Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

John V.G. Matthews

Second Advisor

Cheryl D. Doss

Third Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Abstract

Problem and Purpose. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a deep concern for youth and young adults' spirituality. Hence the church established institutions of higher learning with the aim of restoring in youth and young adults the image of God in which they were created. There are programs and activities in these institutions to accomplish the aim, but there is still concern among church leaders and parents that young people will abandon their faith and exit the church. This study explored the influence of interactions between students and university personnel in selected Adventist universities in West Africa that, apart from programs and activities, might facilitate the development of biblical spirituality.

Method. A quantitative research design was used to survey students of the two selected Adventist universities in West Africa, Babcock University (Nigeria) and Valley View University (Ghana). A sample of about 800 students was randomly chosen from the two universities; 787 students gave responses good enough for analysis. The instrument used for the study was adapted from the Christian Spirituality Participation Profile (CSPP) and the Multidimensional Measurement of Religiousness/Spirituality (MMRS). The participants indicated the frequency of their interaction with university personnel and the perceived impact of the interaction on student spirituality. The participants also indicated their level of spirituality. Descriptive analysis was used to determine the frequency of interaction, the perceived impact of interaction on student spirituality, and the level of student spirituality. One-Way ANOVA was used to determine the influence of some demographic factors on frequency of interaction and perceived impact of interaction on student spirituality. Canonical correlation was used to determine the interrelationships between interaction and student spirituality on the one hand, and the perceived impact of interaction and student spirituality on the other.

Results. The level of interaction with students was higher with faculty than other university personnel. The perceived impact of interaction on student spirituality was higher with faculty than other university personnel. Student spirituality was high. Students who were older in age, at a higher level of study, and who were Adventist had more interaction with university personnel. Student spirituality correlated with interaction with university personnel and perceived impact of interaction on student spirituality. Students who were older in age, in a higher level of study, and Adventist had higher levels of spirituality.

Conclusion. Intentional interaction with students by university personnel from the time of enrollment will help students to develop biblical spirituality. The interaction has to be positive and with authentic concern for students' holistic growth. Universities should be loving communities where students can freely discuss spiritual matters. The religious backgrounds of students should not determine the interaction between university personnel and students.

Subject Area

Students--Africa, West--Religious life, Universities and colleges--Africa, West--Employees, Seventh-day Adventist universities and colleges--Africa, West--Employees, Spiritual life, Faith development, Moral development.

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