Date of Award

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

O. Jane Thayer

Second Advisor

Jerome D. Thayer

Third Advisor

R. Clifford Jones

Abstract

Problem. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the experiences of Master of Divinity students while enrolled in the seminary and their level of spirituality upon completion.

Method. A quantitative research design with a limited qualitative piece was used to survey MDiv students who graduated in 2004. Exactly 100 participants completed the Christian Spiritual Participation Profile and an instrument that explored the degree of effort put into formal curriculum offering, and the frequency of participation in nonformal curriculum and socialization activities. Participants were also asked to share a positive experienceand to recommend changes to the seminary curriculum. The Pearson correlation and ANOVA procedures were employed to analyze the data.

Results. Spirituality correlated positively with the following: the effort students made in the formal curriculum, the frequency of participation in the nonformal and socialization areas, and the perception of faculty modeling. The effort students made in the formal curriculum produced the highest correlations with both current spirituality and the reported change in spirituality during the seminary years. Black students ranked highest in spirituality and White students the lowest. Faculty involvement in student activities made a difference in how an activity was perceived to have influenced spirituality. Outside of the seminary experiences, some of the supportive influences and/or obstacles were found to have significant relationships to the spirituality of all MDiv students.

Conclusions. Intentional spiritual emphasis in the formal and nonformal curricula, socialization, and Christian modeling of faculty enhances the spiritual growth of students. Students need to take responsibility for their own time management in order to invest enough time for regular personal devotion and in-depth study of the Word. Finally, the seminary should provide a strong community experience where fellowship among students and faculty can flourish.

Subject Area

Seminarians--Religious life, Spirituality, Master of Divinity Degree, Andrews University. Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

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