Semester of Graduation

Spring 2020

Degree

Master of Arts in Education (MAE)

Department

Higher Education Administration

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Within the last 30 years, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives have been at much of the forefront of student affairs and higher education policy and practices. Issues regarding gender, race, and socioeconomic status have received much attention not only in education, but also in the greater landscape of the nation. Religious and spiritual minority students are a population that has only recently been considered in fostering a more inclusive and pluralistic college environment. Thus, there is a research gap involving religious/spiritual minority college students and their perceptions of the campus climate. Additionally, only a small pool of research addresses the spiritual dimension of a campus climate.

This qualitative case study focuses on eight religious and spiritual minority students at a large, public university in the southeast. Data collected involved their experiences with the campus spiritual climate, utilizing a Four Dimension Campus Climate Framework (Hurtado et al., 1998). The results of this study showed that while most of the participants had positive views of the campus climate in terms of their social experiences, the majority of participants viewed the spiritual dimension of the campus climate as indifferent and inadequate in serving religious minorities. The implication of this study is the need for higher education professionals to create an engaging and inclusive spiritual campus climate for all students to learn and develop in cross-cultural awareness.

Committee Chair

Chen, Yu

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