Sunday, March 19, 2006

Religious Professors Give More to Students

Last Sunday's look at the "Spirituality and the Professoriate" survey revealed that the "highly spiritual" professors were mostly (70%) very religious professors.

This week, I want to take a look at the measures of what the spiritual professors do that affects students and their colleges or universities as a whole. The survey had six scales:

Positive outlook in work and life [what you might call the "gruntledness index"];
Focus on students' personal development;
Civic-minded values;
Diversity advocacy;
Student-centered pedagogy; and
Civic-minded practice.

In each scale, the high-spirituality professors outscored the low-spirituality professors. Most highly spiritual professors have a positive outlook (59%), whereas most low-spirituality professors (36%) don't. The average gap is 20%.

The biggest gap comes in the focus on students' personal development. 43% of the high-spirituality professors thought it very important to invest themselves in "developing students’ moral character, enhancing their self-understanding, helping them develop personal values, providing for their emotional development, facilitating their search for meaning and purpose in life, and enhancing their spiritual development."

How many low-spirituality professors were highly interested in students' personal development? 5%.


LMR said...

Two of the professors to whom I was the closest when I was at Centre I never had in class. I met them in church. I don't think we ever discussed their beliefs or how closely related theirs were to mine, but my experience proves your point - they took such a sincere interest in my development as a person. I remember so many things I admired about them - not the least of which was their marriage, which always struck me as an equal partnership. I still try to follow their example.

I don't know if they would categorize themselves as religious, but they certainly were involved in the church and, in my opinion, lived in the example of Christ.

Gruntled said...

Good case.

You raise the interesting possibility of one might call "religious but not religious."