has a faith which develops in ways similar to other forms of human development. Does James Fowler's theory provide significant information for a further understanding of the spiritual development of the college student? Does higher education need to be concerned with the faith development of its students?;This dissertation is made up of four articles dealing with each question. The study begins with an article presenting the argument that higher education needs to concern itself with the faith development of the college student. The second article provides a detailed comparison of faith development with five other developmental theories. The third article claims an existential link exists between faith development and other developmental theories. The fourth article presents a careful analysis of five first-year students at a Christian college with a focus on perceptions of the students relationships with their parents;The investigator used a purposive sample of two men and three women first-year students at a Christian college. The interviews were conducted using Fowler's research questions to begin the conversations with the respondents. Through a use of grounded theory the data were organized and categorized until a clear pattern began to form. The pattern of data suggested that the perceptions the students had of their parents had an affect on their perceptions of all else in life. Fowler's theory provided many explanations for the responses of the students but did not address the perceptions the students had of their parents and how those perceptions were expressed in their interpretations of life issues.