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Fox, Joseph C.
Evangelical students in American higher education
h [electronic resource] /
by Joseph C. Fox.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 302 pages.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: This qualitative study explored the perceptions of evangelical freshmen students attending the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Texas at Dallas during the spring semester of 2006 in the context of student alienation. The purpose of this study was to explore the possibility that evangelicals attending secular universities were perceiving alienation through their interactions with their universities. It was hypothesized that the modern university, having evolved into its present naturalistic worldview condition, might prove alienating to evangelicals from a worldview standpoint. Assuming the possibility that alienation might prove to be a reality for evangelicals, the subordinate purposes were intended to discover the types and sources of alienation, the possible evangelical coping strategies, and their perceptions of the university's reaction to them as evangelicals.During the spring semester of 2006, I conducted two live interviews with twenty participants. The first interview included a questionnaire which was administered for the purpose of providing insight into each participant's religiosity or evangelical commitment. The first interview (conducted prior to spring break) asked the students to reflect back upon their first semester experience (the fall of 2005). The second interview, conducted towards the end of the spring semester, was oriented towards the second semester experience. I found that all evangelicals but one had successfully assimilated socially and academically into their respective university. Their academic assimilation was primarily manifested by their relatively high academic achievement. Although they did experience worldview related incongruence, it was not severe enough to manifest any related attrition.I found the most severe incongruence to be related to the perceptions of a negative university moral ethos combined with the prevailing naturalistic monism of the university that relegated the Christian worldview to marginalization or irrelevance. I also found that the high level of social integration was primarily related to participant affiliation with various evangelical entities independent of the university. The data revealed that zero participants lost or abandoned their evangelical faith during their freshman year, and the students' perceived that they had actually experienced positive growth in their spiritual lives as a result of the overall college freshman experience.
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Co-advisor: William Young, Ph.D.
Co-advisor: Michael Mills, Ph.D.
x Adult, Career & Higher Education
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Evangelical Students in Am erican Higher Education by Joseph C. Fox A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Adult, Career, & Higher Education College of Education University of South Florida Co-Major Professor: William Young, Ed.D. Co-Major Professor: Michael Mills, Ph.D. Robert Sullins, Ed.D. Bobbi Greenlee, Ed.D. Date of Approval: June 9, 2008 Keywords: alienation, incongrue nce, isolation, worldview, retention, evangeli cal, malintegration Copyright 2008, Joseph C. Fox
Dedication For Jesus Christ The One who died that I might live. And For Yvette Fox The one who persevered with me in this project and encouraged me to complete it.
Acknowledgements I would like to thank my pa rticipants, the young evangelical s at the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Texas at Dallas. I appreciate their willingness to sacrificially share their time and experiences with me during a critical and busy period in their lives Â– their freshman year. Their love fo r Christ, their love for one another and their love for their universities was encouraging to me. They truly are Â“the light of the world.Â” Thank you to Dr. William Young, Dr. Michael Mills, Dr. Robert Sullins and Dr. Bobbi Greenlee for their service on my dissertat ion committee. I am particularly grateful to these professors as they carefully and pa tiently guided me through a challenging topic. I have grown because of them. I am also very grateful to Dr. William Young for his leadership and care. A special thanks to Dr Michael Mills without whom I am certain I could not have finished. His detailed assistance in various phases of the project and his timely emails and periodic correspondence se rved to keep me focused and helped me persevere. I am very grateful to him; may God bless him for his kindness to me. A very special thanks to my beautiful wi fe, Yvette Fox. She is my best friend and the love of my life. I could never have fi nished without her love, encouragement and support. Finally, I would like to thank my Lord a nd Savior Jesus Christ who gave me the ability, perseverance, strength and opportunity to accomplish this goal. Most importantly, I want to thank Him for giving me the gift of hope because that gift really has changed everything. I pray that th is effort glorifies Him.
i Table of Contents Abstract ...................................................................................................................... ........ iv Chapter One: Introduction ...................................................................................................1 Background of the Problem .....................................................................................1 Statement of the Problem ......................................................................................................... 1 Purpose of the Study .............................................................................................10 Research Questions ................................................................................................11 Importance of the Study .........................................................................................11 Definition of Terms................................................................................................14 Who Are The Alienated a nd Disenfranchised? .....................................................21 Limitations and Delimitations................................................................................22 Chapter Two: Review of the Literature .............................................................................29 Section One Â– A Worldview Analysis of American Higher Education .................29 Section Two Â– Student Alienation .........................................................................40 Purpose .......................................................................................................40 The Problem ...............................................................................................40 Alienation Defined .....................................................................................41 The Alienated and Disenfranchised ...........................................................43 The Tinto Model of Student Departure ......................................................43 The Literature Review on Student Alienation .......................................................47 The Minority Student .................................................................................48 The African American Student ..................................................................54 Social Integration of Af rican American Students ......................................55 Academic Integration of African American Students ................................57 Social and Academic Integration of African American Students ..............58 The Hispanic American Student ................................................................64 The Native American Student ....................................................................67 The Disabled American Student ................................................................71 Other Alienated Student Groups ................................................................74 Conclusions from the Review ....................................................................77 The State of Alienation Research ..............................................................79 Chapter Three: Research Methods .....................................................................................84 Qualitative Paradigm .............................................................................................84 Qualitative Methods ...............................................................................................89 Data Sources ..........................................................................................................90 Data Collection ......................................................................................................92 Data Analysis .........................................................................................................97
ii Ethical Considerations .........................................................................................101 Chapter Four: Findings ....................................................................................................104 The Student Participants Â– What the Spiritual Questionn aire Revealed? ............104 The Interviews Â– What Emerged? ........................................................................108 The Transition to College ........................................................................108 Social Integration .................................................................................................119 Evangelical Social In tegration Platforms .................................................119 The Significance of the Christian Connection .........................................123 The Social Cost of Evangelicalism ..........................................................129 Perceptions on the Univer sityÂ’s Moral Ethos ..........................................134 Valued by the University? .......................................................................144 Of Course We Add Value ........................................................................148 Advice to Freshmen Evangelicals ............................................................155 Academic Integration ...........................................................................................163 WhatÂ’s Happening in the Classroom? ......................................................163 The Challenges to Faith ...........................................................................185 They DonÂ’t Like Our Ideas ......................................................................191 They Tolerate Us......................................................................................193 The Academic Costs of Evangelicalism ..................................................201 It DoesnÂ’t Work Like That .......................................................................208 Social and Academic Integration .........................................................................221 The Important Question of Fit .................................................................221 Disappointments and Issues .....................................................................228 Advice to Incoming Freshmen .................................................................231 Spirituality............................................................................................................237 The Impact of College on the Spiritual Life ............................................237 Closer to God ...........................................................................................242 Chapter Five: Conclusions ...............................................................................................250 Overview ..............................................................................................................250 The Types and Sources of Ev angelical Incongruence .............................255 Evangelical Student Coping Strategies ....................................................256 Emerging Threats .....................................................................................259 Student Perceptions about Univ ersity Reactions to Them .......................260 Summary ..................................................................................................262 Significance..........................................................................................................263 Implications for Future Research .........................................................................264 References .................................................................................................................... ....267 Appendices .................................................................................................................... ...279 Appendix A: Interview Guides ...........................................................................280 Appendix B: Spiritual Questionnaire ...................................................................285 Appendix C: ParticipantsÂ’ Recruitment Guide ....................................................288
iii Appendix D: Coding Keys ...................................................................................290 Appendix E: Demographic Chart .........................................................................294 Appendix F: Spiritual Questionnaire Summary ...................................................295 Appendix G: Informed Consent Forms ................................................................296 About the Author ................................................................................................... End Page
iv Evangelical Students in Am erican Higher Education Joseph C. Fox ABSTRACT This qualitative study explored the per ceptions of evangelical freshmen students attending the University of Texas at Arlington and the Univ ersity of Texas at Dallas during the spring semester of 2006 in the c ontext of student alienation. The purpose of this study was to explore the possibility that evangelicals attending secular universities were perceiving alienation through their inte ractions with their universities. It was hypothesized that the modern university, havi ng evolved into its present naturalistic worldview condition, might prove alienati ng to evangelicals from a worldview standpoint. Assuming the possibi lity that alienation might prove to be a reality for evangelicals, the subordinate purposes were inte nded to discover the types and sources of alienation, the possible evangelical coping st rategies, and their perceptions of the universityÂ’s reaction to them as evangelicals. During the spring semester of 2006, I conducted two live interviews with twenty pa rticipants. The first interview included a questionnaire which was administered for the purpose of providing insight into each participantÂ’s religiosity or evangelical co mmitment. The first interview (conducted prior to spring break) asked the students to refl ect back upon their firs t semester experience (the fall of 2005). The second interview, conducted towards the end of the spring semester, was oriented towards the sec ond semester experience. I found that all evangelicals but one had successfully assimilated socially and academically into their
v respective university. Their academic assimilation was primarily manifested by their relatively high academic achievement. Although they did experience worldview related incongruence, it was not severe enough to manifest any rela ted attrition. I found the most severe incongruence to be related to the per ceptions of a negative university moral ethos combined with the prevailing naturalistic m onism of the university that relegated the Christian worldview to marginalization or irre levance. I also found that the high level of social integration was primarily related to participant affiliation with various evangelical entities independent of the unive rsity. The data revealed that zero participants lost or abandoned their evangelical faith during their freshman year, and th e studentsÂ’ perceived that they had actually experienced positive growth in their spiritual lives as a result of the overall college freshman experience.
1 Chapter One: Introduction Background of the Problem This qualitative study will describe and analyze the perceptions of evangelical students attending state universities and will ex plore the influence (if any) of alienation upon their freshman college experience. Student alienation is the theoretical construct that is the focus of this research. The potential source of that alienation will be the potential conflict of worldviews (the worldview that the student bri ngs to the university in conflict with the dominant, Enlightenment -based worldview of the university). The research design will include qualitative interv iews (see Chapter 3) involving a primary sample of 20 evangelical students enrolled in their freshman year at state universities. This research may have implications for ad ministrators and faculty who value student retention and success, regardless of the religious/worldview sy stem that a student brings to the university. It may also have implica tions for those educators who value diversity on the campus and in the classroom, to in clude religious/world view diversity and tolerance. Statement of the Problem During the past fifty years in the United States, there has been a national shift towards greater social equality. A major com ponent of this social equity movement has been access to higher education. Higher educatio n has been viewed as one of the keys to social advancement, economic prosperity and personal well being. It has been perceived
2 as a requisite gateway to opportunity and ulti mately to personal success. This national movement has demonstrated a general intent to increase the access to higher education and the retention of socially disadvantaged s ubpopulations. In fact, some might argue that prior discrimination in access to higher educ ation has created a portion of the social inequality that exists and persists to this day. During the late 1960s and 1970s, minority students began enrolling in higher education in greater numbers than ever before, particular ly at predominantly White institutions. This trend was primarily due to affirmative action programs, civil rights legislation and increased access to financia l aid. However, since the early 1980s, there has been a regressive trend that has emerge d in a number of large longitudinal studies. This regressive trend has been primar ily in three areas: enrollment, academic performance and retention of minority students (Tinto, 1998). For example, minority students attending predominantly White colleges are less likely to earn a degree within five years, have lower grade point averages, have higher attrition rates, and have lower graduate school matriculation rates than White students (Smedley, Myers, & Harrell, 1993). Throughout the decade of the 1990s, the national college dropout rate for African Americans was 20-25% higher as compared to their White counterpa rts (Steele, 1999). These same regressive trends emerge d when comparing minority students on predominantly White campuses with their peers on minority campuses. This research becomes increasingly significant when one considers that minority groups currently constitute 25% of the overall U.S. population and it is estimated that by 2015 one third of the population will consist of minority groups (Davis et al, 2004, p. 421).
3 Since the majority of minority students attend predominantly White colleges, the problem is significant. Many researchers, pa rticularly those inte rested in student retention, began to search for an understandi ng of this trend toward increased racial disparity in higher education. This search proved to be th e catalyst for a large body of subsequent research on student alienation that began to emerge in the 1980s as a possible contributing factor for minority problems w ith high attrition, poor academic performance, low graduate school matriculation, etc., and has continued to the present. Student alienation has been a major issu e in American higher education for the past several decades and con tinues to be a significant i ssue to the present day. Many studies of student alienation have comp ared multiple minority groups or have investigated the general probl em of minority alienation a nd have demonstrated that minority students (generally) are far more alienated than the majority population (Loo & Rolison, 1986; Richardson et al, 1987; Stage, 1989; Murguia et al, 1991; Smedley et al, 1993; Nora & Cabrera, 1996; Down ey & Stage, 1999; Perry 2002). However, most alienation research has been focused on investigating specific ethnic groups. African American students have been the most widely studied subpopulation and have experienced alienation in a variety of ways and in a variety of educational settings (Suen, 1983; Allen, 1985; Pascarella, 1985; Nettles et al, 1986; Sedlacek, 1987; Allen, 1987; Allen, 1988; Lichtman et al., 1989; DÂ’Augelli & Hershberger, 1993; Davis, 1995; Fisher & Hartman, 1995; James, 1998; Millner, 1998; Gloria et al, 1999; Harvey, 2001; Redden, 2002; Lett, 2003; Lewis et al, 2004; Davis et al, 2004). Higher education faculty, administra tors, and particularly student affairs administrators have continually sought to cr eate programs, activities and events to help
4 reduce the African American studentÂ’s al ienation on predominately White campuses. However, based upon the most recent research fi ndings (Davis et al, 2004), the alienation problem persists in spite of the efforts to reduce it. Although Hispanic students are the fast est growing ethnic population entering higher education today, the resear ch has continually demonstrat ed that they are also an alienated subpopulation group (McCool, 1984; Nora, 1987; Lowe, 1989; Attanasi, 1989; Murguia, 1991; OÂ’Brien, 1993; Nora & Cabrera, 1996; Collison, 1999; Hernandez, 2000). However, they have consistently been shown to be less al ienated than African American students. Similar to African Americans and Hispanic s, Native American students also have significant retention problems and have also experienced alienation and estrangement while attending mainstream institutions (Sanders, 1987; Tierney, 1992; Harvey, 2001; Taylor, 2001; Perry, 2002; Tayl or, 2003). Over time, the resear ch has consis tently shown that cultural distinctiveness has contributed significantly to Native American alienation on predominantly White college campuses. Because Asian American students ar e often lauded for their academic achievement and are consequently perceived as a Â“model minorityÂ” group, this has had a limiting effect on the number of studies inve stigating Asian American student alienation. However, the limited research suggests that alienation exists for this subpopulation group (Suen, 1983; Asamen & Berry, 1987; Schram & Lauver, 1988; Nicholson, 2001). The passage of two bills Â– the Ameri cans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (PL101336) and Individuals with Di sabilities Education Act (PL101-476), combined with tremendous technological advances over the pa st several decades, ha ve enabled disabled
5 students to gain access to hi gher education in ever greater numbers. In fact, across the entire national higher educa tion system from 1978 to 1994, th e percentage of disabled students rose from 2.6% to 9.2% (Henderson, 19 95). However, with that tremendous rise in population, new problems have arisen asso ciated with disabled students. Although disabled Americans have benefited grea tly by legislation, accommodations for the disabled have not gone far enough to make these individuals totally welcome (less alienated) in the academy (Stillwell, 1983; Wiseman et al, 1988; Henderson, 1995; Hodges & Keller, 1999). According to Astin (1998), women underg raduate students are now the majority in higher education. However, in many coll ege and university settings women feel alienation and powerlessness as compared to their male counterparts (Hall & Sandler, 1982, 1984; Astin, 1993, 1998; Pascarella et al 1997; Millner, 1998; Whitt et al, 1999; Sax et al, 2002; Patitu & Hinton, 2003). Ha ll and Sandler (1982, 1984) hypothesized the existence of a Â“chilly climateÂ” for women in the academy. The research suggests that the problem persists in spite of the enrollment numbers. Over the past twenty five years, alie nation research has de veloped significantly, particularly with respect to the subpo pulations under study. The study of this phenomenon began primarily as a function of ethnicity (primarily African American alienation), progressing to th e study of other racial/ethni c groups (Hispanics, Native Americans and Asian Americans), and then moved beyond ethnic qualifiers to other subpopulation qualifiers (e.g. gender and disab ility). With the research identifying alienation as existing in di fferent subpopulations, higher education institutions have attempted to address the issues and problem s with specialized programs and services.
6 Consistent with this trend of inve stigating subpopulations based on other qualifiers besides ethnicity, one possible source of student alienation th at has not yet been investigated is the subpopulat ion qualifier of student worldv iew or student religion. To this date, there has been no exploration of student alienation of subpopulations based upon religious affiliation. The general questi on is whether or not the worldview or religion that a student brings to the academy is a source of alienation for that religious student, similar to race or gender. The specifi c focus of this research will be to explore the possibility of evangelical student a lienation in American higher education. In the study of minority alienation, there wa s at least one key assumption that first had to be made before the research was in itiated. The assumption provided the impetus for the entire body of research. That assump tion was the possibility that the minority student immersion onto majority campuses ma y cause alienating perceptions that may be negative or even debilitating toward the overall success of minority students. Likewise, there are two key prerequisite propositions th at help to ground the problem for this study. That is, these propositions provide the impetu s for this study. The first proposition is that the modern American university has evolve d into an institution that has elevated Enlightenment ideals to a position of pr esuppositional hegemony. In fact, one could easily conclude that the modern university is an Enlightenment institution in that the Enlightenment ideals of reason and skeptic ism have risen to prominence and have become so pervasive in setting boundaries on thought that they mostly go unnoticed and unchallenged. They are assumed to be norma tive. These ideals contain presuppositions and subsequent philosophical and theological boundaries that are rare ly questioned today.
7 Chapter 2 will include a historical analysis of this. However, it might be useful to briefly introduce that discussi on here. A significant public dem onstration at the end of the French Revolution provides an illustration of the prominence of reason as an Enlightenment ideal. After declaring the year 1792 the Â“year oneÂ”, the French proclaimed the goddess of Reason in Notre-Dame Cathed ral in Paris and in other cathedrals throughout the country. In Paris, this goddess of Reason was pers onified in the form of a famous Parisian actress (Demoiselle Candeill e) who was dressed to appear as a queen, placed on a mock throne and paraded shoul der-high around the streets of Paris and eventually into the cathedral wearing a crown. At the time, this symbolic gesture was a revolutionary idea as it asserted that human reason had de posed Queen Faith. Prior to this time, theology had been commonly recognized as the Â“Queen of the SciencesÂ”. What was being proposed in this symbolic public displa y was the notion that human beings, starting from themselves, could answer the important questions of life (i.e. find truth). With regard to epistemology and ontology, Queen Faith had been deposed by Queen Reason. According to David Hume, a key figure in the foundational thinking of the modern university, the deposing of Queen Faith included everything revelatory which includes all religious texts. Most of the influential thin kers of the 20th centur y stood on the shoulders of David Hume who made the following cri tical conclusion concerning the issue of epistemology in Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding : When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume Â—of divinity or school metaphysics, for instanceÂ—let us ask, Does it contain any abstract r easoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any expe rimental reasoning concerning matter of
8 fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion (1955, 12.3.173). Notice that HumeÂ’s epistemology contains two main points and both points involve human reason: 1) abstract reasoning concer ning quantity (math) and 2) experimental reasoning concerning facts (scien ce). Also note that Hume su ggests that anything outside of these two epistemological-boundary-marker s should be committed Â“to the flamesÂ”. All religious texts (Â“volume[s]--of divinityÂ”) would exist outside of HumeÂ’s parameters and would therefore be considered Â“n othing but sophistry and illusionÂ”. Although the history of modern scie nce demonstrates the Enlightenment dichotomy to be an unfounded one (the fath ers of modern scien ce (Newton, Linnaeus, Boyle, Kepler, Euler, Cuvier, Faraday, Mors e, Babbage, Joule, Pasteur, Mendel, etc.) were men of both faith and reason), the Enli ghtenment created a dichotomy or schism between faith and reason that persists to this day. Since the beginning of the Enlightenment period (late seventeenth century ), there has been a protracted struggle between faith and reason on AmericaÂ’s campuses (discussed in Chapter 2) that has ebbed and flowed across the centuries with the mode rn campus (along with much of the modern culture) moving increasingly and more decisive ly toward the Enlightenment ideals. This study is set in the broader context of this protracted conflict betw een faith and reason. The second major proposition that sets-up this study involves a faith component. In this study, the faith component is repres ented by evangelical students. I provide a detailed definition of an eva ngelical later in this chapter. However, for the purpose of developing the problem, the second propositi on is that one of the distinguishing characteristics of an evangelical worldview is that evangelicals hold to a high view of
9 Scripture, or what might be called Biblical prioritization Evangelicals maintain that the Jewish Tenach (what Christians call th e Old Testament) and the Christian New Testament comprise one complete document Â– the Holy Bible. Evangelicals believe that this document represents GodÂ’ s complete and direct revelation to humanity and that it provides humanity with information a bout cosmology, ontology, anthropology and epistemology which God determined as esse ntial for humanity. Evangelicals also believe that God used human authors as He superinte nded the entire revelato ry project under the process of what theologians call inspiration (literally Â“God-breathedÂ” ). Contrary to some mischaracterizations, evangelicals are not opposed to reason or science as is evidenced by the previously cited list of scientific giants who held to a high view of Scripture. The founders of modern science (see previous list ) were Christian theists, and two noteworthy nonsectarian scholars (Alfred North Whitehead and J. Robert Oppenheimer) have both asserted (independently) that modern scienc e would not have come into existence if Christian presuppositions had not been held by its founding giants (Schaeffer, 1976, p. 132-133). However, because of the evangelical belief that Scripture has been delivered (revealed) to humans by the G od who created the universe an d who therefore defined all of reality, they maintain that where human knowledge contra dicts GodÂ’s direct revelation, human knowledge is necessarily subordinated. Therefore, there may be a potential worldview distinction between American higher education, with its Enlightenment base and evangelicals, with their worldview primarily guided by Biblical prioritizati on. This study seeks to explore whether a worldview distinction is perc eived by evangelical students and whether that worldview distinction can be said to be alienating to them.
10 In summarizing the problem in an e ffort to understand the potential for evangelical alienation, I would like to suggest one possible descrip tion of the situation that currently exists in American higher educ ation as a general setti ng for this study: Over the past 369 years, the philo sophical climate on the natio nÂ’s campuses has shifted dramatically away from a dualistic ontology and toward s an Enlightenment-driven, naturalistic monism (discussed in chapter 2). Ho wever, many of the st udents enter college with a dualistic ontology. The tension here seems obvious and it solicits the following question : What occurs when theistic students are re quired to operate within institutionally defined worldview parameters that are cont radictory to their pe rsonal worldviews or where a substantial portion of what concerns them (spiritual matters) is not addressed or is institutionally marginalized due to philosophical constraints? Another way of stating this question is: Does the interaction betw een the institutional, Enlightenment-based empiricism of American higher education wi th the worldviews of highly religious or theistic students (specifically evangelicals) create a philosophical tension that causes these students to perceive themselves to be alienated? Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is to explore the possibility that evangelical students may be alienated in the modern academy. If this study does demonstrate some support for the hypothesis that evangelical students are alie nated, then the contingent purposes are to enhance our understanding of that evangelical alienation. That is, this study will seek to understand the following: 1) the possible sour ce(s) of evangelical alienation, 2) how evangelical students respond to the alienation th at they experience, and 3) the studentÂ’s perceptions of how the institution reacts to who they are as evangelical students.
11 Research Questions This study, within the general context of worldviews in conflic t, will attempt to explore the following research questions or research goals: 1) Are evangelical students experiencing alienation at American colleges and universities? 2) What are the prevailing types of alienation for evangelical studen ts? 3) What are the specific sources of evangelical student alienation? 4) What ar e the dominant themes with regard to evangelical student coping strate gies? 5) What are the dominant themes that emerge that threaten or impact the evangelical studentÂ’s academic success and/or persistence/retention? 6) How do the studentÂ’s perceive the institutions reaction to them as they manifest their Christian worldview on campus? Importance of the Study According to data collected from the recent HERI project (2005) on college student spirituality, 26% of entering freshmen identified themselves as Â“born againÂ” Christians (p. 7). Therefore, based upon this data, at least 26% of all incoming freshmen in 2004 (those identifying themselves as Â“ born againÂ”) might fall into the category of evangelical, as it will be defined. This suggest s that 1 out of ever y 4 students in every college classroom identifies themselves as ha ving some level of a Biblical Christian worldview. That is, the Biblic al Christian worldview begi ns with a person becoming Â“born againÂ” and the worldview develops from that point. This study is significant because it hypothesizes a phenomenon (evangelical alienation) that potentially impacts 1 out of every 4 college students in the count ry. If this study does support the notion that evangelical students are alienate d, then this would suggest the possibility of a significant number of students throughout the count ry that are Â“worl dview alienated.Â”
12 Additionally, if there is s upport for the hypothesis, then there is potential for future study using other theistic students (Jews, Muslims, Catholic Christians, etc.), as it is possible that the philosophical tensions that are generated by the circumstances previously outlined may be similar for students from all three of these world religions. In suggesting this possibility, it is assumed that the students sincerely hold to the central truth claims of their respective worldviews (t hat it is not simply a nominal worldview (by birth, etc.) or a collection of very loosely held beliefs). The notion that other (nonChristian) theistic students are likely to be confront ed with similar worldview tensions is expressed in Â“ Jewishness and Judaism at Brandeis University ,Â” as Fox (1993) observed the following at this primarily Jewish institution: Â…the most urgent questions that face a religiously committed Jew in any American university receive no answers or even any considerationÂ… We do nothing institutionally to help our students deal w ith the issues generated for religion by our whole range of academic subject matterÂ… Such concerns stand outside the orbit of a nonsectarian universityÂ… We do not, because we may not, addre ss the deepest religious questions, even those that are specifically genera ted by the academic setting in which we spend our lives (p. 469). Since Christians collectively represent the la rgest proportion of the U. S. population of the three world religions previously mentioned, this study will focus on students who hold to the Biblical Christian worldview. However, th is study may have broader implications for other types of theistic stude nts, as the previous quot ation by Fox (1993) suggests. Another important phrase to the relevance of this study is the st atement, Â“We do not,
13 because we may not, address the deepest re ligious questionsÂ…Â” This solicits the question: What constrains them (the Brande is faculty and staff) from being able to Â“address the deepest religious questions?Â” One explanation has already been developed Â– the possible philosophical cons traints of Enlightenment boundar ies. Could it be that the Enlightenment boundaries of inquiry in higher education limit the e xplanation of how the world works, in spite of the expectations and interests of many of the primary constituent groups (the students)? Perhaps some further insight into this que stion comes from one of the participants (David Hollinger) from the Lilly Seminar The Lilly Seminar on Religion and Higher Education met semiannually over a three year period ending in the fall of 1999 to discuss topics related to religion and the academy. A ccording to Hollinger (2002) in his article Â“ Enough Already: Universities Do Not Need More Christianity Â”, Universities have reason to be proud of ha ving created, within the most Christian of all industrialized societie s of the North Atlantic We st, a rare space in which ideas identified as Christian are not imp licitly privileged. Our leading colleges and universities once shared in a pervasive Protestant culture, to which they owe a great deal. Now, however, mainstream academia maintains a certain critical distance from the Christian project. This critical distance is consistent with the drift of science and scho larship in the North Atlantic West (p. 40). To this, Hollinger (2002) suggested the following as the central issue of the Lilly Seminar : Â“At issueÂ…is whether these imperfect academic communities can be improved by diminishing the critical distance from Ch ristian cultural hegemony that they have achieved only after a long struggleÂ” (p. 40). HollingerÂ’s comments are most insightful in
14 that they acknowledge the followi ng points in support of this study: 1) Christianity had a significant impact in American higher educ ation. 2) Although Christianity was once privileged in status, it no longer is. 3) Ma instream academia deliberately maintains a Â“critical distanceÂ” from Christianity. 4) Scie nce has something to do with the Â“critical distancingÂ” of the modern academy with Christia nity. 5) This Â“distancingÂ” from Christian hegemony took a long time and has been successful. Hollinger has provided a summary which is consistent with this introducti on. More specifically, his conclusions are consistent with the Enlightenment hypothesis presented previously. As the literature review will demonstr ate, African Americans have commonly been recognized as being the most intensely alienated group and also the largest alienated student population group. If the findings of this study support the hypothesis that evangelical alienation is being experienced, then we would ha ve potentially identified a larger problem, in terms of the number of st udents potentially experiencing the alienation phenomenon. If the hypothesis is strongly suppo rted by the findings, I would think that college administrators and student developm ent professionals would find this study very significant. At the very least, the topic seems potentially significant enough to explore which is what this study will attempt to do. Definition of Terms Three of the significant constructs for this study ar e the concept of worldview the construct of alienation and the idea of an evangelical The term worldview has a long and complex history. The term is a translation from the German Weltanschauung and was first used by Immanuel Kant. The term has appeared in many contexts over the past several centuries and has been used by a va riety of scholars with notably different
15 worldviews. The following list represents a few of the scholars who have used or developed this term: Kant, Dilthey, Nietzsch e, Wittgenstein, Foucault, Orr and Kuyper. As this list indicates, the term has been developed and used by a wide array of philosophers of various stripes from Germ an Idealists to Nihilists to Calvinist theologians. Because the concept of worldvi ew developed over time and because it has developed at the hands of such diverse thinke rs, there is much disagreement about what a worldview is. However, for the purposes of this study, a comprehensive modern definition comes from philos opher James Sire (2004) who s uggests that a worldview is essentially the following: A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely fa lse) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsiste ntly) about the basi c constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being (p. 161). In this definition, a worldview is something th at all human beings have, even if they do not recognize that they have one. Sire ( 2004) offers the following seven fundamental questions that, taken collectivel y, provide an example of the essence of a worldview as he has defined it. 1) What is prime realityÂ—the really real? To this we might answer God, or the gods, or the material cosmos. 2) What is the nature of external reality that is, the world around us? Here our answers point to whether we see the world as created or autonomous, as
16 chaotic or orderly, as matter or spirit, or whether we emphasize our subjective, personal relationship to the world or its objectivity apart from us. 3) What is a human being? To this we mi ght answer a highly complex machine, a sleeping god, a person made in th e image of God, a Â“naked ape.Â” 4) What happens to persons at death? Here we might reply personal extinction, or transformation to a higher state, or reincarnation, or depa rture to a shadowy existence on Â“the other side.Â” 5) Why is it possible to know anything at all? Sample answers include the idea that consciousness and rationality de veloped under the contingencies of survival in a long process of evolution or that we are made in the image of an all-knowing God. 6) How do we know what is ri ght and wrong? Again, perhap s we are made in the image of a God whose char acter is good; or right a nd wrong are determined by human choice alone or what feels good; or the notions simply developed under an impetus toward cultural or physical survival. 7) What is the meaning of human history? To this we might answer, to realize the purposes of God or gods, to make paradise on earth, to prepare a people for a life in community with a loving and holy God, and so forth (p. 7). Herein lies a potential source of aliena tion for evangelical students; the more comprehensively they understand and apply (the more salient it is to all components of their life) a Biblical worl dview (manifested by the Bib lical answers to the above questions), and the more they recognize a nd understand the prevailing worldviews of the academy, the more worldview tension they will likely experience.
17 The second construct that needs defi ning for the purpose of this study is alienation First, however, some background is necessary. According to Smith (1989), Â“The theme of alienation pervad es the literature. It is a pow erful voice in the literature concerning racial and ethnic mi norities. It is also present in the literature focusing on women, the disabled, and other non-traditional groupsÂ” (p. 1). However, one of the great challenges in conducting the alienation lite rature review was that the terminology representing alienation has not remained c onsistent throughout th e literature and over time. Another difficulty was that the vari ables used to study a lienation changed from study to study, rarely providing a stable target In spite of these ch allenges, alienation, is one of the integrating threads of the literatu re overall and is the primary focus of this research. Another integrati ng theme of the alienation literature was the consistent validation of the Tinto model over time and acr oss both research paradigms. The majority of the reviewed literature on alienation is w ithin the construct boundaries of what Tinto (1998) called social and academic integration The proposed research on Evangelical Student Alienation is also within the boundaries of these constructs. For the purposes of this study, student aliena tion will be defined consistent with a component of the Tinto model called malintegration (described in detail in chapter 2). For the purposes of this study, malintegration should be considered a form of student alienation. Malintegration is defined as the ab sence of social and academic integration. It must be pointed out that Tinto did not specif ically use the term alienation in his model. Rather, Tinto used the terms incongruence and isolation which, in combination, comprise malintegration. Tinto (1998) defined in congruence in the following manner:
18 Â…what is sometimes referred to as lack of institutional fit, refers to that state where individuals perceive themselves as being substantiall y at odds with the institution. In this case, the absence of integration results from the personÂ’s judgment of the undesirability of integrationÂ…Incongruen ce refers in general to the mismatch or lack of fit between the needs, interests and preferences of the individual and those of the institution. Reflecting the outcome of interactions with different members of the institution, it sp rings from the individual perceptions of not fitting into and/or of being at odds w ith the social and intellectual fabric of institutional lifeÂ…Typicall y, incongruence is manifest ed in the individualÂ’s judgment that the institutionÂ’ s intellectual climate is unsuited or irrelevant, perhaps even contrary, to his/her ow n intellectual preferences (p. 50-51). Incongruence occurs when integration is pe rceived as something undesirable from the studentÂ’s standpoint. Incongruence can be expe rienced through a wide range of formal and/or informal interactions from the co llegeÂ’s policies and regul ations on academics to daily interactions with faculty, staff, a nd students in the classroom and outside the classroom. Incongruence involves a studentÂ’s perceptions of and reaction to the overall ethos of the institution. The second component of malintegration is isolation which is what occurs when students find themselves removed from the daily activities of the institution and the individuals and groups that coll ectively comprise the institut ion. Â“Isolation Â…refers to the absence of sufficient interactions whereby integration may be achievedÂ” (Tinto, 1993, p. 50). Though incongruence and isolation are clos ely related, the diffe rence between them
19 is that incongruence arises from a studentÂ’s perceptions of the char acter or quality of interactions while isolation results from the lack of interactions. Although Tinto did not use the term a lienation in his at trition model, his definitions of incongruence and isolation are entirely consistent with the components and forms of alienation discussed in the large body of alienation research discussed in chapter two. Social integration and academic integr ation are primarily determined by varying degrees of isolation and incongruence (i.e., alienation). Therefore, one could conclude that the construct referred to as student aliena tion in the literature is at the very heart of the Tinto model as a significant predictor of attrition. Much of the research presented in the literature review will fo cus on the Tinto model as a theo retical model that reveals the key to minority attrition because the implicit hypothesis is th at higher levels of minority attrition are a result of hi gher levels of minority aliena tion on majority campuses. Loo and Rolison (1986) suggested that the Tinto model is more th an an attrition model and that it provides a theoretical framework for de scribing the entirety of the minority college experience. Because it has been generally validated by the literature as the best framework for studying minority student alienati on, it is likely to be the best framework for exploring the evangelic al student experience. Another key concept that requires defi ning is the term evangelical. Although many people in the United States claim to be Christians, the diversity of the group making that claim is so broad as to be unw ieldy as a concept of study. Therefore, this study will confine itself to the study of thos e students identifying themselves as bornagain Christians. Self-identification as bei ng born-again places these students in the group classified as evangelicals. The definiti on offered in the succeeding five paragraphs
20 is for the purposes of greater clarity and deep er understanding. It is represented in a more concise form by combining the questions offered in Appendix 2. In a broad sense, an evangelical is defined as a person who believes that a personal God exists, and that He revealed Hi mself to humanity in the following ways: 1) through the natural universe (w hat theologians call general revelation), 2) through the incarnation (life), death and resu rrection of Jesus Christ, and 3) through the Bible (special revelation), which is believed to be the infallible and inerrant word of God. More specifically, evangelical s believe that all human be ings are separated from a holy God by their personal sins. Sin is defined as any act that contradicts GodÂ’s personal character or commands. Sin can occur in thought, word or deed. Because God is just, He will justly and wrathfully judge every huma n being for their personal sins. However, though God detests sin and is righteously jus tified in judging it, G od does not desire to wrathfully judge sinners. Evangelicals believe that the triune God acted in humanityÂ’s behalf by sending His only Son to die on a cros s for all sinners, for all time, and that the only way that a person can have a restored re lationship with this God is by believing and trusting in the Son of God (the one who died in their place as payment for their sins). Evangelicals believe that God demonstrat ed His love for all of humanity by providing a way back into a re stored relationship with Hims elf. God did this by leaving heaven, taking on human flesh, willingly going to a cross, and then rising from the dead. In fact, evangelicals believe that true love was forever defined by this great act of selflessness on the part of God toward all human beings. The essence of the gospel (or good news) is that God Himself paid the pena lty for human sin and offers the following
21 gifts to all who would believe: 1) forgiveness of sins, 2) full restor ation, 3) adoption as His children, and 4) eternal li fe in heaven with Him. When a person believes this gospel, it is at this point in time that this new person of faith is said to be Â“born again.Â” Acti ng upon those beliefs in gratitude for what God has done for him or her, an evangelical attempts to align all areas of his or her life with the personal character and commands of God, as revealed by the Judeo-Christian Scriptures. Evangelicals do not strive for personal right eousness in order to earn salvation. By faith (in GodÂ’s personal characte r), they strive for personal righteousness as an expression of gratitude to God for His l ove, grace and mercy in providing salvation for them. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of an evangelical is their high view of the Bible. Evangelicals consider the Bi ble to be inspired by God (literally Godbreathed) and therefore, authoritative above al l other epistomologies. They believe that God (the Holy Spirit) used human authors and superintended the very words of Scripture. Therefore, since the Bible is believed to be GodÂ’s direct revelation to humanity, evangelicals believe that all areas of knowledge are to be subordinated to that revelatory knowledge. Simply, an evangelical is a person th at has a decidedly Biblical worldview. If human knowledge contradicts Scripture, then human knowledge is necessarily subordinated. Who Are The Alienated and Disenfranchised? Who are the alienated groups in American higher education? According to two secondary sources (Smith, 1989; Tinto, 1998), an d the collective body of primary sources in the literature review, the hypothesized alie nated groups in American higher education
22 are the following: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, women, disabled Americans a nd international students. Smith (1989) included gays and lesbians in the above list, whereas Tinto (1998) omitted them. I use the term Â“hypothesizedÂ” alienated groups because mu ch of this literatur e will implicitly or explicitly attempt to determine whether alienation is a perceived phenomenon among these population groups on majority campuses, its sources, and its consequences. By the types or categories listed above, one might conclude that thos e involved in this type of research have concluded that alienation is primarily a function of ethnicity, gender, or disability. However, the vast majority of th is research centers on alienation as a function of ethnicity. It is intere sting to note that I discove red no primary sources studying alienation as a function of ideology or beli ef system. Likewise, research on sexualpreference-related-alie nation is also scanty. However, my hypothesis is that ideology, belief system or worldview, like ethnicity a nd sexual preference, is a source of student alienation. This proposed research (Evangeli cal Student Alienation) potentially breaks new ground in that I have been unable to loca te any research conducted in the area of worldview-related-alienation or ideo logical/religious alienation. Limitations and Delimitations The findings of this study are likely to be tentative because of its exploratory nature. The sample size (20) is very limiting in terms of the generaliz ability of the study. Because of the limited sample size, I could ne ither generalize to all evangelical students at secular or religious affiliated schools, nor could I generalize to all theistic/religious students (Jews, Muslims, Catholics, etc.) atte nding secular or religious affiliated schools. Additionally, since this res earch will be conducted within the qualitative paradigm,
23 generalizability is not what is sought but rath er transferability. Howe ver, the implications for future study in similar contexts are pres ent and studies seeki ng transferability are encouraged. A significant limitation of this study is its duration. Assuming th at alienation is a perceived phenomenon, it is quite possible th at I will only be with the students long enough to observe the initial alienation and will not be able to adequately evaluate the manner by which the students cope with th e perceived alienati on. For example, the process of learning to tolera te other worldviews, the proc ess of abandoning the Biblical worldview, or whether this alienation ultim ately produces attrition from college are events which may exceed the dur ation of this study. However, the primary purpose of this study is exploratory in scope. In other words, it is acknowledged that the development of any worldview is a lifelong process. Although a four-year college experience may play a more significant role in worldview forma tion than any other time, this study only observes a portion (the initial stage) of the total college e xperience and an even lesser portion of the entire worldvi ew development process. As an evangelical student and Bible college graduate, having also studied at four state universities, three comm unity colleges, one church-a ffiliated college, two large private universities, and one seminar y, I have personally experienced the philosophical/worldview tension or alienati on that this study hopes to explore. What follows is a brief narrative of one personal experience that may provide insights into the various biases I might bring to this study and for which I need to take caution. This narrative may also illuminate the potential wo rldview related alienation that this study
24 will attempt to explore because it stands as a contemporary example of the persistence of the reason/faith schism in Am erican higher education. I was a new student in an advanced degree program attendi ng a state university, and it was the beginning of a new semester the second night of class. I began the new semester with my usual anticipation. I real ly love learning and enjoy being in school. There is always something exciting to me about a new semester. As I sat waiting, I nervously tried to prepare th e binder on a new textbook in subconscious and reverential deference to my fifth grade teacherÂ’s thirty -five-year-old-instructions on how to properly care for a book. The homework assignment for this eveningÂ’s class was for the students to bring in and share articles relating to th e coursework. The professor solicited student volunteers to begin the eveningÂ’s discussions One of the students began sharing an article that discussed the pr oblem of the inclusion of re ligious students and how those students really did not belong on the unive rsity campus because they questioned naturalistic assumptions, part icularly Darwinian evoluti on. The student, a community college professor, proceeded to explain how sh e could identify with th e author as she had had some previous Â“troubleÂ” with religious st udents, particularly Â“born againÂ” Christians. The words Â“born againÂ” rolled off her tongue with a certain and deliberate contempt. She added that her husband, also a community co llege instructor, complained of similar problems. In summary, her proposition wa s the following: Anyone who questions Darwinian evolution or natu ralistic presuppositions should be excluded from higher education because they do not fit, opera ting from faith, not scientific reason. I had become a Christian a few years ear lier and because I had done a great deal of self-initiated study on the subject of Darwinian evoluti on, I entered the discussion. The
25 other student soon became hostile toward me a nd labeled me a mythologi st in spite of my desire to engage in intellectual discourse and in spite of the fact that 15 of the first 16 years of my education had been strictly secular (I attended Ca tholic school for 10th grade but evolution was taught as fact in the bi ology class). Because of my mostly-publiceducation, I had previously held to Darwin ian evolution because it was consistently presented to me as a scientific fact as far back as I can remember. She kept returning to the issue of faith. Finally, I responded, Â“So, ar e you saying that faith is not a part of your worldview? She replied, Â“ThatÂ’s right, faith is not part of my worldview.Â” I responded, Â“Are you saying that belief in spontaneous gene ration from non-life to life is not an act of faith?Â” Â“ThatÂ’s right, because it is scien ce.Â” My response, Â“Do you observe spontaneous generation of non-life to life t oday and can it be replicated?Â” Her response, Â“This issue has already been sufficiently dealt with in the Scopes Trial.Â” I responded, Â“ThatÂ’s interesting, since many of the evidences that Clarence Darrow used in that case have been dismissed by most modern evolutionists as invalid. For example, one of the most embarrassing points for William Jennings Bryan was when Â“Nebraska ManÂ” was introduced as evidence. What Darrow failed to mention was that all that was ever found of Â“Nebraska ManÂ” was a single tooth. A fe w years later, identical teeth were found attached to the body of an extinct pig so much for all of those biology textbook drawings of Nebraska Man and his nuclear family sitting around a fire in primeval Nebraska making primitive tools. I was prepared and attempted to discuss fossils, the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record, fraudulent, questionable, or erroneous missing links (e.g. Nebraska Man, Ramipithicus, Orce Man, Piltdown Man and LucyÂ’s Â“trick kneeÂ”), GouldÂ’s
26 punctuated equilibrium as last gasp effort to salvage the theory because the fossil record could no longer sustain it, the circularity of combini ng the geologic column with radiometric dating, and intellig ent design research. I closed my argument by saying that based upon my study of the scientific evidence it would take far more faith than I currently had to accept the veracity of the evolutionary hypothesis. I was well prepared for this topic be cause of my own pe rsonal quest in the struggle between faith and reason. For the sake of personal integrit y, I had previously determined it necessary to come to grips w ith the scientific challenges to Biblical creationism. I had to settle th e issue for myself because I came to understand that if the creation account was untrue, then the Bible is untrustworthy. Additionally, if Genesis is inaccurate, then the human problem of sin is no longer an issue. Subsequently, GodÂ’s act of love in going to a cross becomes ridicul ous and the Christian faith, for me, would lack integrity and would become untenable. Anyway, I was attempting to intelligen tly discuss her article although I had no idea that this topic would co me up in class. What I rece ived was adversarial language coupled with a refusal to consider any of th e scientific issues that I had raised. I was simply ignored and dismissed like just a nother Â“flat eartherÂ”. Ironically, I did not introduce the Bible once into this discussion. Sadly, I paid for this eveningÂ’s class in more ways than just the tuition. Is this what an American university should be like? In American universities that claim free inquiry as a sacred tenet of our national educational heritage, shouldnÂ’t students be allowed to openly raise such questions or challenges without personal affront? Certai nly, this was alienating disc ourse at its very height. Essentially, the general message conveyed to me that evening was that I was a poor fit for
27 the academy because of my Christian worldvi ew and the fact that I questioned the validity of a cornerstone of the academyÂ’s na turalistic, Enlightenment-base. It is not insignificant that a community college profe ssor would not find it inappropriate to bring in an article to share with other professi onal educators that si ngled out one group of American students who should be denied ad mission into the academy. Neither is it insignificant that one group could be mali gned publicly without any reservation on the part of the presenter. Would she have presen ted an article for disc ussion that suggested that African American students were a poor fit for the academy? How about gays and lesbians? Native Americans? The disabled? In fact, would it have be en acceptable if any other student group had been writ ten about in such negative term s? It is not insignificant that Â“born againÂ” Christians could be singl ed out without any reservation. One can only wonder how Christians fare in her community college classroom. I spent eleven years of my life serving and defending this nation as an active duty United States Marine (enlisted and officer), yet I was being told by a fello w professional public ed ucator that I was a poor fit to attend any public in stitution of higher education because of my religious views (essentially, my commitment to both faith and reason as opposed to reason alone). Unfortunately, I have many more of th ese true narratives about my personal journey as an evangelical stude nt trying to obtain an educat ion. Perhaps this study will reveal similar stories from others of li ke mind. It may be obvious that my greatest challenge in this research is to prevent my personal bias from inva lidating the analysis. I understand and acknowledge that it is quite possible that th e alienation that I have experienced may be mine only. It is also pos sible that undergraduate schools are far less alienating to Christians than graduate schools but that would be another study. It is also
28 possible that the voca tionally-driven development (high sc hool Bible teacher) of my own Biblical worldview reached a level wher eby I became particularly sensitive to philosophical attacks that other/younger evangelicals may not perceive. On the other hand, it is also possible that evangelicals are being alienated. It ce rtainly seems possible that the requisite pieces are in place for it to be occurring. I recognize that my life experiences and personal worldview may influence the collection and analysis of the data. I fully recognize that my conversion to Christianity (1991), my eight years of teaching experien ce in Christian schools (secondary and postsecondary), my five years of service as a Ch ristian school administra tor, and my twelve years of secular-based higher education coupl ed with my Bible college and seminary experiences combine to influence my per ceptions and thinking and anyone evaluating this work needs to take this into consideration.
29 Chapter Two: Review of the Literature This Literature Review is divided into two main sections: 1) Worldview Analysis of American Higher Education and 2) Stude nt Alienation. Section One describes the historical background and the worldview cont ext for this study. It includes a brief historical analysis which will provide the contextual setting for the problem (Evangelical Student Alienation in American Higher Educat ion) of this study. Section Two provides a general overview of alienation research ove r the past 25 years providing some critical insights into how the theore tical construct (Student A lienation) has developed and providing a detailed overview of the theoretical construct under investigation in this study. Section One Â– Worldview Analysis of American Higher Education According to David Hollinge r (2002) in his article Â“ Enough Already: Universities Do Not Need More Christianity Â”, There was once a time when scholars in th e North Atlantic West took for granted a shared Christianity. In that bygone era, the boundaries of the epistemic community and the boundaries of the community of faith were largely coterminus. But now the boundaries of th e of the epistemic communities that define discussion in the learned world are no longer coterminus with the Christian community of faith, and this fact appears to create discomfort on the part of some Christians (p. 43).
30 Hollinger (2002) concludes, Now that academia is emancipated from Protestant hegemony, the evils of which require no belaboring hereÂ…I believe we should rejoice in thisÂ…Universities should not surrender back to Christianity the ground they ha ve won for a more independent, cosmopolitan life of the mind. Th ere are plenty of things wrong with higher education in the United States today, but a deficiency in Christianity is not one of them (p. 48-49). At least for Hollinger, Christia nity is no longer anywhere near the center of the epistemic community in higher education, and this is so mething to rejoice about. The central issue for Hollinger is determining the safe dist ance between the academy and Christianity. Therefore, for Hollinger, the question as to whether Christian marginalization in higher education has occurred has already been settle d. This is consistent with what historian and fellow Lilly Seminar participant Mark Schwehn ha s said about the subject of Christian marginalization. A ccording to Schwehn (2002), Â…and with respect to Â“Protestant hege mony,Â” no informed observer would deny that there has been a rela tive decline of Protestant domination of higher learning in this country over the c ourse of the last century. Disagreements arise over the question of whether such decline should be lamented or celebrated (p. 51). If marginalization of the religious pers pective has occurred as these modern scholars indicate, how did this happen? In the 1990Â’s, in response to historian F. Michael PerkoÂ’s lament that, Â“historians of higher education have not kept pace with scholars of the school s in examining the influe nces on education of both formal and non-formal religionÂ” (E isenmann, 1998, p. 295), some scholarly
31 attention was given to the issue of academic secularization from the viewpoint of mainline Protestantism. According to Eisenmann (1998), Â“During the 1990Â’s, Â…there has been a minor explosion in so lid, creative work on various historical aspects of religion and higher education th at begins to provide interpretive depth and scopeÂ” (p. 295). Three primary works in this group include Julie ReubenÂ’s The Making of the Modern University : Intellectual Transformation and the Marginalization of Morality Douglas SloanÂ’s Faith and Knowledge: Mainline Protestantism and American Higher Education and George MarsdenÂ’s The Soul of the American University: From Prot estant Establishment to Established Nonbelief According to Eisenmann (1998), Â“T aken together, th ese three books offer in some ways a corrective and in other ways a fuller version of the Â“emergence of the American university,Â” one that complicates the received story of religion being shunted aside by th e juggernaut of modernization and secularizationÂ” (p. 297). George MarsdenÂ’s The Soul of the American Un iversity: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief (1994), chronicles the hi story of American higher education from its inception (Harvard estab lished in 1636), to the later half of the turbulent 1960s. This is the story of how, over this 350-year period, American higher education evolved into its pr esent secularized form. Marsde n provides an explanation as to how religious perspectives gradually move d from the core or epistemic center of the intellectual life of the universities to the ep istemic periphery of in tellectual discourse and beyond. This transition from epistemic core to periphery is described by Rudolph (1977) in the following:
32 In the early eighteenth century the Yale College laws put the matter directly: Â“every student shall consider the main end of his study to wit to know God in Jesus Christ and answerably to lead a G odly and sober life.Â” The history of the American college curriculum may be the history of how a people departed from such a goal, Â…leaving aside the questi on of what happened to God, one asks without expectation of finding the an swer, Â“What happened to man?Â” (Rudolph, 1977, p. 17) Although all of the colonial colleges had similar purposes to HarvardÂ’s in Â“the deepest expression of its [their ] purposes and goals in the Scri pturesÂ… [to] the training of its [their] Biblical expositors [preachers]Â” (Rudolph, 1990, p. 6), There was also, however, a vital stream of hostility to religionÂ…The dawning Enlightenment promised to emancipate man a number of times and in a number of ways, one of which was to free him from religious institutions. Consequently there was a ready audience in the United St ates for the philosophic positions that were popular in France at the time (Rudolph, 1990, p. 37). The Enlightenment was so influential on so me American campuses that in the 1790Â’s Rudolph indicates that the typical Harvard student was an atheist. For further evidence of this vital stream of hostility to religion, he describes how a Princeton student-deist led a student ceremony where they burned the Bible of a local Presbyterian church (Rudolph, 1990, p. 38). A critical point in this str uggle arose during the later half of the nineteenth century as a result of the roughly ten thousand Amer ican graduate students who studied in Germany from 1800-1880. According to Rudolph (1977),
33 In the nineteenth century the great German universities were the centers from which spread a gargantuan appetite for research and scholarship as well as a profound regard for the scien tific ethos that defined it. The consequences have generally and appropriately been desc ribed as both profoundly inventive and overwhelmingly destructive (p. 10). The German model advanced by these German-educated-Americans gradually elevated positivism and its associated principle of scientific inquiry to an exclusive position as the source of truth. The earliest higher education institutions (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc.) held that the Bible, as a direct revelation from God, was the final source of authority and truth. These institutions believed that the Enlightenment emphasis on natural science would only serv e to support and validate the Biblical truth claims. The German model eventually brought this Bibli cal authority under que stion by elevating the scientific method as the premiere tool fo r establishing/confirming evidence, and the scientific method was eventual ly applied to the Bible itse lf in the form of Higher Criticism. This, combined with the genera l acceptance of Darwinian evolution by many in the academic community during that time, brought an end to the Bi blical worldview as a significant component of the intellectual life of the modern university. It is MarsdenÂ’s (1994) contention that by the end of th e 1960s, religious perspectives had been significantly marginalized. Another significant historical account on th is broader issue of the secularization of the modern university is The Dying of the Light: The Disengagement of Colleges and Universities From Their Christian Churches by Burtchaell (1998). BurthchaellÂ’s concentration was on the issue of the secula rization of the religious affiliated schools.
34 Burthchaell attempted to answer the following question: What is th e current relationship between the religious affiliated schoo ls and their founding denominations? He approached this question by investigating ea ch denomination and its relationship to its respective flagship schools over several decades. He concluded, Â“The story in the stories is more melancholy than the author had e xpected. Most of these [denominational] colleges and universities no longer have a se rious, valued, or functioning relationship with their Christian sponsors of the pa stÂ” (p. xi). Similarly, Chris Anderson in Teaching as Believing: Faith in the University (2004) concluded, Â…in this respect there really isnÂ’t much difference between re ligious and secular institutions. Even in most church-sponsor ed colleges and universities, faith is no longer an integral part of the intellectual life on campus and hasnÂ’t been for a long timeÂ….Though faith and reason may be in more harmony at such places than at public institutions, day to day-in th e classroom, on the hiring and tenure committees-my Christian colleagues at Christian colleges and universities say that their situation is much the same as mine at Oregon State (p. 205). It seems apparent that religious perspectiv es have been marginalized in terms of the intellectual center of the modern univers ity. I do not mean th at religion is not discussed or even studied. However, what I mean by marginalization is that the truth claims of the various religi ous perspectives are no longe r on the table. The American academy has shifted its view from the Christia n perspective of theo logy as the queen of the sciences, to religion(s) as social objects of study in religion departments. Religions are not studied to gain truth or to gain wisdom for living (because God has spoken and has something to say); rather, they are st udied in order to explain or understand the
35 phenomenon of religion in the lives of people as a function of the evolutionary social adaptation consistent with DeweyÂ’s model of the three stages of human development (or a similar model, see Comte). As Drees (1996) suggests, religion is viewed as being rooted in our evolutionary past a nd as a component of our neurophysiology. This shift in perspective was descri bed in detail by Marsden (1994) in his explanation of the histori cal progression from the th eological perspective to methodological secularization and finally to id eological secularizati on (where he claims the Academy is today). In MarsdenÂ’s (1994) account of how secula rization occurred, the first major step away from theology was th e AcademyÂ’s shift in allowing scientific naturalism to define methodology while simultaneously retaining Christianity as a guiding ideology. This occurred and was maintained with some level of tension for several decades. He calls this met hodological secularization. Methodological secularization occurred when the technical tasks of discove ring knowledge were ceded to science. In MarsdenÂ’s (1994) account, th e next step was the transition from methodological to the ideological secularization, and he suggests that this was completed by the 1920Â’s. It was during the last transi tion to ideological secularization that Christianity lost its role as the guiding ideology in the university. Â“After that time, religion lost its primacy in both curriculum and epistemol ogy and was left struggling for a place within the increasingly objective universityÂ” (Eisenmann, 1998, p. 301). This Â“struggling for a place within the increasingly objective universityÂ” continues to the present day. For example, th e creation and existen ce of a diverse group of academics assembled from across the country to discuss foundational issues surrounding the interaction of religion and th e academy illustrates that some academics
36 believe there is a need for such discussion. The Lilly Seminar on Religion and Higher Education met semiannually over a three year period ending in the fall of 1999. According to Sterk (2002), the Lilly Seminar focused primarily on the following three topics: 1) religion and student formati on, 2) religious commitment and classroom teaching, and 3) religion and scholarship (p. 237) The fact that there were representatives from a diverse spectrum of religious backgrounds (agnostics, Catholics, Jews, Evangelicals, Mainline Protestants, et.al. ), from different types of colleges and universities, and included both administra tors and teachers suggests that religious marginalization may have occurred as the hi storians included in this review (Rudolph, Marsden, Burtchaell, Rueben, Sloan, and Eise nmann) have asserted and that this Â“struggling for a placeÂ” persists. However, on a positive note, the fact that such a seminar could take place demonstrates that this sort of discussion does take place in the academy, though recognizably taking place on the epistemic periphery. If the previously cited works on the history of higher education have some validity, then this may suggest why many educat ors seem to be attempting to answer the following question: What should the role of religion be, if anythi ng, within American higher education now that the yoke of Protestant hegemony has long since been removed? One of the pervasive threads in this collection of essays from the Lilly Seminar was that some of the religious participants used the seminar as a platform to express their personal frustrations at being the excluded, at being the other, at being alienated within and by the academy. Within this thread of fr ustration, another term clearly emerges. For example, Francis Oakley (2002), in his article Â“ Concluding Reflections on the Lilly
37 Seminar Â” made the following conclusion about a gr oup of Christian participants in the seminar: I am left, then, with the impression, as I indi cated last time, that what some of the advocates of Christian scholarship ma y be doing Â…[is] expressing (perhaps unwittingly) a type of epistemic resentment stimulated by the degree of marginalization or condescension they ma y have experienced at the hands of a highly secularized mainstream academic establishment (p. 241). Similarly, in her article Â“ Stopping the Heart: The Spiritual Search of Students and the Challenge to a Professor in an Undergraduate Literature Class ,Â” the Jewish scholar Susan Handelman (2002) observed, Many of my colleagues teaching feminist and postcolonial theory, or gay and lesbian studies quite passionately Â“pro fessÂ” their beliefs on those issues. Yet professing beliefs on religious issues in th e classroom tacitly seems to have been deemed illegitimateÂ…We have elided reli gion as one of those factors that goes into making of identityÂ—not even hearing it as a Â“marginalized voice.Â” While we encourage a very free discourse about polit ical and sexual identity, we are silent about our spiritua l sides (p. 204). Later in this article, Handelman (2002) says, For our students also often hide from us their own passiona te concerns, their spiritual struggles. Not often are they afforded an opportuni ty to express them in a large state university; and they are qu ite tentative about doing so, fearing retribution from relentlessly skeptical professors and seemingly cynical fellow studentsÂ…I had been struck by a recent article in my Smith College alumna
38 magazine about Â“Religion on CampusÂ” in which a Smith religion major was quoted as saying that in her religion courses, Â“we talk about spiritual experiences as if no one in the classroom could possibly have had oneÂ” (p. 206). As a further Lilly Seminar example, in her article Â“ Sociology and the Study of Religion Â” Nancy Ammerman (2002) concludes, When we look at what is being taught a nd published in the discipline [Sociology] as a whole, it would be easy to concl ude that the study of religion is indeed marginalized and often excluded entirely from our professional efforts to understand todayÂ’s society (p. 81). Later in the same article, Ammerman (2002) says, Sociology will never be able to claim its birt hright as a discipline until it takes off its Enlightenment blinders to pay attention to all the elements of the society it is supposed to be e xplaining (p. 86). Consistent with the statements above, th e most often repeated idea (implicitly or explicitly) throughout most of this section is the term ma rginalization. That is, there seems to be consensus among all of these sc holars that the relig ious perspective in American higher education has been marginalized. Relative to this study, the problem with th e marginalization hypot hesis, if valid, is that the nationÂ’s evangelical students would be immersed with in philosophical parameters that are often antithetical to their ontol ogical, cosmological, epistemological and moral presuppositions. The modern university is dominated and defined by a set of Enlightenment-driven, naturalistic assump tions about cosmology, epistemology and ontology. Among the dominant philosophical groups in American higher education there
39 are several shared or common presuppos itions. One of those commonly held presuppositions is a naturalistic ontology. As such, academic pursuits are necessarily conducted primarily within naturalistic parameters. The secular philosophical domination of the modern American university potentially creates an obvious philos ophical tension for a large population of religious/theistic students as well as for reli gious faculty. This tens ion in higher education is discussed by Chris Anderson in Teaching as Believing: Fa ith in the University. In this book, Anderson (2004) chronicles his own pe rsonal journey and struggle between his Catholic faith and his role as a professo r of English at Oregon State University. Anderson (2004) concluded, Christian faculty too often feels disc ounted and excluded by the university. ThatÂ’s been my own experience as a Cat holic deacon who is also a professor of English: The university either ignores my faith or sees it as a potential problem. But this is wrong. Faith isnÂ’t irrelevant to the intellectual life. Fa ithisnÂ’t a threat to pluralism. (p. 9). For Anderson, as well as several othe r academics cited in this review, the academy can be an alienating place. If it is alienating for Anderson and the other academics quoted in this section, is it possible that it could be systemically alienating for the evangelical student population as well ? Is it possible that Nature has finally conquered grace? To use the language of Newman in The Idea of the University (1996), has reason finally conquered faith ?
40 Section Two Â– Student Alienation Purpose. The purpose of this section is to explore the barriers, constraints, prejudices, injustices and re sultant alienation ex perienced by disenfranchised groups in American higher education. More specifically, this section will atte mpt to explore what the literature reveals about minority/disenfranchised students who find themselves removed from the mainstream of the instituti on. This Â“lack of fitÂ” may be due to some mix of variables such as culture, ethnicity, ideology, gender, sexual preference, beliefs, etc. The problem. During the past fifty years in th e United States, there has been a national shift towards greater social equality. Higher education has been viewed as one of the keys to social advancement, economic pr osperity and personal well being. It has been seen as a requisite gateway that leads to the systemÂ’s best and ultimately, to personal success. Consequently, a major component of this social equity movement has been higher education. This national movement has de monstrated a general intent to increase the access to higher education and the retention of socially disadvantaged subpopulations. In fact, some might argue that prior disc rimination in access to higher education has created a portion of the social inequality that exists and persists to this day. During the late 1960s and 1970s, minority students began enrolling in higher education in greater numbers than ever before, particular ly at predominantly White colleges. This trend was primarily due to affirmative action programs, civil rights legislation and increased access to financia l aid. However, since the early 1980s, there has been a regressive trend that has emerge d in a number of large longitudinal studies. This regressive trend has been primar ily in three areas: enrollment, academic
41 performance and retention of minority students (Tinto, 1998). For example, minority students attending predominantly White colleges are less likely to earn a degree within five years, have lower grade point averages, have higher attrition rates, and have lower graduate school matriculation rates than White students (Smedley, Myers, & Harrell, 1993). These same regressive trends emer ged when comparing minority students on predominantly White campuses with their peers on minority campuses. Since the vast majority of minority students attend predominantly White colleges, this problem is very significant. Many research ers, particularly those interested in student retention, began to address th is trend toward increased racial disparity in higher education. This trend proved to be the catalys t for a large body of s ubsequent research. It is a portion of that body of re search that is evaluated in this review. This problem (minority disparity in higher education) is extremely important because its solution or lack thereof, may have signi ficant societal repercussions. When subpopulations within any society perceive themselves as having been denied access to the general social benefits of that society, the stability of the society is pot entially imperiled. Alienation defined. This section will describe th e most salient definition of alienation that emerged from the literature review on this construct. However, this definition is broader than wh at was developed for the purpos e of this study and outlined in chapter 1. The rationale here is that I beli eve there are distinct characteristics related to the particular group under study which render the most prominent (broader) definition less effective for this particular study. However, I also think it is important that the reader understand the most prominent definition.
42 According to Smith (1989), Â“The theme of alienation pervades the literature. It is a powerful voice in the literature concerning racial and ethnic minor ities. It is also present in the literature focusing on women, the disa bled, and other non-tr aditional groupsÂ” (p.1). Alienation is a very broad term that refers to three types of ex periences (Steward, Germain, & Jackson, 1992). The first component of alienation is powerlessness which is an interpersonal interpretation of a situati on in which one subjectively feels they have limited or no control over desired outcomes (Shram & Lauver, 1988). Another component is normlessness or meaninglessness which is the loss of previously socialized values that may give meaning or purpose to life, and the conflict that may arise from adopting contradictory values (Burbach & Thompson, 1971). This component is very similar to the construct known as cognitive dissonance and has some similarities with what Tinto (1998) called incongruence or malintegration (discussed later), though not identical. The third component of alienation is social isolation or what Burbach (1972) called social estrangement which consists of feelings of loneliness and a general sense of separation from group norms or standards (D ean, 1961). This is also similar to a component of TintoÂ’s construct of ma lintegration identified simply as isolation The general acknowledgement from the literature is that all college students experience some form of alienation, and all alienation forms ha ve been associated with social withdrawal (Stephan & Stephan, 1989). However, a great d eal of the literature presented in this review will support the hypothe sis that alienation for minor ity groups is much more pervasive and has a direct effect on increas ed minority attritio n rates relative to nonminority attrition rates. However, one of the gr eat challenges in this construct review was that the terminology represen ting alienation has not remain ed consistent throughout the
43 literature and over time. An associated diffi culty was that the variables used to study alienation changed from study to study, rarely providing a stable target In spite of these challenges, alienation, as define d previously, is one of the integrating thr eads of this literature and is the primary focus of this research. The alienated and disenfranchised. Who are the alienated groups in American higher education? Obviously, I believe that one significant alie nated group is the evangelical student group. However, accordi ng to two secondary sources (Smith, 1989; Tinto, 1998), and this collective body of pr imary sources, the hypothesized alienated groups in American higher education are the following: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Amer icans, women, disabled Americans and international students. Smith (1989) included ga ys and lesbians in the above list, whereas Tinto (1998) omitted them. I use the term Â“hypothesizedÂ” alienated groups because much of this literature will implicitly or explicitly attempt to determine whether alienation is an actual phenomenon among these population gr oups on majority campuses, its sources, and its consequences. The Tinto Model of Student Departure. As I began this research, I soon realized that alienation was frequently mentioned in an attrition/retention context. In fact, there is minimal alienation-relevant research that is not somehow linked to student withdrawal behavior. Additionally, I discovered that afte r 1975, there was one attrition model that emerged as the dominant theoretical model for the study of departure in general, and of minority alienation in particular (as a factor in minority departure). The dominant model for the past 30 years has been TintoÂ’s (1975) model of student attrition. In fact, Boyle (1989) concluded, Â“the model ha s withstood careful scrutiny from the profession and has
44 become accepted as the most useful for expl aining the causes of student departure from higher educationÂ” (p. 290). Un fortunately, many of the rese archers involved in this review failed to use the m odel foundationally and this ha s negatively influenced the picture that has emerged. The model has e volved over time and has developed as new research has emerged. Before describing the m odel, it is necessary to describe some foundational assumptions made by its designer. The model rests on several conclusions that Tinto (1998) made about the existing re search related to the roots of student departure and the dominant themes within that research. There were three general categories or themes that emerged as primary factors for student attrition: (1) the dispositions of individuals as they enter higher ed ucation, (2) the character or manner in which individuals interact within the institu tion, and (3) the external forces that might influence the way a student behaves within the institution. He observed that there were two attributes associated w ith disposition student inte ntion and student commitment upon entry into the institution. For student-ins titutional interaction (item  above), he hypothesized the existence of f our constructs or subcategor ies influencing departure. These constructs are the following: adjustme nt, difficulty, incongruence and isolation. For the external forces (item [3 ] above) that affect departure, there were two that emerged obligations and finance. According to Tint o, it is the integration or combination of all of these factors in varying de grees that accounts for student attrition, and these categories collectively comprise the foundational basis for his student attrition model. Although Tinto described the significance of both student disposition (those individual characteristics the student brings to the academy) and external forces, most of the research reviewed here will not reflect this. Ra ther, the majority of the literature reviewed
45 for this study has its origins in item (2) Â– st udent interaction with the institution. It is through this interaction that student alienation arises and this alienation subsequently influences persistence-withdrawal behavi or. Incidentally, tw o foundational studies reviewed by the author that strongly validated this model and its th eoretical constructs were Getzlaf, Sedlacek, Kearney, and Black well (1984) and Pascarella and Terenzini (1983). It is this student alienation associated with interaction with the institution that is the focus of this proposed research involving evangelic al students. A brief background and descrip tion of TintoÂ’s model might prove beneficial here. Student attrition has been studied for many d ecades. However, most of the research was not theory driven. Additionally, most of the research could be placed on extreme ends of a continuum. That is, the researchers eith er focused on student characteristics and deficiencies, or they focused on institutiona l shortcomings but rarely both, concomitantly. The prominence of the Tinto model can proba bly be explained by the fact that it combined both the institutional factors and student factors into a more comprehensive, integrative model. This brought some c oherence to the research and provided a conceptual framework that has served to gui de the subsequent qua ntitative and qualitative research. TintoÂ’s model is longitudinal and it hypothe sizes that withdrawal behavior is a function of four separate th eoretical constructs : (1) student background characteristics (e.g., quality of elementary and secondary education, socioeconomic status, family background, etc.); (2) initial commitments of the student (i.e., graduation commitment and commitment to the institution); (3) academic integration and social integration ; and (4) subsequent goal and institutional commitme nts. However, the heart of the model is
46 academic and social integration as Tint o (1975) suggested, Â“given individual characteristics, prior experiences and commitme ntsÂ…it is the individualÂ’s integration into the academic and social systems of the coll ege that most directly relates to his continuance in that collegeÂ” ( p. 96). It is within the cons truct boundaries of social and academic integration that a majority of the re viewed literature on minority alienation is to be found. As stated previously, the proposed research on Evangelical Student Alienation is within the boundaries of TintoÂ’s constructs of academic and social integration It must be pointed out that Tinto did not specifically use the term alienation as a construct within his model. Rather, Tinto used the terms incongruence and isolation. Tinto (1998) defined incongruence in the following manner: Â“Â…what is sometimes referred to as lack of institutional fit, refe rs to that state wher e individuals perceive themselves as being substantially at odds with the institutionÂ” (p. 50). Incongruence occurs when integration is perceived as something undesirable from the studentÂ’s standpoint. On the other hand, isolation is wh at occurs when students find themselves removed from the daily activit ies of the institution and th e individuals and groups that collectively comprise the inst itution. Though Tinto did not use the term alienation, that construct is what he was s ynonymously referring to, as the definitions of incongruence and isolation are entirely c onsistent with the components of alienation discussed previously. Social integration and academic integration are primarily determined by varying degrees of isolation and incongruen ce (i.e., alienation). Therefore, one could conclude that the construct la beled student alienation is at the very heart of the Tinto model as a significant predictor of attrition. Much of the rese arch presented herein will focus on the Tinto model as a theoretical mode l that reveals the key to minority attrition
47 because the implicit hypothesis is that higher le vels of minority attrition are a result of higher levels of minority alienation, speci fically on majority campuses. By giving the Tinto model prominence in the organization of this paper, I agree with Loo and Rolison (1986) that the model is more than an at trition model but it pr ovides a theoretical framework for describing the entirety of the minority college student experience. In my opinion, it is also the best framework for ev aluating student alienati on, as a component of the minority student experience and as a component of the Evangelical student experience. As mentioned prev iously, not everyone involved in this field would agree, and this is one of the weaknesses of the ove rall research effort (discussed later). The Literature Review on Student Alienation This chapter describes the literature that is relevant to th e purpose of this study (Evangelical Student Alienation), providing a construct overview. It is organized into seven sections: (1) The Minority Student, (2 ) The African American Student, (3) The Hispanic American Student, (4) The Nativ e American Student, (5) The Disabled American Student, (6) Other Alienated Student Groups, and (7) Conclusions. The alienated groups are presented in the above fa shion because the litera ture seems generally to reflect that type of organization. With the exception of lite rature necessary for explaining theoretical constructs I made a commitment to exclude from this review those studies conducted before 1980. Additionally, it must be recognized that the words used as racial and ethnic identifiers change over time This research covers a period of twentyfive years. I will use the same racial identif iers used by the researchers during that period. Many racial identifiers will be used interchangeably.
48 The minority student. A summary of the four-year, majority-campusenvironments for racial and ethnic minorities concludes that, Â“while the scope and depth of racial and discriminatory attitudes a nd behavior are unknown, it is clear that predominantly White four-year colleges and universities have somehow failed to live up to their ideals as civil and tolerant soci al communities that respect diversity and pluralismÂ” (Crosson, 1988, p. 381). This section consists of studies concerning alienation that included comparisons of more than two ethnic groups, or studies that refer to minorities in a general sense. The foundational study in this section is a study conducted by Loo and Ro lison (1986). In this study of Anglos, Chicanos, Asian Americans, African Americans, Filipino Americans and Native Americans, conducted at a small, public university in the California system, the researchers assessed and compared the exte nt and nature of sociocultural alienation and academic satisfaction among ethnic minority students and Anglos. They found that social alienation for minority students was greater than that for Anglo students. They also found that minority students could attain academ ic integration without social integration. Academic alienation for Blacks and Chicanos was due to poorer a cademic preparation and the culture shock of encountering an environment very different to the home environments they had left behind. The aut hors introduced a term they called Â“ethnic enclavesÂ” which they defined as a social unit where an ethnic subculture could be expressed in a supportive, yet isolated e nvironment. White students perceived these ethnic enclaves as manifestations of linge ring racial segregation whereas the minority students saw them as entities necessary for surv ival in a larger, threatening and generally unsupportive environment. Another significan t finding was that attrition for Anglo
49 students was primarily a function of academic s while minority attrition was primarily influenced by social integration and academic factors. In other words, the findings for minority students were more consistent w ith the Tinto model. Minority students also emphasized the scarcity of minor ity faculty as a contributing factor in their alienation. In a follow-up study using the Tinto model on racially different student populations at a major, Southwestern univers ity, Stage (1989) found th at high levels of social integration were associated with the persistence of minority students. This is consistent with a similar finding in L oo and Rolison (1986). Stage also found that minorities at high levels of academic integrati on were less likely to persist than Anglos with equivalent levels of academic integration. This is consistent with a similar finding in a study by Lichtman, Bass, and Ager (1989) which compared African American and Anglo persistence. The previous studies support the genera l hypothesis that minority alienation on majority campuses exists. The next several studies explore a nd attempt to provide greater insight into the causes and effects of minority alienation on majority campuses. Murguia, Padilla, and Pavel (1991), in a qualitativ e study of Hispanics and Native Americans, explored the role of ethnicit y in TintoÂ’s model and what it means for a student to be integrated into the social sy stem of the campus. They found that ethnicity is such a major component of self-identity and social identity that it has an enormous affect on how a person functions on a university campus Another theme that emerged was the importance of ethnic enclaves to the minority students themselves. Because ethnicity is such a significant component of self and social identity, th ese researchers concluded that universities should create polic ies that are suppor tive of these ethnic enclaves. They
50 suggested that this could be cr itical if these enclaves happen to be the primary vehicles of social and academic integration. Additionally, they suggested that by their institutional inactivity and general lack of support, major ity institutions tend to communicate that oneÂ’s ethnicity should be left at the campus gate upon entrance. Nora and Cabrera (1996) attempted to determine the role of perceptions of prejudice and discrimination within the Ti nto model, and to determine whether a difference existed between minority and major ity students in this perception. This study was conducted at a major, public, commute r, predominantly Anglo, Midwestern university. Their freshmen sample consisted of Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics and Whites. Th e researchers found ge neral support for the notion that perceptions of pr ejudice and discrimination negati vely affect academic and social adjustment. However, the perceptions did not have the overwhelming affect on persistence that the researchers had origin ally hypothesized they would. This finding tends to contradict the findings of most of the studies included in this review. However, they did suggest that other cultural rela ted variables might account for the student incongruence. In a similarly focused study, Smedley, Myers, and Harrell (1993) hypothesized that there were a collection of variables they labeled Â“minority status stressesÂ” which contribute to alienati on and subsequent attrition. Although they recognized the existence of stresses for all fr eshmen students, they suggested that there are stresses unique to minority students th at account for the difference in minority malintegration as compared to White stude nts. The general findings supported the hypothesis that minority status stresses play a significant role in minority freshmen adaptation. Status stresses emerged from contact and conflict between and within racial
51 and ethnic groups. Additional minority stresses we re identified as the following: concerns over their lack of academic preparedness, que stions about their legitimacy as students, perceptions of negative expect ations from Anglo peers and faculty, concerns over family expectations, and lack of understanding from the family. The most debilitating minority status stresses were found to be those that undermined the st udentÂ’s academic confidence and ability to bond with the university. The African American students had the highest level of stresses of all the ethnic groups st udied. It is interesti ng to note that African Americans also have the highest attrition rate of any minority group (Allen, 1985). Perhaps these minority status stresses are the significant variables in the alienation problem. This study emphasized how important the university environment is to the adaptation and success of minority students, wh at Crosson (1988) referred to as the Â“campus climate.Â” One anomalous study by Steward, Germain, and Jackson (1992) found that Anglo, Asian and Hispanic seniors have sim ilar interactional styles and that they experienced alienation to the same degree at this Midwestern, pub lic university. They suggested that because the sample of mi norities was primarily middle-class, these students had already been acculturated closer to Anglo, middle-class values prior to arrival, which would reduce alienation duri ng the college experien ce. A previous study by Steward et al. (1990) had found that Hispanics felt less alienation the more they attempted to negotiate with the dominant cult ure. In this same study, African American students would change their interactional styles based upon the social setting. African Americans also perceived themselves to be more alienated the more they attempted to interact with the dominant culture; this is quite different to the Hispanic studentsÂ’
52 behavior. Harvey (2001), in a study analyzi ng stigmatization and so cial isolation of African American students and Native Amer ican students compared to Caucasian students, found that both minority groups reported significantly higher stigmatization scores than White students. Another portion of research on minority al ienation consists of studies oriented towards providing possible research base d solutions to the social and academic incongruence of minority students. Richar dson, Simmons, and de los Santos (1987) identified the most successful minority-graduating, public universities across the nation and sought to determine what they were doing that was enabling them to successfully overcome the minority attrition problems. Th e findings were significant and they are consistent with the Tinto constructs. They found that successful colleges and universities tend to view minority achievement as a prep aration problem rather than as a racial problem. Campus environment or climate was r ecognized as a critical variable and these schools attempted to attain a minimum of 20% minority populations. The successful schools have recognized the importance of mi nority faculty in creating a positive climate and so they were continuously seeking to hire minority teachers. At successful institutions, there was visible evidence of administrative suppor t, and there were systematic strategies in place to promote the success of all of their students. However, when needs were identified, funds and policie s were applied aggressively. In a related study, Crosson (1988) attempted to determine what steps were necessary to create campus environments that would retain minority students. She identified four areas that need institutional attention: (1) precollege programs, (2) remediation programs, (3) programs and services promoting student i nvolvement in campus life, and (4) campus
53 climate (particularly the racial climate). Similarly, Levin a nd Levin (1991) suggested that there were two bodies of literature relating to predictors of retention Â– precollege and atcollege (consistent with the Tinto model) They made two general recommendations based upon a literature review of the at-college predictors First, institutions should increase faculty involvement as a policy. S econd, institutions should develop academic retention programs. These programs were divi ded into the following categories: proactive interventions, small group tutorials, study sk ills and test taking programs, and programs for improving the quality of instruction. Concerning the qua lity of instruction, the hypothesis was that underprepared students need particularly effective instructors. The consistency of these last three studies is worth noting. They were advocating similar policies for improving minority re tention and graduation rates. The last part of this section focu ses on CrossonÂ’s (1988) campus climate but applied to a national level. Downey and Stage (1999) assessed the national campus climate by studying hate crimes on college a nd university campuses According to the U.S. Department of Justice (1990), a hate crime is a criminal offense committed against an individual, group of indivi duals, or their property becau se of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. Unfortuna tely for minority groups, Â“Incidences of violence and hate crimes are increasingly prevalent today and threaten the sense of community on college and university campuses Â” (Downey & Stage, 1999, p. 3). In fact, according to estimates from the National In stitute Against Prejudice and Violence (NIAPV), 20% to 25% of the nationÂ’s minority students are victimized by hate crimes every year (Ehrlich, 1990). Downey and Stage (1999) suggested that campus hate crimes can be identified in a general sense by the following characteristics: (1) hate crimes are
54 more likely to involve violence, (2) they are usually random and spontaneous acts committed by young White males, and (3) they are usually conducted by more than one perpetrator. According to Levin and McDe vitt (1993), college students are the most frequent perpetrators of hate crimes upon ot her college students, a nd they commit 85% of all campus hate crimes. According to the NI APV, victims who did not report hate crimes ranged from 80% to 94% at four Northeaste rn universities (Ehrlich, 1992). Perhaps the most likely reason for this failure to repor t is that not reporting hate crimes is a manifestation of the victimsÂ’ perceptions of marginalization and alienation from their campus communities. Implicit in this behavior is the apparent belief that the university officials will probably fail to act and that re porting will likely catal yze further attacks. DÂ’Augelli (1989) found that 94% of the gays and lesbians in his sample did not report incidents of harassment to university offici als. According to Stage and Downey (1999), gays and lesbians are victimized more ofte n than any other group. It seems obvious that hate crimes, or what Perry (2002) calls Â“et hnoviolence,Â” is a signi ficant contributor to minority alienation on majority campuses. Th e recentness of these figures is not good news and reflects the general persiste nce of an alienating environment. The African American Student. The majority of literature concerning minority attrition evaluates African American students. To a certain extent, th is makes sense, as African Americans are the largest minority grou p in the United States, and they have the longest historical involvement with higher education. Although some of the access barriers for African Americans have decreased, significant problems persist. For instance, although university enrollments have increase d nationally over the past 25 years, African Americans continue to be underrepresented (Gloria, Robinson-Kurpuis, Hamilton &
55 Willson, 1999). Additionally, 66.3 % of the Af rican American students attending predominantly White colleges or universities, will fail to persist (Gloria et al., 1999). Since the vast majority of African American students attend predominantly White colleges, the problem is very significant. African American students on White campuses also have lower academic performance than their peers on African American campuses (Nettles, Theony, & Gosman, 1986). The literature in this section attempts to shed light on these very significant issues. To maintain consistency with the Tinto model and to attempt to make sense of a fairly substantial body of research, the l iterature discussed in this section has been organized into three categories: (1) literature related to social integration, (2) literatu re focusing strictly on academic in tegration, and (3) literature that combines academic and social integration. Alth ough racial identifiers tend to shift with the passage of time, the two terms that were most frequently used over the past twenty years of research to identify students of African descent are African Americans and Blacks. These terms are used intercha ngeably in the following sections. Social integration of African American students. Pascarella (1985) sought to discover the variables that would account for different attrition rates between Whites and Blacks. Using the CIRP longitudinal data from 1971 to 1980, invol ving 5,577 students at 352 four-year colleges and universities, this study compared Whites and Blacks by gender using the five constructs of the Tint o Model. There was a significant difference between White men and Black men. For the Black male population, having a formal leadership role had a significant partial corre lation with persistence. Additionally, social integration contributed more significantly to Black male persistence than academic integration. This suggests that the social integration component is integral to Black male
56 persistence. This was consis tent with the findings of A llen (1985), in which 45% of a sample of 695 Black undergraduates, at six ma jor, public universities in different regions reported high levels of social estrangeme nt. What might account for this high social estrangement nationally? In a related study, DÂ’Augelli and Hers hberger (1993) controlled for academic achievement, grade level, and academic major in an attempt to explore the noncognitive dimensions (e.g., racism, etc.) influencing th e lives of Black stude nts. They found that Black students had significantly lower well-being and life satisfaction scores than White students. They hypothesized that the only variab le that was distinct enough to account for this was the level of the pe rception of racial discrimina tion. In fact, 66% of Blacks reported knowledge of racial incidents, 48% said it was likely that the average Black would be mistreated, 57% said they feared for their safety, and 33% said they felt mistreated by faculty at their large, midAtla ntic university. Based upon these percentages, it seems understandable why hi gh social estrangement is so prevalent among African American students. Another study reflecting social estra ngement was a longitudinal, qualitative, follow-up study at Southwest Missouri State Un iversity (SMSU). Fisher and Hartmann (1995), building on previous Black alienation st udies at SMSU, looked to identify certain patterns that would affect th e quality of the overall soci al experience of Blacks on campus. Additionally, they sought to determine whether Blacks and Whites place equal importance on interracial relationships. They identified the following emergent themes: (1) A studentÂ’s social life and associated oppor tunities are strongly a ffected by his or her racial background. (2) Race is far more salient for Black students. (3) Black students at
57 SMSU feel alienated by campus life. (4) The majority of Blacks (54%) reported witnessing racial prejudice on cam pus with 71% of those incide nts being racial slurs. (5) Blacks tend to segregate themselves so as not to be considered a Â“sell outÂ” by their peers. The themes for this self-segregation or sell-o ut avoidance behavior were peer pressure from other Blacks, distrust of Whites, a nd avoidance behavior related to potential prejudice from Whites. In a similar study on the social isolation of Black students attending southern, predom inantly White colleges, James (1998) found that Black students were experiencing soci al alienation in various form s. Consistent with this, Redden (2002) determined that Â“African American students perceived their predominantly White university more negatively than their White counterpartsÂ” (p. 2) and that this was a factor in depression an d social alienation of Black students. In a qualitative study in this same cate gory, Davis et al (2004) identified several major themes that emerged from phenome nological interviews of successful Black students at a predominantly White southeaste rn university. Those themes included the following: unfairness, sabotage, condescension, isolation, the sense of differentness or standing out, having to prove oneÂ’s worth, i nvisibility, and the feeling of sometimes having to represent all Black students. Lewi s et al (2004) suggested similar emerging themes in another qualitative study that explor ed experiences of African American Ph.D. students at a predominately White Carnegie I research institution. Those themes included the following: (1) feelings of isolation, (2) f eelings of standing out, (3) relationships with peers, and (4) negotiating the system. Academic integration of Af rican American students. Only two studies were found that specifically examined components of acad emic integration. Lichtman et al. (1989)
58 longitudinally examined White verses Black at trition rates at an urban, commuter college over a six-year period. This study sought to determine whether Blacks have higher attrition rates and whether GPA and academic pr eparation affected attrition rates equally for Blacks and Whites. The study found that 57% of Blacks dropped out as opposed to 38% of Whites and the difference remained when controlling for high school grades and ACT scores. This challenges the notion that Blacks drop out because of poor preparation. However, it also solicits the following ques tion: If inadequate preparation does not drive attrition, then what does? The general tone of th e rest of the research in this section tends toward alienation as the primary cause. This is further reinforced by the counterintuitive finding in the above study that as GPA increas ed, the rate of Black withdrawal increased. They found that above 3.0, one White student dropped fo r every 3.47 Black students. This suggests that some other set of factor s was affecting attri tion rates of African American students. The second study, conduc ted by Giles-Gee (1989), was a comparison of two cohorts of Black students. One cohort received an intense academic improvement program that included advising, study skills a nd a tutorial center. The control group was not given the treatment. The cohort of st udents receiving the progr am had a 9% higher retention rate. This study suggests that acad emic integration can improve retention for African American students. This is reinforced further by the previously discussed studies on minority retention and su ccess (Richardson et al., 1987; Crosson, 1988; Levin & Levin, 1991). Social and academic integration of African American students. Donovan (1984) examined low-income Blacks attending a variet y of institutions throughout the country to determine whether the background characteristic s of the student or the college experience
59 (academic and social integration) was the dominant predictor of attrition. Donovan found that college experiences are more important than background characteristics in predicting withdrawal behavior. In a follow-up study, Stoecker, Pascarella, and Wolfe (1988), using data from the nine-year CIRP surveys fr om 1971 to 1980, attempted to validate the various components of the Tinto model. They found that six variables in the model had significant direct effects on Black male pe rsistence. Two were background traits Â– socioeconomic status and secondary school achievement, and the other four were measures of the college experience. They dete rmined that academic and social integration were the most important determinants of Bl ack persistence. Sedlacek and Brooks (1976) hypothesized the existence of eight noncognitive variables that were cr itical in the lives of minority students in order for them to achieve success on majority campuses. These variables include the following: (1) positive se lf-concept, (2) realistic self-appraisal, (3) understands and deals with racism, (4) demons trated community involvement, (5) prefers long range goals to short term, (6) availability of strong support person, (7) successful leadership experience, and (8) knowledge acquire d in their field. All of these could easily be placed into TintoÂ’s model and the majo rity of them would fall under academic or social integration. Sedlacek ( 1987), in his review of the lit erature of twenty years of research assessing Black students on White campuses, found that Blacks still had problems with self-concept, racism, deve loping a community and other noncognitive variables. What Sedlacek was really sayi ng is that Blacks are suffering from social estrangement and this is consistent with the later findings of DÂ’Augelli and Hershberger (1993), discussed previously.
60 In a study using the University Aliena tion Scale (Burbach, 1972), Suen (1983) examined the relationship between alienation and attrition among Black students within a predominantly White university environment. The University Alienation Scale was designed to measure meaninglessness, power lessness, and social estrangement, known collectively as alienation. In this stud y, on a medium-sized, public, Midwestern university, Black students were more alie nated than Whites. The most important contributor to the alienation score was soci al estrangement. Attrition was higher for Blacks and attrition related significantly to the total alienation score and the subscale score of meaninglessness. Suen concluded th at alienation does rela te to Black student attrition. As discussed prev iously, alienation is a func tion of the integration of noncognitive variables. Studying Bl ack students at a large, Southwestern, state university, Gloria (1999) examined these noncognitive va riables as they affect persistence. The results suggested that more social support, more comfort in the university environment, and positive self-beliefs were associated w ith persistence. Of these three constructs, university comfort and strong so cial support were the strongest predictors. These studies emphasize the importance of noncognitive variable s in the retention of African American students attending majority schools. One of the components of academic inte gration is academic achievement. There were several studies that attempted to cl arify the relationships between the college experience (academic and social integration) a nd performance. For example, Nettles et al. (1986) asked the following questions in their study involving thirty institutions: (1) Is there any difference in the college performan ce of Black and White students? (2) What are the significant predictors of Black st udent and White student college performance?
61 (3) How do differences in the quality of th e college experiences of Black and White students affect their college performance? On e of the most important findings of this study was the importance of student-envir onment fit as measured by the following variables: student feelings th at the university is nondiscrimi natory, academic integration, student satisfaction, peer group relations a nd interfering problems. This study showed that lower feelings of discrimination cont ributed to higher performance as measured by GPA. Blacks were less academically inte grated, had less satisfaction with their university, and experienced more interfering problems. With all other variables held constant, Black students who perceived less di scrimination, who were satisfied with their university, and who had stronger peer gr oup relations, had higher GPAs. Tracey and Sedlacek (1987) developed this further th rough a longitudinal study at one majority university. They were attempting to learn whet her there were different determinants of success for Black and White students. The be st predictor for Whites was SAT scores. However, this was only true for Blacks for th e first semester. Thereafter, they found that persistence and grades were independent. In other words, Blacks were not dropping out because of poor performance. Rather, they found the noncognitive variables (social integration) to be the best predictors of Black persistence. Again, this points heavily toward student alienation because the noncognitive variables are predominantly alienation variables. There were several studies conducte d during this period that assessed performance as a function of alienation by comparing Black students on White campuses with Black students on Black campuses. Allen (1987, 1988) conducted studies in consecutive years using data from the Na tional Study of Black College Students (1981,
62 1983). These studies collected data on Black students at six, large, majority, public institutions and compared them to da ta on Blacks attending eight, public, Black institutions. In Allen (1987), grades we re found to be higher for Blacks on Black campuses. White campuses were found to be fa r more alienating for Black students and those students desired more supportive e nvironments. This was reflected in less involvement in campus activities for Blacks on White campuses. Relations with White faculty were more favorable on Black cam puses. In the follow-up study, Allen (1988) looked at performance as a func tion of satisfaction with college and racial attitudes. He found that Black students at Black colleges ha ve higher GPAs. He also found that 63% of the students on Black campuses indicated th at campus activities were consistent with their interests while only 8% could say th is on majority campuses. Black students on Black campuses reported positive relationships with White faculty. They also reported much higher levels of academic competiti on, had lower occupational aspirations and were less likely to desire advanced degrees. Allen (1988) concluded, Â… the evidence suggests that Black students on Black campuses are more disadvantaged socioeconomically and acad emically than are Black students on White campuses but that students on Bl ack campuses display more positive psychosocial adjustments, significant academic gains, and greater cultural awareness/commitment (p. 406). In a related study comparing the same tw o groups, Davis (1995) attempted to determine what noncognitive variables affect educational achievement for Black males. The independent variables were academic and personal background, racial congruency factors and college level environmental factor s. Black students at Black institutions were
63 more integrated into the academic life of their campuses, earned better grades and perceived their colleges to be providing more institutional support. He concluded that differences in the racial environment and other college environment variables affect academic achievement. One of the most interesting primary sources acquired during this research was a diary of a female, African American freshman (Millner, 1998), attending Harvard University. In studying this document, five th emes emerged that reinforced much of the research presented in this section. Those th emes were the following: (1) Black students tend to segregate themselves. (2) Black student s feel extremely isolated because of race. (3) There was very little explicit institutional support of minorities and this increased the student feelings of incongruence. In particular, the author po inted to the lack of minority facilities to support the development of ethnic enclaves and to the overall poor quality of the minority studies programs. (4) Black st udents feel alienated on campus. The author referred to alienated minorities as Â“Harvard zombiesÂ” (p. 121). (5) Minority students have intense disdain for the highly competitive academ ic atmosphere. This is consistent with a similar finding in McCool (1984), to be disc ussed in the next section (The Hispanic American Student). The themes that emerged from this diary are consistent with the literature over the past twenty years. I would like to close th is section on African American incongruence with the following summary statement: Ask a black student about the racial climat e on campus and he or she will likely describe it as a microcosm of societ yÂ…. They hear outlandishly insensitive statements and observe painful expre ssions of disrespect and downright hatredÂ….Repeatedly, however, black experi ences in mostly White colleges are
64 chronicles of how the institutions have almost systematically bruised self-esteem and doled out mere pittances of support services (Beckham, 1988, p.76). The Hispanic American student. Due to the increasing presence of Hispanic Americans in higher education, research on the recruitment, retenti on and performance of this population becomes increasi ngly important. Latinos have become one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United Stat es. According to the 1991 U.S. Census, Hispanics were 8.2 % of the total population (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1991). Demographic pr ojections report that Hispan ics will become the largest minority group by 2005 (Â“Facts on Hispanic Hi gher Education,Â” 2000). However, despite these figures, Latinos continue to be unde rrepresented on AmericaÂ’s campuses (Collison, 1999). According to OÂ’ Brien (1993), few colleges and universities are succeeding in retaining Latinos and Latinos are the leas t likely ethnic group to persist. Many researchers have commented on how scanty th e research on Hispanic retention has been. What has been done has not contributed mu ch to our overall u nderstanding of the problem of low Latino persistence. Consequently there has also been little revealed about Latino alienation as a component of social and academic integrat ion within the Tinto model. Additionally, no Hispanic -specific-constructs related to persistence for Hispanic students have been identified up to this point in time. Nonetheless, this section is a brief summary of the research that has contributed to the knowle dge in Latino alienation and their subsequent lack of persistence. In attempting to determine how Chicano perceptions of thei r community colleges might affect their persistence, Lowe (1989) determined that Chicano persistence was positively related to the amount of support prov ided by others. Lowe suggested that these
65 significant others could include family, peers, faculty and staff. This was consistent with the findings of Hernandez (2000) in a quali tative study attempting to find themes in Latino retention that emerged from the stude ntsÂ’ perspectives. A dditionally, Hernandez (2000) attempted to determine what environm ental factors were influencing the college experience and subsequent retent ion of this group. Over half of the emerging themes in this study had to do with social integrati on. The students in this study identified the following themes related to social integration: (1) the family (as a source of support and encouragement), (2) friends and peers, (3) positive faculty and staff relationships, (4) involvement in extracurricular groups and activities, (5) finding a Latino community (ethnic enclave) and (6) the theme th at the environment is the people. This emphasis on social integration is further emphasized by McCool (1984) who found that a cultural trait of Mexican American students is a desire for increased cooperation and group assistance. This trait is silhouetted agai nst the competitive nature of peer relations that exists at predominan tly White institutions, and this may account for some Hispanic alienation. McC ool (1984) also found that this family orientation could have a negative effect in that Latino students were often expected to Â“helpÂ” their families while attending college. This Â“helpÂ” came in many forms, not the least of which was financial. This emphasis on social integration for Hisp anic students is further revealed in a study conducted by Attanasi ( 1989) who attempted to deve lop Hispanic persistence constructs. In a qualitative study of 18 stude nts at a large, public, Southwestern university, he found that social and academic integration, what A ttanasi called Â“Getting in,Â” is a function of the extent to which th e university environment endows the individual
66 with the ability to manage their environment. In other words, Attanasi suggests that persistence is a function of how well the college environment helps the student perceive the physical, social and academic geographies as being manageable or negotiable. It was also found that the Hispanic pers ister is more likely to employ st rategies that assist in the development of cognitive maps. This might explain one of the findings in McCool (1984) as it was discovered that Hispanic students are often not aware of the systemic support available to them in that nonpersisters might fail to develop these cognitive maps. This is further supported by Olivas (1986) in a st udy on retention and fi nancial aid. He found that half of the Hispanic students studied ac tually over reported their family incomes and thereby decreased the amount of financial aid that was legitim ately available to them. To me, this seems to demonstrate the consequences of failing to develop a cognitive map about how the university operates. In addition to what was discussed previous ly, Hernandez (2000) also found that a positive self-efficacy was related to persistence behavior. This is consistent with McCool (1984) who found that the negative labels like Â“disadvantagedÂ” were negatively impacting the self-efficacy of Latino st udents and thus, nega tively influencing persistence. Another significant persistence-related-barrier for Hispanic students was simply the dominant language. It was found that many Hispanic students come from domestic environments in which Spanish is the only language spoken. Additionally, bilingual students were competent conversati onally but struggled with the formal English of the classroom (McCool, 1984). In a somewhat anomalous study, Nora ( 1987) attempted to test the Tinto model specific to social and academic integration and the retenti on of Hispanic students. For
67 Chicano students, the findings did not subs tantiate the significance of academic and social integration on retention. Instead, tw o precollege factors we re found significant Â– high school grades and encouragement by othe rs before college entrance. However, a possible relationship with NoraÂ’s (1987) findi ng and the previously di scussed research is that this precollege lack of encouragement might be associated with the self-efficacy variable in that those students who were not encouraged before college entrance might lack self-efficacy, which is related to withdrawal. In closing this secti on, it seems obvious that the knowledge about Hispanic retention and alienation is ma rginal. Considering the growth of the Hispanic population in higher education, it seems al most negligent that the amou nt of knowledge on Hispanic retention is so sparse. Be sides the paucity of knowle dge, another problem is in generalizing across Hispanic groups. The genera l tendency has been to generalize to all Hispanic populations. The cultural differences between Spanish speaking peoples are highly diverse; to treat th em homogeneously tends to degrade the minimal knowledge that is available. In other words, I question whether truly Â“HispanicÂ” research is possible given the tremendous diversity that exists within that construct. The Native American student. Native Americans have similar retention problems to the other ethnic groups previously discu ssed in this review. In fact, according to Tierney (1992), only 20% of t hose Native American students who make it to ninth grade will enroll in college and of that group, only 15% will graduate from college. Perry (2002) reported even lower Native American graduation rates of less than 10%. Tierney (1992) offered one possible explanation for these dismal national results for Native Americans. Â“An American Indian who sets foot on a mainstream campus undergoes a
68 disruptive cultural experience no t because college is a rite of passage, but because the institution is culturally distinct from the Indi an youthÂ’s own cultureÂ” (p. 608). Implicit in this quotation about cultural distinctiveness is student alienation. The alienation comes from having to function in a foreign environm ent, an environment often perceived to be openly hostile. This thread of cultural distinctiveness runs through at leas t two of the studies included in this review. Sanders (1987) sought to identify cultural differences that might explain Native American difficulties in e ducation through the K-12 system and beyond. Sanders identified twenty cultural differences between the Native American culture and the dominant culture. Some of those differen ces, which are pertinent to this discussion, are included in the following list: (1) Native Am ericans speak softer and at a slower rate. (2) They tend to avoid speaker to listener visual contact (anathema in the dominant culture). (3) They interject less during conversation or wh ile another is speaking. (4) They tend to use less encouraging signs that they are listening (e.g., uh-huh, yeah, etc.). (5) They often delay a response, as immediat e response is not a cultural necessity for them. (6) They tend to be more nonverba l than verbal in communications. (7) Cooperation is far more valuable than competition. (8) The groupÂ’s needs are more important than oneÂ’s own. (9) They tend to focus on present goals and are temporally oriented in the present. (10) Nature is something to be in harmony with, not something to control. (11) They tend to focus on contro lling their own behavi or as opposed to controlling others. (12) They tend towards collective discipline versus individual accountability. (13) They encourage shari ng and keeping only enough for oneÂ’s present needs. (14) They tend to observe activities first before participating and will participate
69 only when they are certain of their ability to succeed. (15) They are patient and will allow others to go first. The above list emphasizes glaring differences in culture. However, the Native American is expected to function in what amounts to an alien environment. This alien environment is faster, noisier, mo re self-serving, more aggressive, more competitive, and contains a different syst em of goals and rewards (Sanders, 1987). Sanders concluded that the incongruent valu es produce passive, def eatist students at all levels of the system. Sanders also identified the need for more Native American faculty throughout the system. The previous study focused on the general impact of cultural alienation in American education. However, Tierney (1992) explored themes in Native American attrition from higher education. This long itudinal (two-year) study involved over 200 interviews on ten college campuses. Two do minant themes emerged from this study. First, the problem with acculturation was prim arily a result of Native American rejection of the majority emphasis on competition and achievement, which is consistent with Sanders (1987), discussed previously. Second, Native Americans have generally rejected the dominant culture; therefore, integration becomes extremely difficult or even impossible. Tierney indicated th at the problem is not with th e student and suggested that objectifying the ethnic group as th e problem is, in itself, a prob lem. Rather, he said that the problem was that the institutions lack th e ability to operate in a multicultural world. Simply stated: do not fix the alienated group; fix the environment that continues to alienate them. The last section on Native Americans is focused on the issue of campus climate and the alienating environment. Perry ( 2002) studied campus ethnoviolence that was
70 committed against Native Americans at Nort hern Arizona University (NAU). Perry defined ethnoviolence as Â“Â…act s of violence and intimidation, usually directed toward already stigmatized and marginalized groups Â” (p. 36). Incidentally, Perry chose NAU because it had one of the highest Native Ameri can enrollments and graduation rates in the country. Perry found that 40% of Native Amer icans reported being victimized by virtue of their ethnicity, and 30% repor ted being victimized more than once. The majority of the incidents were verbal. The study also attempted to assess the campus climate by measuring the prominence of the racist lite rature and racist imagery that the campus atmosphere generally presented to the st udents. Of those Native American students sampled, 41.3% reported experiencing racist l iterature or imagery on campus. Perhaps the most disturbing finding was th at 44% of those who repor ted incidents of racial victimization reported that th e faculty or staff was passive ly or actively involved. Data collected by Taylor (2003) indi cated similar findings as above. In this qualitative study of 16 Native American students on a predomin antly White campus, th e following themes emerged: feelings of isolation, loneliness, disc omfort because of looks and stares, lack of respect, experiencing thoughtless comments or stereotypes, a nd a lack of institutional support. Using Critical Race Theory, Taylor (2001) found that in narratives from 16 Native American students at a predominantly White university, that there were specific aspects of university environments that he lp to create and support student alienation for Native Americans. Taken collec tively, these data s uggest that there is a general message to Native American students on campus th at they do not belong, and it seems obvious that such a continuously e xpressed (implicit and explicit ) message would be highly alienating. If one of the most successful unive rsities in graduating Native Americans has
71 this level of student report ed incidents of ethnoviolence on its campus, what level of alienation might be occurring at less successful institutions with similar Native American populations? The Disabled American student. Consequent to the passage of two bills Â– the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (PL 101-336) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (PL101-476), combined with tremendous technologica l advances over the past several decades, disabled students have sought access to higher education in ever greater numbers. In fact, across the entire na tional higher education system from 1978 to 1994, the percentage of disabled students rose from 2.6% to 9.2% (Henderson, 1995). However, with that tremendous rise in populat ion, new problems have arisen associated with disabled students. Unfortunately, with th at rise in enrollment, there has not been a subsequent rise in relevant research. In fact, the disabled student population has received little research attention (Hodge s & Keller, 1999). Therefore, th e research associated with disabled alienation is also scarce. This se ction will discuss a por tion of that limited research. The common thread interwoven through the f our studies discussed here is social integration. In the 1970s, three barriers to disabled student retention were identified: policy barriers, social barriers and architect ural barriers (Stilwell, Stilwell & Perritt, 1983). It would seem that many of the policy barr iers and architectural barriers have been overcome but the social barriers persist. Stilwell et al. (1983) conducted a follow-up study that was undertaken to determine how much improvement (or lack thereof) had taken place throughout KentuckyÂ’s higher educat ion system since an inventory study was conducted in 1971. This study sought to meas ure the change using data collected
72 primarily from staff and administrators thr oughout the state. A few of the persisting policy barriers were the fo llowing: (1) very few handica pped persons were employed across the universities, (2) institutions failed to use disabled stude nts in an advisory capacity in order to evaluate the institutions from the studentÂ’s point of view, and (3) college literature did not contain informati on pertinent to the disabled student. There were many persisting architect ural barriers, but since those problems have been predominantly solved through subsequent le gislation, they will not be listed. The dominant social barrier was that institutions failed to facilitate disabled students participation in extracurricula r activities. Accord ing to Hodges and Keller (1999), this barrier persists as they identified this as a theme in a qualitative study that asked students to identify perceived barriers to social inte gration. In this stud y, the opportunity to be involved in social activities wa s reported as very important to students, but they also reported feeling prevented from participating by scheduling, tr ansportation, the need for assistance, and the need to maintain an assi sting animal. In fact, several students were socially limited by the public transportati on schedules. One student reported that his assigned human aid only worked during the dayt ime shift, which precluded this student from participating in any activ ity scheduled at night (the time of many campus social activities). In a very significant study conducted on a small, state coll ege in northeastern Pennsylvania, Babbitt, Burbach, and Iutcov ich (1979) sought to determine whether disabled students perceived th emselves to be objects of stigmatization on college campuses. Additionally, they attempted to determine whether nondisabled students perceived themselves or others as agents of perpetrating stig matization against the
73 disabled. They defined stigma as an attribute that is deeply discredi ting or an undesirable differentness that tends to tu rn people away. The researchers found that disabled students sense that others in the college environm ent view them negatively and they hold a discrepant self-other appr aisal of themselves. The re sponding nondisabled students reported that stigmatization was occurring but mo st of them suggested that they were not personally the source. In other words, they recognized that disabled students were generally stigmatized by the campus commun ity but not by them personally. However, what is significant here is that both nondi sabled students and disa bled students agreed that stigmatization is a realit y on campus. This finding of stigma tization is consistent with one of the themes reported by Hodges and Keller (1999). In a qualitative study, these researchers found that disabled students repo rted minimal peer acceptance, and they felt that if they wanted social relationships, the burden was on them to do all of the initiating. In other words, the disabled student had to somehow overcome (through personal charisma, etc.) the stigma of disability or face isolation. The students in this study also reported that affiliation with a peer group wa s significant to them in terms of social integration. They identified three sources: do rm residents, other di sabled students, and academic major. Grouping themselves with ot her disabled students was most important. This seems to be consistent with the cons truct of students forming ethnic enclaves as presented in other sectio ns of this paper. In an attempt to assess the effect of being disabled on academic progress, Wiseman, Emry and Morgan (1988) conducted a study of disabled students attending a large, Western university. More specificall y, they sought to determ ine whether academic success is contingent upon positive communication with faculty, peers and staff. In other
74 words, what is the affect of social integr ation on academic success for disabled students? They found student motivation to be negativ ely related to social alienation and motivation was related to academic success. The second finding of significance was that studentÂ’s perceived competence was most relate d to the level of social adjustment. The researchers concluded that si nce motivation is related to alienation, then establishing a supportive climate should decrease demotivati on and thereby improve academic success. They also emphasized the significance of the f aculty and staff relationships with disabled students in terms of influenc ing social and academic success. The researchers also found a relationship between academic performance and student opportunities to lead. This is similar to a previously mentioned finding specific to African American males and leadership (Allen, 1985). Based upon all of the collective knowledge expressed in the previous studies, though progress has been made, it appears that disabled students ar e still not socially integrated into the college campus. According to the Tinto model, as long as alienation persists, academic success and graduation rates for disabled students will not be as high as they should be were positive social integration attained. Other alienated student groups. The vast majority of research on student alienation and retention fall into the main student groups that have already been discussed. However, research on other stude nt population groups has been conducted. This section will describe an assortment of studies related to this topic of student alienation. According to Astin (1998), women are the majority of all undergraduate students. Consequently, there has been some research interest in the impact of gender on the
75 overall female college experience. Some studies have indicated that the college experience can have a negative effect on womenÂ’s learning and development. For example, in a study of 27,000 students, Astin (1993) concluded that the college experience Â“preserves and strengthens, rather than reduces or weakens, stereotypic differences between men and women in behavior, personality, aspirations, and achievementÂ” (p. 406). Sax et al (2002) found th at at the completion of the freshmen year college women have lower levels of emotiona l health than their male counterparts. Hall and Sandler (1982, 1984) hypothesized the existe nce of a Â“chilly climateÂ” for women on the college campus. They asserted that this climate alienated women by threatening their self-esteem, by reinforcing stereotypes a nd by negatively influencing their academic success and career aspirations. Patitu a nd Hinton (2003) concluded that African American women faculty and administrators experienced a chilly climate consisting of racism and sexism, resulting in social isolati on. Incidentally, this is consistent with two themes that I identified in MillnerÂ’s (1998) diary from Harvard (discussed previously). Millner observed that males dominate classroom discussions at Harvard and that women quickly learn to keep quiet in class because they are Â“supposed to keep quiet.Â” Pascarella et al. (1997), by focusing on the freshman y ear, attempted to test this hypothesis on academic outcomes. They found modest support for the chilly climate hypothesis. They concluded that the chilly climate did produce small but significant negative associations with cognitive development and self-reported gains in academic preparation for a career, in the freshman year. Whitt, Nora, Edison, Terenzini and Pascarella (1999) attempted to extend the previous study by attempting to de termine whether womenÂ’s perceptions of a chilly climate negatively influenced cogn itive development in the sophomore and junior
76 years. Using a sample of 3,840 students at 23 institutions, the researchers found that female perceptions of a chil ly climate can have negative effects on cognitive outcomes. They concluded that Â“if female students percep tions of a chilly climate have a measurable impact on what they gain, and what they be lieve they gain, from college, then conditions that create that climate must be addressedÂ” (p. 175). The introduction of the term chilly climate tends to obfuscate the issue by in troducing a new and unnecessary construct. What these researchers are re ally talking about is student alienation. To reorient or translate this research into the frame which I have chosen for this paper, what they are evaluating are the effects of the perceptions of an aliena ting environment upon the social and academic integration of female students. Asian Americans are another student subpopul ation that have been studied within this genre of research. However, research has been somewhat scarce because of high success rates for Asian American students and the general perception that they are the Â“model minorityÂ” from a social integrationistÂ’s perspectiv e. Asamen and Berry (1987) attempted to determine whether Asian Amer ican students are affected by perceived prejudice, and whether their self-concepts are affected by feelings of alienation. They used a sample of 63 Japanese Ameri cans and 44 Chinese Americans attending universities in the Los Angele s metropolitan area. They found that there was a significant negative relationship for Japanese Americans for perceived prejudice and self-concept. Those students who perceived more prejud ice had significantly lower self-concepts. Japanese and Chinese Americans who felt more alienated also had lower self-concepts than those who felt less alienated. The al ienation was particular ly high in the two alienation subcategories of helplessn ess and social isolation.
77 In a somewhat related study using the Un iversity Alienation Scale, Schram and Lauver (1988) attempted to identify variab les that could predict the alienation of international students. A sample of 266 international studen ts was taken from 2,544 international students studying at a large, Southwestern un iversity. The researchers found that alienation of internati onal students can be predicted based upon social contact, graduate status and geographical region of or igin. The results showed that non-European undergraduates who are social isolates are the most at-risk group among the international student body. However, it is interesting to note that the alienation scores for these international students was lower than the scores for Blacks and Whites from the study conducted by Suen (1983). This seems somewhat counterintuitive. In a related study of Asian students attending Wester n Michigan University, Nichol son (2001) determined that the most significant obstacle fo r this particular group was re lated to English proficiency. C onclusions from the review. In this section, the term mi nority is used in a general sense to represent all of the student groups discussed in this review. The research validates the hypothesis that al l students experience some level of alienation but that some groups are more alienated than others as a function of university and college attendance. The research also supports the Tinto hypothesis th at alienation is a phenomenon that is caused by the studentÂ’s interaction with the campus environment, what Tinto (1998) called social and academic integration. The research suggests that alienation affects components of the minority college experience: academic performance, self-concept and retention-wit hdrawal behavior. Ge nerally, the majority of the research either directly supports, or is consistent w ith, the Tinto model. Of the minority groups studied, intergroup comparisons suggest that African American students are the most
78 alienated group in American higher educati on. Concerning the persistence and magnitude of alienation on a national scale, campus environments were alienating to minority students in 1980 (the cut-off point for this re view) and they remain agents of alienation today. However, to what exte nt alienation levels have ch anged (either negatively or positively) is difficult to assess for reasons to be discussed in the next section. The research also revealed that some campuses ar e more alienating for mi nority students than others. For example, historically Black colleg es and universities are far less alienating for Black students than White colleges. Additionally as revealed by Rich ardson et al. (1987), some White colleges are far less alienating than the majority of White colleges. This is reflected by the following variab les: graduation rates, student levels of satisfaction with their college experience, academic performan ce, and existing institutional policies at the successful institutions. One consistent theme that persisted throughout this research was the lack of minority representation among facu lty and staff. Every group represented in this study articulated the fact that one of th e contributing factors to their alienation was that their group was disproportionately underr epresented, particular ly among the faculty. In light of this, it is intere sting to note that one of the dominant themes of Tinto (1998) was the empirical support for positive faculty-s tudent interaction as a key to enhanced retention, regardless of ethnicity. The successf ul institutions studied in the Richardson et al. (1987) study were all actively pursuing th e hiring of minority faculty and staff as institutional policy. It certainl y seems logical that if minoriti es were more proportionately represented on the nationÂ’s campuses, that this would reduce alienation, thereby improving the retention and gradua tion rates of all minorities.
79 Another common theme among all minority groups (including the disabled) was the need to associate with other members of the same group, in what has become known in the literature as ethnic enclaves. A related th eme that emerged from the literature is the perceived institutional support for these ethnic enclaves or student minority associations (both formal and informal). The successful institutions in the Richardson et al. (1987) study were those institutions that formally recognized, supported, and promoted these ethnic enclaves as positive entities that coul d enhance the campus c limate for minorities. I suspect that campus ministries may serve a similar purpose for evangelical students as evangelical enclaves and will looking to validate/invalidate this notion with the data. The state of Alienation research. The review of the litera ture on student alienation was neither simple nor strai ghtforward. One reason for this was that student alienation presented a moving target sin ce it was often not the primar y purpose of the research in which it appeared. Rather, in most instances student attrition was the topic under study, and alienation was a secondary issue or consider ed a variable. In several cases, alienation was implicit in a study but it was not always clear how, why, or to what magnitude. In other cases, researchers we re studying attrition and alienation emerged as a general theme. In many instances, the term aliena tion was never used. Often, although alienation was the actual construc t under study, the research er used some other synonymous term in its stead. Researchers used associated terms like incongruence, isola tion, chilly climate, social estrangement, stigmatization, etc. Al ong with this general inconsistency in the language and in the constructs, there was also a general lack of theo retical direction and theoretical organization. As I began to organi ze the various studies, it seemed that the best way to conquer the chaos was to orient th em within the Tinto frame. However, some
80 of the researchers did not use the Tinto m odel as their theoretical frame. Thus, my organizing the body of research in this manner might be considered forced. Besides the problems of theo retical disorganization a nd the resulting lack of common constructs, another problem in drawin g conclusions from this body of literature was that the researchers did not use common variable s for alienation. This was particularly difficult in the research that attempted to explain what the causes of alienation were. For example, some research ers used constructs like Â“noncognitive variablesÂ” while others used Â“minority status stresses,Â” etc. However, very few of them maintained, extended, or built upon existing c onstructs. One has to wonder whether the wheel was/is being continually reinvented, or whether this reflects a valid search for commonly accepted variables by the researchers in the field. These research difficulties are mentioned here because they shed some light on the state of c ontemporary alienation research. Before 1989, the majority of research done on alienation was quantitative. Some of these quantitative studies pr ovided strong evidence that alienation of minority students was a real phenomenon. However, since that early research, the general weakness in alienation research has been in determining what the causes, components, and effects of alienation are. Some of this can be account ed for because of this lack of a common language, discussed above. However, some of it has occurred in the le gitimate search for a commonly accepted set of variables. This fiel d of research is still searching for some commonly accepted variables for alienation. This problem even extends into the large body of African American attrition resear ch (collectively representing the most comprehensive set of studies). The general failure to arrive at these commonly accepted
81 variables might explain the emergence of qualitative research within this field. Some of the most revealing or insightful research included in this review was qualitative. After 1989, some researchers began to inve stigate alienation using the qualitative method. This qualitative research, primarily building on the Tinto model, has been invaluable to the emerging knowledge. It is through qualitative research that new variables might be identifie d. With those newly identified variables, researchers might subsequently replicate previous quantitativ e work. This is important because it would allow researchers to identify whether student alienation is increasing or decreasing and its magnitude relative to a base li ne. A base is what alienation research needs. Otherwise, the field will continually be declaring that alie nation is a problem that exists, but it cannot inform us concerning magnitude, direction, or change. Another limitation in this body of resear ch is that the vast majority of the quantitative research has been done in comp aring African Americans to Whites. There are several sound reasons for this. However, the lack of research on other alienated groups seems almost negligent. Within a year or two, Hispanics are projected to become the largest minority group in the nation. However, attrition and alienation research on Hispanics is miniscule by comparison, and Hispan ics are the next most frequently studied group. There is a tremendous need to bu ild upon the existing body of knowledge in attrition and alienation for Hispanics, for Na tive Americans, for women, for the disabled, for Asian Americans, for international students and for gay and lesbian students. It would be advantageous to add belief sy stem or worldview to this lis t. It is probable that the belief system that a student brings to the acad emy can be highly alienating as that student interacts with the dominant worldview(s) of the academy.
82 The broad classification of certain gr oups as homogeneous en tities is also a problem to the validity of this body of resear ch. For example, Hispanics are often studied as if they were a homogeneous group. Howeve r, the cultural differences between groups classified as Hispanics is quite pronounced. To classify them homogeneously really seems to jeopardize the useful ness and accuracy of any conclusions that are presented. This same problem exists with Native Americans. Between tribes, there are significant cultural differences, not the le ast of which are the tribeÂ’s le vel of integration into the dominant culture, the tribeÂ’s history, and the tribeÂ’s langu age. This problem is also manifested in the term Asian American. Though there are some physical commonalities, there are significant cultural differences. Fo r example, Filipinos and Chinese would both fall under the category of Asian Americans, yet their languages and cultures are significantly different. At th e risk of increasing comple xity, the population categories need to be less homogenized for fu ture alienation research. In a general sense, the research presen ted in this section revealed a significant problem within the nationa l higher education system. Although our knowledge has increased significantly over the past 25 years, there is still much about student alienation that is yet to be explained. Because there is so much within this fi eld yet to be learned and discovered, there are invariably significant national and institutional policy implications that rest in the balance. It is my contention that one significan t source of alienation that has not been previously researched is worldview aliena tion. Perhaps the fact that this form of alienation has not been considered is because it is difficult for it to be perceived or conceived from a strict naturalistic paradigm. It is my sincere hope that the findings of
83 this research (Evangelical Student Alienatio n) will add significan tly to the general knowledge about student alienation and ultim ately contribute to a more diverse and pluralistic academy.
84 Chapter Three: Research Methods Qualitative Paradigm As stated previously, the purpose of this study was to explore the possibility that evangelical students are alienated by the m odern academy. If, during the process of the study, the data began to demonstrate some s upport for the hypothesis that evangelical students are alienated, then the contingent pur poses were to enhan ce our understanding of evangelical alienation. That is, this study sought to understand the following: 1) the possible source(s) of evangelic al alienation, 2) how evangelic al students respond to the alienation that they experien ce, and 3) the studentÂ’s per ceptions of how the institution reacts to who they are as evangelical students. This study, within the general context of worldviews in conflict, attempted to explore the following research questions or research goals: 1) Are evangelical students experiencing alienation at American colleges and universities? 2) What are the prevailing types of alienation for evangelical studen ts? 3) What are the specific sources of evangelical student alienation? 4) What ar e the dominant themes with regard to evangelical student coping strate gies? 5) What are the dominant themes that emerge that threaten or impact the evangelical studentÂ’s academic success and/or persistence/retention? 6) How do the studentÂ’s perceive the institutions reaction to them as they manifest their Christian worldview on campus?
85 I selected the qualitative paradigm because I believed it to be the most appropriate option for this basic research study, as this studyÂ’s purposes (Chapt er 1) were more compatible with a fundamental goal (understa nding) of qualitative re search than those (cause and effect relationships) of the qua ntitative paradigm. Further, Echols (1998) conducted a meta-analysis of 113 studies on re search related to minority students from 1970-1997, further validating the Tinto model regarding the importance of social integration to academic success. Regarding th e compatibility of the qualitative approach and this type of research, Ec hols (1998) said the following: This field is ripe for phe nomenological and other type s of qualitative inquiry where intense, depthful exchange and evaluation ideas can be achieved, adding texture and color to the portraits the numbers are helping us paint (p. 164). At a fundamental level, the qualitative a pproach is derived fr om a phenomenological perspective which emphasizes the importance of understanding the meaning that events have for the individual persons being studi ed (Patton, 2002). According to Patton (1991), Â“The goals of qualitative research are more concerned with understanding than with causesÂ” (p. 391). This study was concerned with understanding the meaning of the evangelical studentÂ’s relationship with the university for the purpose of determining whether alienation is a component of that relationship. This exploratory study attempted to understand the studentÂ’s relationship to th e university in a context where the studentÂ’s worldview is significantly different than the worldview learning context they are immersed into. According to Patton (2002), c ontextual sensitivity is considered a Â“strategic idealÂ” of qualitative research (p. 66) If it was determined that alienation is a component of the student-unive rsity relationship, then a co llateral goal was to broaden
86 the depth of understanding of this phenome non (another strategic ideal). This focus on understanding or Verstehen was a key element in justifying the use of the qualitative paradigm for this st udy. Â“The tradition of Verstehen places emphasis on the human capacity to know and understand others thr ough empathic introspection and reflection based on direct observation of and intera ction with peopleÂ” (Patton, 2002, p. 52). While the quantitative approach often focuses on cause and effect relationships, the qualitative approach focuses primarily on th e understanding of phenomena. Alienation is contingent upon individual perceptions a nd perspectives, and it is a construct that is experiential by definition. In describing the goals of qualitative research, Patton (1991) explains, In this case, what is sought is unde rstanding of social phenomena from the perspective of the persons whose beha vior is under study. The qualitative methodologies seek direct access to the lived experience of the human actor as he or she understands and deals with ongoing events. The goal is to describe and analyze the activities and reasoning persons use as they engage in organized social interaction Â…A central objective of the qualitative approach is, therefore, to describe and understand the procedures by which persons create their own behavior and understand and deal with the behavior of others (p. 391). Consistent with this, I was interested in wh at these students know and believe about their freshman year experience (the social context for the phenomenon under study Â– the potential for worldview alie nation). Additionally, Â“qualitative methods permit the evaluator to study selected issues in dept h and detailÂ” (Patton, 2002, p. 14). Conversely,
87 the philosophical constraints of the quantita tive paradigm would likely render it less effective in understanding this phenomenon in depth. Perhaps two of the greatest strengths that the qualitative paradi gm brings to this study are empathy and insight. Â“Qualitative inquiry methods promote empathy and give the researcher an empirical basis for descri bing the perspectives of others while also legitimately reporting his or her own feelings perceptions, experien ces, and insights as part of the dataÂ” (Patton, 2002, p. 53). This notion of successfully and empathetically entering into the world of a nother is clearly expressed by Moustakas (1995) as follows: I do not select, interp ret, advise, or directÂ…Being-In the world of the other is a way of going wide open, entering in as if fo r the first time, hearing just what is, leaving out my own thoughts, feelings, theories, biasesÂ…I enter with the intention of understanding and accepting perceptions and not presenting my own view or reactionsÂ…I only want to encourage a nd support the other personÂ’s expression, what and how it is, how it came to be, and where it is going (p. 82-82). However, in my case, this also presented the greatest challenge to the validity of this study. Much like personality traits one of our greatest strengths can often be one of our greatest weaknesses. However, as Patton (2002) points out, it is possible to have empathy toward the participants while remaining ne utral toward the findings (p. 53). Finding balance here was a personal goal throughout this study. There are several different varieties or th eoretical traditions within the qualitative paradigm. What distinguishes those traditi ons is Â“they vary considerably in their conceptualizations of what is important to ask and consider in elucidating and understanding the empirical worldÂ” (Patton, 1990, p. 67). For this study, I have decided
88 that binding the study dogmatically to one particular qualita tive tradition (e.g. phenomenology, ethnography, orientational, grou nded theory, heuristic inquiry, etc.) would prove to be contrived and therefor e deleterious to the intended exploratory emphasis upon understanding. Instead, I intended to employ prominent strategies utilized by a variety of the various trad itions while attempting to orie nt the conduct of the study consistent with PattonÂ’s (2002) twelve themes (or strategic ideals) of qualitative inquiry which include the following: 1) naturalistic inquiry, 2) emergent de sign flexibility, 3) purposeful sampling, 4) qualitative depth, 5) personal experi ence and engagement, 6) empathetic neutrality and mindfulness, 7) dynamic sy stems, 8) unique case orientation, 9) inductive analysis and crea tive synthesis, 10) holistic perspective, 11) context sensitivity, and 12) voice, perspec tive and reflexivity (p. 40-41). Instead of artificially forcing th is study into a qualitative tr adition, I believe that this open strategy will provide flexibility in design that will prove to be highly advantageous. This approach is consistent with PattonÂ’s (2002) conclusion, While these intellectual, philosophical, and theoretical traditions have greatly influenced the debate about the value a nd legitimacy of qualitative inquiry, it is not necessary, in my opinion, to swear alle giance to any single epistemological perspective to use qualitative methods (p. 136). According to Patton (2002), phenomenological inquiry focuses on the question: Â“What is the meaning, structure and essence of the liv ed experience of this phenomenon for this person or group of people?Â”(p. 104), and focu sing upon what my participants perceive and how they interpret those perceptions is consistent with a phe nomenological approach.
89 In this qualitative tr adition, the important things to unde rstand are what people perceive and how they interpret what they perceive. In the phenomenological tradition, there is an assumption of essence In this particular study, my desi re is not to be artificially bound and wholly committed to a strict phenomenol ogical approach. Although I am interested in the studentÂ’s perceptions and experience of this phenomenon, attempting to discover the essence of the phenomenon does not seem advantag eous to this particular study. This study did not fit neatly into the phenomenologica l tradition. Some might argue that it is also important to experience the phenomenon unde r investigation. In my case, I believe I have experienced student alienation, but I cannot say that others of my group have experienced it. Therefore, I dete rmined that heuristic inquiry to also be an inappropriate approach for this study. Qualitative Methods This study was a qualitative study that was conducted between January 2006 and June 2006. The purpose of this research was to describe and analyze the perspectives and perceptions of evangelical students at two American universities regarding the prospective influence of wo rldview-related-alienation upon th eir university experience. From the beginning, I recognized that worl dview-related-alienation might not be a prevailing response. I also rec ognized that it was possible that other unanticipated student responses might emerge from the data. The research design included personal interviews. I attempted to determine whether this phenomenon (evangelical student alienation) exists and then proceed to develop our understanding of this phenomenon. For the reasons stated previously, this study was best conducted within the general parameters of the qualitative research
90 tradition because I believed it to be the mo st appropriate method for addressing the specific research questions. For the overall improvement of the study, I intentionally remained flexible in order to follow the emergent data as it was rev ealed. Flexibility in design is appropriate in qualitative research (Lincoln & Guba, 1985, p. 225). Not only is it appropriate but Â“a qualitative design needs to remain sufficiently open and flexible to permit exploration of whatever the phenomenon under study offers for inquiry. Qualitative designs continue to be emergent even after data collection beginsÂ” (Patton, 2002, p. 255). Emergent design flexibility is a strategic id eal or principal of qualitativ e research (Patton, 2002, p. 40). Data Sources The geographical location fo r this study was two campuses in the South central region of the United States. The universities re presented in this study are located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, an area generally recognized as having a strong evangelical influence. Participants for this study were sought from two public university campuses: the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Texas at Dallas. The area has some relatively large evangelical K-12 sc hools (Trinity Christian Academy, Prestonwood Christian Academy, Carrollton Christian Acad emy and Coram Deo Academy) and is the home of several prestigious evangelical seminaries (Dallas Theological Seminary, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminar y, and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary). Many students from local ev angelical K-12 school s pursue a college education through the various universities and colleges of the North Texas region. It was originally hoped that the st udents from local evangelical high schools might provide the bulk of the sample. Although local participan ts (from DFW) comprised the majority,
91 there were several who came from locations outside the DFW area. Additionally, local evangelical high schools did not prove to be the primary sources for participants. There was intentionality in the attempt to include so me evangelical students that attended public high schools in order to use comparison with regard to alienation and coping strategies. In fact, public schools proved to be where the largest percentage of participants attended prior to their freshman year of college. The Dallas area, being a regional center for higher education, provided a larger cross section of students enrolled in a larger variety of majors. The pervasiveness of the Christia n consensus in the North Texas region was initially a concern for this study as I suspected that it might not provide the same intensity of alienation for an evange lical student that a study c onducted in other parts of the country might produce. I believed that purposeful sampling, more specifically, homogeneous sampling was best for this study because it is cons istent with the purpose of describing this particular subgroup in some depth. According to Patton (2002), Â“The logic and power of purposeful sampling lies in selecting info rmation-rich cases for study in depth. Information-rich cases are those from which one can learn a great deal about issues of central importance to the purpose of the researchÂ…Â” (p. 230). Participants for this study were recru ited from two public university campuses: the University of Texas at Arlington and th e University of Texas at Dallas. Campus ministries were a significant source of study participants. Another source was the local evangelical churches. A third source was thr ough contacting local evangelical secondary schools. The snowballing technique was employ ed as a means of gaining access to the information-rich cases that this study dema nded. It was thought that snowballing might
92 also provide access to some evangelical students that were not associated with a religious social group (campus ministry or church). Ho wever, this was not the case. It was thought that having some of these non-enclave students might be very useful in terms of gaining understanding through comparison, particularly for alienation associat ed with isolation. However, the snowballing techni que did not provide access to these types of participants. As stated previously, the criter ia for participation in this st udy was self-identification as a Â“born againÂ” Christian. Twenty student s ubjects were used in this study and all participants were college freshmen. There were three sample selecti on goals expressed as this study was proposed and all three of thos e goals were realized. One primary sample selection goal was to have equal representa tion according to gende r, and this goal was actualized. Another sample selection goal wa s to include minority evangelical students and this was actualized. There was also a de sire to include at least two evangelical students who attended four y ears of public secondary school. This goal was also realized. Final sample selection was ba sed upon the above criteria. Data Collection This study was a qualitative study that was conducted between January 2006 and June 2006. Initial qualitative in terviews were scheduled a nd conducted during the first half of the spring semester of 2006. The pr imary method of data collection was to conduct detailed, qualitative interviews of 20 evangelical fr eshmen students. Each student was personally interviewed twice. The interview guides that were utili zed are included in Appendix A. The two interviews were conducted on the following occasions: once during the first half of the spring semester and once during the second half of the spring semester of 2006. The intent was to conduct all intervie ws face to face and this was accomplished.
93 All interviews were audio-taped and transc ribed. I intended to perform my own audiotaping and transcription. The purpose of this was to retain the perspectives of the persons under study (Patton, 1991, p. 392). Although I did all of my own audio-taping and some of the transcription, a porti on of the transcribing was perf ormed by a transcriptionist. I took extensive field notes during the live in terviews. According to Patton (2002), taking notes has several advantages: 1) it helps form ulate new questions, 2) it facilitates later analysis, and 3) it helps to pace the interview (p. 383). In qualitative research, in terviewing is for the purpos e of understanding personal perspective. The purpose of an interview is to find out what is on another personÂ’s mind (Patton, 1991. p. 393). This study used the interview guide as the framework for structuring the interviews. The interview guides consisted of formal and complete questions. One weakness to overcome using this framework was attempting to remain sensitive to possible salient re sponses that did not conform to my predetermined grid of questions. However, I believed this to be an acceptable trade-off fo r being sensitive to participantÂ’s schedules and this kept the in terviews from being too long. For the most part, all forty interviews followed the structure of the interview guides. One of my concerns was retaining all 20 of my participants for the dur ation of the study. Sensitivity in time management assisted in this effort and the interview guide framework naturally supported that. All interview questions were open-e nded. The questioning style is extremely important in qualitative research. The purpose of the questions was to find out what the participants are thi nking, not for the interviewer to control or influence what the participant is thinking. Patton (2000) called this Â“minimizing the imposition of
94 predetermined responsesÂ” (p. 292). Therefore, how the questions were constructed was extremely important. I took great care in avoiding dichotom ous response questions. I also attempted to avoid multiple questions or questions asked in multiple forms. The clarity of the questions is also something that needs to be emphasized. Additiona lly, part of the art of interviewing is to gently nudge in the ri ght direction without bi asing the participant (Seale, Gobo, Gubrium & Silverman, 2004). The purpose of the first interview was to provide a context for understanding the participantÂ’s perspectives with regard to worldview. This interview attempted to gain insight into the studentÂ’s life history and how his worldview had developed to that point in his life. This interview also attempted to identify whether the student perceived a worldview conflict, how he perceived that and whether he had been deliberately prepared for it. This interview also looked to identify what strategies, if any, the student had employed with regard to Christian grow th during the freshman year. Students were asked to reflect back on the first semesterÂ’s experience with the intent of determining the following: 1) to identify whet her the students have or are experiencing alienation as a result of worldview, 2) to identify what th e sources of alienation were, 3) to determine whether they perceived their worldview to have changed since the beginning of the freshman year, and 4) to determine whether th ey perceived their religious commitment to have changed. At the beginning of the first interview, a Spiritual Questionnaire or survey (Appendix B) was given to each participant. The purpose of that questionnaire was to determine the level of evangelicalism of each participant. Essentially, the survey was designed to answer three general questions regarding each participant: 1) How extensive
95 is their knowledge about the key doctrines of evangelicalism?, 2) How committed are they to their evangelicalism?, and in combina tion with all of the interview data, 3) Are they authentic evangelicals? Because of my enrollment at Dallas Theo logical Seminary (D TS) at the time of this study, I asked two noteworthy DTS faculty members to provide feedback regarding the validity of the instrument to accomplis h its desired ends. The following DTS faculty reviewed the Spiritual Questi onnaire for the purposes descri bed above: 1) Dr. J. Lanier Burns Â– (Chair and Senior Professor of Sy stematic Theology) B.A. Davidson College, 1965; Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1972; Th.D., 1979; Ph.D., University of Texas at Dallas, 1993; Post-doctoral rese arch, Harvard University, 2002, and 2) Dr. Ramesh Richard Â– (Professor of Pastoral Mi nistries, World Missions and Intercultural Studies) B. Com., Madras Ch ristian College, 1973; Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1979; Th.D., 1982; Ph.D., University of Delh i, 1991. I selected these individuals to review the questionnaire because these individuals had hybridized educational backgrounds in common (i.e. educational back grounds that included both theological and secular training). I hoped their somewhat uni que educational backgrounds would enable them to provide quality insights and feedb ack on both the survey instrument and the target audience (evangelicals attending secula r institutions). After review, both seminary professors agreed that this instrument was adequately constructed for the desired ends. The purpose of the second interview was to identify whether the student is experiencing alienation as a result of worldvi ew, what the sources of alienation are, and some determination of how it is affecting th e student. It also attempted to determine
96 whether they perceived their worldview or th e meaning of their religious life to have changed over the semester/year. I requested that all of the participants maintain a reflective spiritual journal of their college experiences during the dura tion of the study. I kept the journaling instructions very general in na ture. The instructions were as follows: Â“If possible, please keep a journal of your spiritual journey th rough the duration of th is study. Maintaining this journal is purely voluntary, but highly encouraged as it may provide additional insights that our interviews may not provide.Â” I also informed the participants that I would gratefully receive any information from their journals that would be pertinent to this study and that they could withhold journa l data, as necessary. I requested that the participants bring the journals to the final interview. Howe ver, none of the participants maintained a voluntary reflective journal as had been requested. I also informed the participants that I would appreciate em ail updates and that the updates could be maintained in lieu of a reflectiv e journal. None of the participants chose to send emails in lieu of the journal. Each participant was inform ed that I did not want their participation in this study to interfere with th eir academic efforts. I also expressed my sincere gratitude for whatever data they would willingly pr ovide beyond the interview data. Since many evangelicals are involved in re gular journaling as a spiritual discipline, I felt that it would likely not be perceived as an unusual or bur densome request. However, since none of the participants chose to voluntar ily provide additional data in these formats, perhaps they determined that this request was too time consuming and burdensome in light of their academic and extracurricular schedules. This is consistent with the interview data which showed these participants to be highly invol ved in academic and extracurricular pursuits.
97 I made at least three decisions fo r this study to improve the overall trustworthiness of it. First, conducting mu ltiple interviews over time minimized the chances of findings being based upon idio syncratic data. Sec ond, it was hoped that employing two data collection strategies s hould also minimize this problem. However, the participants chose not to submit non-inte rview related data (re flective journaling and emails) thereby negating the second stra tegy. Third, member checking was continuously employed with intentionality dur ing the interviews and is ma nifested throughout all of the transcripts. Data Analysis The purpose of qualitative analysis is to transform the data into findings. Â“The challenge of qualitative anal ysis lies in making sense of massive amounts of dataÂ” (Patton, 2002, p. 432). Because the instrument in qualitative analysis is the researcher, there is no strict formula for conducting an alysis. However, Patton (2002) offers one possible rule: Â“Do your very best with your full intellect to fairly re present the data and communicate what the data reveal given the purpose of the studyÂ” (p. 433). Additionally, Â“analysts have an obligation to monitor and report their own analyt ical procedures and processes as fully and truthfully as possibleÂ” (Patton, 2002, p. 434). I am committed to these ideals. The second ideal will be accomplished through reflective journaling which will begin during data collection. In quantitative research there is a dist inct delineation between data collection and data analysis. However, the qualitative comm itment to emergent design flexibility and the desire to follow the evidence wherever it leads requires that analysis be concomitant with data collection. In fact, Â“Recording and tracking anal ytical insights that occur during
98 data collection are part of the fieldwork and the beginning of qualitative analysisÂ” (Patton, 2002, p. 436). This overlap of data collection and analysis can improve the quality of the data collected and the analysis as long as the researcher is not too tightly bound to original hypotheses. According to Pa tton (2002), Â“Indeed, instead of focusing additional data collection enti rely on confirming preliminary field hypotheses, the inquiry should become particularly sensitive to looki ng for alternative explan ations and patterns that would invalidate initial insightsÂ” (p. 437). The caveat if I became overly committed to exploring alienation, I recognized that I might not see other significant emerging patterns that may prove valuable or may act ually prove to invalid ate the hypothesis. The first step in the analysis stage wa s to develop a classification or coding scheme, an attempt to discover order with in the data. Accordi ng to Patton (2002), Content analysis, then, involves identify ing, coding, categorizing, classifying, and labeling primary patterns in the data. This essentially means analyzing the core content of interviews and observations to determine whatÂ’s significant (p. 463). Â“Classifying and coding qualitative data produce a framework for organizing and describing what has been collected duri ng fieldworkÂ” (Patton, 2002, p. 465). Because coding effectiveness was critical to the poten tial substantive signi ficance of this study, I performed a portion of my own transcription for the purpose of being more intimate with the data, thereby enhancing my ability to discern order within the data. In order to develop sound codi ng schemes, I intended to utilize convergence and divergence Convergence is determining what in the data fits together. This was accomplished by judging the categories based upon internal and external homogeneity. That is, how well do the data in a category hold together (interna l homogeneity), and how
99 distinct or clear are the differences betw een categories (externa l homogeneity)? Next, I tested the category system for completeness by answering the following questions: 1) Do the categories appear to be consistent?; 2) Do the categories seem to comprise a whole system?; 3) Is the category set inclusive of all of the data?; 4) Does the system fit the data?; and 5) Has the data been properly fitted into the system? Ev idence that the coding scheme is inadequate will be evidenced by a large number of items that are unassignable or by a large number of overlapping data items. Alternatively, divergence was accomplished through the following: Â…by processes of extension (building on items of information already known), bridging (making connections among different items) and surfacing (proposing new information that ought to fit and th en verifying its existence)Â….Divergence also includes careful and thoughtful examina tion of data that doesnÂ’t fit including deviant cases that donÂ’t fit the domin ant identified pattern s (Patton, 2002, p. 466). One product of analysis is the case study. The unit of analysis for this study was the 20 individual students attending the two st ate universities. Â“Remember this rule: No matter what you are studying, always collect da ta on the lowest level unit of analysis possibleÂ…Â”(Bernard, 1995, p. 37). According to Patton (2002), Â“Â…the analystÂ’s first and foremost responsibility consists of doing justice to each individual case. All else depends on thatÂ” (p. 449). All of the cas e data for each student was co mpiled into an overall case record. The case record is Â“Â…a condensation of the raw case data organized, classified, and edited into a manageable and accessibl e fileÂ” (Patton, 2002, p. 450). The next step was to write a final case study narrative for each case. The case st udy narrative is Â“Â…a readable, descriptive picture of or story about a person (o r group)Â…making accessible to
100 the reader all the informati on necessary to understand the case in all its uniquenessÂ” (Patton, 2002, p. 450). Once the case study was completed, the next phase of analysis was to more comprehensively analyze, compare and inte rpret each member comprising the group in order to identify or generate themes, patterns and findings. The analytical tools to be employed during this phase were more/dee per content analysis analytic induction, indigenous concepts and practices, sensitizi ng concepts, and logical analysis. Content analysis has been described previously. I will briefly describe the remainder of the analytical tools to be used. Qualitative research places a paradigmatic emphasis on inductive analysis. That is, patterns, themes and categories are discovere d within the data. This is in contrast to deductive analysis where the data is analyzed within the parameters of a predetermined lens or frame. However, analytic induction is a qualitative tool that begins with deduction and then the researcher looks at the data inductively. Accordi ng to Patton (2002), Â…with analytic induction, qualitative analys is is first deductive or quasi deductive and then inductive as when, for example, the analyst begins by examining the data in terms of theory-derived sensitizin g concepts or applying a theoretical framework developed by someone elseÂ….Aft er or alongside this deductive phase of analysis, the researcher strives to look at the data afresh for undiscovered patterns and emergent understand ing (inductive analysis) (p. 454). This study had a stated focus of student alie nation and the interview guides were written with alienation in mind; theref ore, analytic inducti on accurately applies to this analysis.
101 Another analysis tool that was employed was the use of indigenous concepts. This refers to the various schemes, labels, etc., that the participants used to describe the reality of their world. I felt that being sensitive to this would improve the quality of the study. On the other hand, Â“sensitizing concepts refer to categories that the an alyst brings to the dataÂ” (Patton, 2002, p. 456). An example for this study is the inclusion of the construct of ethnic enclaves (which emerged from previ ous research) in the interview guide. Other constructs from related research were introduced into this analysis. According to Patton (2002), Once some dimensions have been construc ted, using either pa rticipant generated constructions or analyst-generated constr uctions, it is sometimes useful to crossclassify different dimensions to generate new insights about how the data can be organized and to look for pa tterns that may not have been immediately obvious in the initial, inductive an alysis (p. 468). Because the creation of cross-classification matr ices is based on logic, the utilization of these matrices to create new typol ogies (not previously detected from the data) is referred to as logical analysis. There was a deliberate attempt to remain open regarding the use of matrices and logical analysis as a potential tool for discovering new typologies within the data. Ethical Considerations My primary concern was to protect my st udent volunteers in every way possible. One of the primary means of accomplishing this was to safeguard the confidentiality of the participants. There were several measures taken to accomplish this All data collected (audiotapes, transcripts, ques tionnaires, etc.) were assigne d codes and there was only one
102 code key which was locked in a safe during the duration of the st udy. Additionally, all of the participants in this study were assigne d pseudonyms to protec t their anonymity and only the pseudonyms are cited in the text of this document (to include all tables and charts). Although the Intervie w Guide questions (Appendix A) specifically asked that professors not be mentioned by name, there are occasions where the participants did not comply with that request. In those rare cases, pseudonyms were also assigned to professors in the body of the transcripts. Si nce audiotapes did c ontain a few specific names of professors, they were maintained in a locked safe except during the actual time of transcription. The only documents that coul d link the participants to the study were the signed Informed Consent forms (refer to Appe ndix G) and those documents were kept in locked safes on the campuses of UTD a nd UTA, depending upon the participantÂ’s campus affiliation. Additionally, the intent was to use only volunteers that I had not previously known. Also, because no unive rsity employed me, nor was I personally familiar with any undergraduate faculty at any university likely to be included in this study, there was a minimal threat to the well be ing of the volunteers as a result of their participation in the study. In terms of a general risk assessment, I foresaw at least one significant potential risk with regard to participation in this study. That is, I felt it was possible that undue psychological stress may result from participa tion in this study. It was quite possible that a student might experience extreme forms of alienation, or that they might be in the process of questioning their previous worldvi ew. I determined to make detection of extreme psychological stress a priority in order that my interview presence did not further exacerbate the situation. I informed particip ants that they could postpone or cancel any
103 interview with me for any reason. As part of the initial agreement, I communicated that I would prefer that they cancel if they determ ined that the context of a meeting with me might negatively affect them psychologically. I informed them that their well-being was far more important than this study, and that I preferred that they withdraw rather than undergo unnecessary stress through participation in this study. I carried important contact information (campus counselors, campus minister s, etc.) with me to every interview and attempted to be very sensitive to the emotiona l state of every participant. There was only one person that participated in this study w ho experienced serious enough alienation to be a concern. However, that participant withdrew from UTA a few weeks prior to our first interview so he was not experiencing severe alienation during the study and was asked to reflect back upon his first seme ster experience. At no time did he express or demonstrate any discomfort related to pa rticipation in this study. I did not foresee any potential legal liabilities in participa ting nor did any arise during the study. In terms of the institutional settings, I di d not foresee any liabili ties or significant risks for the participants nor did any arise during the study. A ll data collected during this study belonged to the interviewer. However, pa rticipants were informed that should they request that specific data not be made pub lic, even with a prearranged confidentiality agreement, then I would honor that request. Par ticipants were informed that a copy of the final report would be made available to any participant who re quested one as an expression of my gratitude for their partic ipation. Upon request, participants were informed that they would be given a copy of their particular interview session(s). Participants were not granted access to the interview data of other participants in this study.
104 Chapter Four: Findings The Student Participants Â– What th e Spiritual Questionnaire Revealed? In order to qualify as a participant in this study, it was a requirement that students self-identify as being born-again Christians The participants were recruited from a campus ministry or a local church using the snowballing technique. All of the students were attending either UTD or UTA for th e fall semester of 2005 and during both interviews were enrolled in the second semester of their freshman year in the spring of 2006. One student (Dirk) had spent the fall se mester at UTA and subsequently withdrew from UTA and enrolled at Brookhaven Community College fo r the spring semester. Of the participants, (16) were attending UTD a nd (4) attending UTA. Consistent with the proposed gender equality target in participati on, there were (11) fema le participants and (9) male participants. The racial composition of the participants in this study was: White (15), Asian (3), Hispanic (1), and Black (1). This is also consistent with the proposal target of attempting to gain access to minority participants. UTD and UTA are institutions known for their business, math, science, engineering, and technology-re lated programs. The particip ants were enrolled in the following list of academic majors: Business programs (7), Life Sciences (4), Computer Sciences (4), Pre-Med (3), Psychology (1), Math (1), History (1) and undecided (1). The number of majors exceeds the number of pa rticipants due to double majors. During the interviews, nineteen of tw enty participants identified themselves as being Â“good
105 studentsÂ” and sixteen of twenty identified themselves as being Â“a good fitÂ” for their school. One of the two that in dicated they were not a good ac ademic fit did so because she felt out of place as a history major atte nding an Â“engineering school.Â” This near consensus in self-identifying as a Â“good studentÂ” is supported by a 1st semester GPA mean of 3.27. During the first semester, ther e were only two students who earned below a 2.0. Additionally, during the week prior to final exams, the students were asked to provide a GPA estimate for the second semester. The projected 2nd semester GPA mean was a 3.34. The educational background inform ation (the types of schools attended during the K-12 years) was: Public School (8), Homeschool+Christian (3), Christian School (2), Homeschool (2), Christian+Pub lic (2), Catholic (1), Private School (nonreligious) (1) and Homeschool+Christian+P ublic (1). The information discussed in the previous two paragraphs is summa rized in chart form as Appendix E. All of the students in this study were ac tively associated with a campus ministry, a local church or both during the 2nd semester. Of the 20 participants, all were members of evangelical churches. One student (Natanya) provided two responses (Roman Catholic and Methodist) to the question of church attendance. In th e interview, the participant indicated that though she had grown up attend ing a Roman Catholic Church with her father and a Methodist Church with her moth er, she had become Â“born-againÂ” during the summer prior to her freshman year of colle ge. Consequently, she had become highly involved in the Baptist Student Ministry dur ing her freshman year. The following data represent the church affiliati ons provided by the participan ts: Baptist (5), Independent Bible Church (4), Presbyterian (4), Southern Baptist (3), Methodist (2), Assembly of God (2), and Roman Catholic (1). There were only two participants who were not actively
106 involved with a campus ministry. However, t hose two were actively involved in a local church. The following data represent the campus ministry affiliations of the participants: Baptist Student Ministry (6), Campus Crusad e for Christ (5), Fellowship of Christian University Students (5), Christians on Ca mpus (2), Cornerstone Ministry (2), and Breakthrough Ministry (1). The reason for more than (20) campus ministry affiliations is because some students held multip le campus ministry affiliations. The Spiritual Questionnaire (Appendix B) provided some important information with regard to the level of religiosity (spi ritual commitment) of the participants. The mean score of 38.75 of a possible 40 on the Â“Key Evangelical Doctrine sÂ” portion of the questionnaire (Questions 1-8) seems to suggest that all of the partic ipants were very well informed about the key doctrines of the eva ngelical faith regardless of the time period they had considered themselves evangelicals. The mean score of 9.225 years in the faith might have provided some insight into the high doctrinal scores if those newer to the faith (Chelsea, Kelsey, Lisa and Paul) had not earne d high scores also. Th e questionnaire also revealed that 85% of the participantsÂ’ pare nts would identify themselves as being bornagain. As to the question of the importance of their spirituality at this point in their lives (Appendix B Spiritual Questionnaire Item #15), the mean score was 4.45/5. On the Likert scale, 5 represented Â“High Importan ceÂ” and was the highest selection possible. Considered collectively or as a case, the data seem to suggest that th e spirituality of these participants was very importa nt to them. This data is also highly supported by the interview data in general. One interesting observation is that th ere were a couple of students who ranked themselves lower on this item and yet the interview testimony of
107 other participants did not corr espond to this low self-assessment. In other words, some of those that were seemingly the most spirituall y committed in the eyes of other students did not rate themselves very highly on the que stionnaire for this item. One important Christian character trait is humility. It is pos sible that these students may have provided lower scores on this item for fear of appearing to lack humility. If that is true, then the mean would actually be higher wi th regard to spiritualityÂ’s level of importance to this group. Questions 9 & 11 were open-ended and provide some insight into why the participants believe they could identify them selves as born-again. The emerging theme in the various answers had to do with the notion of Â“faith in ChristÂ”. In evangelicalism, Â“faith,Â” Â“trust,Â” Â“beliefÂ” and Â“acceptÂ” are term s that are often used synonymously as they refer to Christ and salvation, and they are related terms in the original New Testament language known as Koine Greek. Another them e emerging from the responses has to do with the idea of the connectedness of sin and salvation. In eva ngelicalism, the terms Â“savedÂ” and Â“salvationÂ” are alwa ys understood in the context of personal sins. The idea is that the believer is Â“savedÂ” from the conse quences of her personal sins by the voluntary sacrifice of Jesus Christ who took GodÂ’s judgm ent in the believerÂ’s stead. The purpose of this questionnaire was to provide insight into the participantsÂ’ leve ls of understanding of and commitment to their evangelical fait h. Based upon all of the data including the interviews, I feel confident that this study contained authentic and committed evangelicals. The information discussed in th e previous paragraphs is summarized in chart form as Appendix F.
108 The Interviews Â– What Emerged? The transition to college. As stated previously, ninete en of twenty participants identified themselves as Â“good students.Â” Ho wever, there were a couple that questioned their academic fit from their pe rceptions of their institutiona l identities being science, math, business and technology oriented. The st udents generally expressed a desire for greater social and academic integration in th at they articulated the hope of developing more and better relationships a nd the desire for academic success. There was frequently a vocational emphasis articulated in answering the question about what they hoped college could do for them. There was also a hope that college would improve their overall spirituality. Another theme was the hope for im provement in their general life skills. Many students looked upon their college years as transition years where they hoped to learn how to function as autonomous adults. Th ey hoped that college would help them to manage their new freedom. For example, Leti said, I guess just basically the relationships that IÂ’m going to have with people. IÂ’ve found a lot of people that I lik e a lot. I guess also learni ng to live away from my parents and actually having my own life, you know, rather than living at home andÂ… (3/17/06 INT.) To this question of what she was looking forw ard to as part of her college experience, Katrina said, IÂ’m excited about Nursing School. I think it will be very hard, but I think for me getting over the fact of applying and be ing accepted will be one of my biggest challenges. ItÂ’s such a big in depth process, but after that I think I look forward to
109 getting to meet a lot of people and kind of getting to figure out who I am and just who I am as a person and who I am in Christ. (3/2/06 INT.) Although this group was highly motivated towards academic achievement, social integration repeatedly emerged as one of th eir highest priorities. Paul said, Â“Um, gaining more friends. Gaining better skills and lik e, be able to Â…in the field I want to go into and like growing as a ChristianÂ” (3/20/06 INT). Similarly, Dirk said, Honestly, like the first thing that pops into my mind is um social experience. Being home-schooled, obviously that wasnÂ’t something we got a lot of. There were kids next door and the neighborhood kids that I would go out and play with but I guess the biggest thing that excites me about college is getting that group environment going like study groups and just hanging out and being in a, I guess IÂ’ve always wanted to go to a big college and just have that people atmosphere cuz IÂ’m a very people oriented person IÂ’d say and I guess thatÂ’s what excites me about going to college. Of course thereÂ’s the learning aspect and the aspects of the unknown and educational fields such as a ne w class that I might be interested in that I havenÂ’t taken. IÂ’m taking an intro to business course this semester and this is a completely new field for me a nd IÂ’ve never dabbled in that at all experientially but IÂ’d still have to say th e people aspect is most important to me. (2/18/06 INT.) Generally, these students indica ted that their transition to college was smooth. Chelsea said, ItÂ’s been pretty smooth, surprisingly. Probably just because I was soÂ… like everyone always told me college is so much harder than high school and most
110 people go into college and bomb out their first semester. So I was so paranoid. So I worked really hard and itÂ’s paid off. And now itÂ’s very smooth, and I donÂ’t work as hard as I did last semester because I know how to do everything. IÂ’ve gotten adjusted. (3/22/06 INT.) Academically, many of them struggled with the transition to the overall structure of college. That is, they struggled with not ha ving regular homework assignments that were collected or graded. They also seemed to str uggle with the infrequenc y of graded items or evaluation events. The pattern of a midt erm and a final exam was unexpected and difficult to get used to. Herman said, Yeah, everybodyÂ’s told me that the fres hman year is hardes t, just adjusting toÂ….but I think I adjusted fairly wellÂ…it wa snÂ’t that drastic of a change, like I had been away from my parents you know weeks at a time, and I had worked in high school so I wasnÂ’t home that much so I, I thi nk I did a pretty good job in transitioning. The hardest part was just a new way of going to classes and the way I had to study. There wasnÂ’t as much st ructure from just the way they did classes and from the university, it was just a different type of st yle. So that was the bigger change, rather than living on my own. F: Okay, so that kind of got into a qu estion you sort of touched on and may have even touched on completely is one of your biggest challenges in your freshmen yearÂ…youÂ’d say that the way you had to st udy was one of your biggest challenges and one of the biggest adjustments? Herman: Yeah. A lot of people have a hard er time just with the fact that their mom isnÂ’t there to do laundry for them and you know, but with me, I did all that
111 stuff at home. So that wasnÂ’t a big deal to me. The harder part was the, like I said, the structure of th e way you have to studyÂ…a lthough there were, you know, you go to class with a bunch of people and you take calculus, you have 60 people in the class and what not, but I have t o, there wasnÂ’t as much help from the professor as there would be from a teacher in high school, so I had to adjustÂ…itÂ’s more independent work. But I did my best and studied really hard, and I think it paid off. That was the hardest part for me. (3/18/06 INT.) The problem with the college workload structure was further exacerbated by a collectively acknowledged probl em of poor time management and a lack of personal discipline. For example, in response to the que stion of the greatest challenges, Leti said, I guess planning my time, sometimes I donÂ’ t feel like I get enough sleep or I donÂ’t leave myself enough time to do something or leave things Â‘til the last minute, so I guess just having so much freedom. I feel like sometimes I waste time. (3/2/06 INT.) Similarly, when asked this same question regarding greatest anticipated challenges, Kelsey responded, Kelsey: Always classes and keepi ng everything high management. Time management. ThatÂ’s a big one. F: Yea. ItÂ’s not. ItÂ’s kind of like you go all of your life sort of managed for you and then all of a sudden they go Â‘Okay, here. Fly!Â’ You know? Kelsey: Yea. Eighteen hours of classes pl us anything else you want to do and you donÂ’t have to go to class. F: ThatÂ’s right.
112 Kelsey: You donÂ’t really have to do your homework if you donÂ’t want. Yeah, youÂ’ve got to make your own priorities. (3/17/06 INT.) Other common challenges cited were main taining their academic scholarships and the struggle for moral purity (d iscussed in detail later). Se veral students also expressed problems with roommates as being their most significant challenges. It is worth noting here that only a few students indicated a probl em with worldview related discomfort in the context of transition to college or greatest challenges. The following two excerpts represent that minority view. F: How has your adjustment to college been up to this point? David: ItÂ’s been a sort of weird. Academi cally, itÂ’s been great and not that much harder than I was doing before and IÂ’ve talked to many people and thatÂ’s what theyÂ’ve said that the freshman level w ill not be that hard as long as you apply yourself and thatÂ’s what I found out. I got AÂ’s last semester and IÂ’m hopefully going to pull it off with all AÂ’s and probably one B this semester. So academically, I think IÂ’ve adjusted fine. It will be interesting to see when I start taking sophomore or junior level course s how I actually do but emotionally or spiritually itÂ’s been very weird because before that IÂ’ve been around mostly people that have the same belief. Or, if they didnÂ’t accept it, they at least respect Christianity or they respect different religions and th ere are just so many people here that they either reject it or th ey donÂ’t even respect it. And you see more rejecting than disrespecting of Christianity is what IÂ’m seeing. ItÂ’s like if they see people of different faiths for example if th ey are Muslims letÂ’s say or Hindus well you must respect, well thereÂ’s just all of the negativity of the professors thatÂ’s
113 been sort of a shock. But IÂ’ve been just trying to let it roll off because I know thatÂ’s just the way the system is, they hi re liberal professors There was this study, I donÂ’t remember the exact numbers but itÂ’s like the amount of liberal compared to conservative professors ar e like, itÂ’s not just at th is school but nationwide, the percentages are highly liberal so I am getting used to that ItÂ’s not that the liberal view is bad, itÂ’s just that th e slant of it well, the biggest thing IÂ’ve had to get used to is the professors. They have their ow n personal views and they might say that they arenÂ’t trying to influence but the wa y they teach and the way they talk about stuff comes across to me as di fferent but I just have to take it with a grain of salt and say Â“huhÂ”Â…butÂ…[pause] F: I donÂ’t know if this feed s into that question or not butÂ…What have been some of your biggest challenges in your freshman year? David: Yes, the spiritual has been the biggest challenge. Not academic because IÂ’ve studied hard but yeah the spiritual st uff has been the hardest but political too, like I was saying about the liberal versus the conservativism, uh, most professors are like so slanted, I mean one thing th at bugs me is with Iraq. I mean not everyone has to believe it but they say st uff like Â“the invasion of IraqÂ” not a war but an invasion. You know theyÂ’ll just say little things like th at to let you know and the whole class know that they donÂ’ t agree with it but they canÂ’t just completely bash it. ThatÂ’s the kind of stuff that I just check. I mean not check, thatÂ’s the kind of stuff that I catch. ItÂ’s like the invasion a nd we know now that there were no WMDÂ’s and you know from students okay but from professors I think they should be unbiased or they should say stuff like Â“the war in IraqÂ”
114 thereÂ’s nothing wrong with that but when they say stuff like Â“the invasion of IraqÂ”, you know they need to be between lines and the liberal students donÂ’t catch on to it and many students donÂ’t bother but politically, I love to go to political debates, not arguments but debates or discus sions and so that is the kind of stuff I catch the war, you know that bugs me to death because I donÂ’t agree with everything that Bush has done but keep the views to yourself, donÂ’t use your position as a platform for your political view s. ThatÂ’s what I donÂ’t like. I believe the same thing for conservatives. They should do the same thing. They should try to stay as unbiased as po ssible and I know thatÂ’s not always easy and you can let things slip but thereÂ’s ways you can do it if you really try. In history courses youÂ’re always gonna have that problem, but in courses like math and English, you should not have that kind of stuff from professors. Hist ory professors I think have a sort of lenience to be able to do that b ecause they interpret events and so thatÂ’s there but when you get an English or a math teacher IÂ’m like thatÂ’s just the last straw. English and math teachers on politics, thatÂ’s not really a place for them to be doing that. I donÂ’t know, I could be wrong. (2/24/06 INT.) Similarly, Tre discusses his biggest challenge in the following excerpt: The biggest thing school wise is that IÂ’ve always been in a Christian classroom where I was always taught and itÂ’s ki nd of understood that everyone believes and in UTA itÂ’s more, you know, a lot of people donÂ’t know what they believe and a lot of teachers, a few of my teachers are kind of hostile towards Christianity and some are open to it but I havenÂ’t really met a teacher thatÂ’s committed to it. So itÂ’s
115 the chance to either kind of hide your faith or let it show by the way you act I guess. (2/23/06 INT.) In general, the students considered th e academics to be easier than they had expected. Although they struggled with what they considered a morally challenging environment, they also expressed some surp rise that these universities were not as morally deficient as they had expected them to be. In fact, almost all of the students indicated that their schools were not consider ed party schools. Most of the students were glad that there was less emphasis on athletic s and that they were attending schools more oriented towards academics. A few students also expressed some surprise that the universities were not as hostile to their faith as they had ex pected them to be, and there was more neutrality on the part of faculty than they expected there to be, as expressed here. F: So, maybe it goes back to the idea of neutrality that we discussed earlier? Dirk: Yes, which has been surprising to me because I had always thought that college was supposed to be a hard place fo r Christians in that you were gonna get a lot of opposition so th e neutrality is kind of surprising to me. F: So, that would be a good surprise? Dirk: Yes. (5/13/06 INT.) Consistent with this idea of surprising neutra lity or less hostility, consider JamesÂ’ second interview. F: Is your college experience different than what you thought or what you were told it would be like (prior to your arrival)?
116 James: Well I never knew quite what to expect. I knew there would be a lot of more people. And I was expecting that Â… I knew that they are going to have teachersÂ…I was always built up to believe th at every single teacher that I have will find a way to seek and destroy my faith and to some extent there are some teachers like that. My history teacher [J ane Doe] she was a UTD teacher and she has very much a liberal perspective and womenÂ’s rights oriented so much so you might be able to call her a feminist and she might even admit it, which makes her cool. F: She taught history? James: Yeah, she teaches history I thi nk she teaches 1301 or 1302 and sheÂ’s the option other than [Flanders], I th ink. And you know, on one hand sheÂ’s an incredibly intellig ent woman. SheÂ’s a dynamic speaker and sheÂ’s a lot of fun to listen to. She says things th at if youÂ’re a Christian kind of irritate your faith. It seems likeÂ… ItÂ’s understandable, itÂ’s what I expected in college professors and I donÂ’t have a real problem with that other than the fact that it kind of makes me go back and search things out harder and make sure I have a good response maybe not in class because it could be disres pectful but a good response in my head. Other than that, I havenÂ’t run into super-e volutionist teachers or anything like that yet because I havenÂ’t really done a whole lo t of science courses so I canÂ’t really say. But that was one of the big things th at people are going to be like, Â“evolution, evolutionÂ” and they are gonna try to de stroy your creationist point of view.
117 F: So what youÂ’re saying is that you havenÂ’t necessarily experienced that up to this point? What you were told in prepara tion hasnÂ’t really come to pass in the intensity that you were told it would? James: Right, well I guess I was made to somewhat believe a lot of the teachers that I would have or the va st majority would be out to seek and destroy my faith like I said earlier. ThatÂ’s not necessarily true. Ther e are teachers out there, you know, and I would have to put Jane Do e in that category butÂ…(4/19/06 INT.) When asked about what they hoped the college experience would do for them, most students expressed the notion of vo cation or career and the contribution to vocational success that college would hopefully bring. Only Gert held to the notion that college was about becoming well-rounded and th at she was not attending for vocational reasons unless being a perpetual student could be seen as vocationa l (3/16/06 INT). There was also the hope that college would help th em improve in their social skills and life skills. For example, Ronald said he hoped that his college experience would Â“Teach me how to discipline myselfÂ” (3/22/06 INT). Seve ral students expressed a lack of social competency and felt that they had grown in this area because of the college environment. They identified themselves as the Â“geeks and nerdsÂ” in high school and they felt that they enrolled in universities where geeks and nerds were clearly in the ma jority and this tilted the social landscape in their favor. A few students mentioned the college experience as a place to learn how to think and to understand better how others think. One student wanted to understand how others think and believe so that he could be bett er equipped to lead them to a conversion experience. The following interview excerpts are most
118 representative of the group responses to the question of what they hoped college would do for them: Paul: Well I hope that it will get me able to go out into the world. Be able to find a job of what I want to do with the help of the degree that IÂ’m going to get and all that stuff and just hope that ge ts me somewhere. (3/20/06 INT.) Leti: Prepare me for life after college. Give me the skills for the job that I need to have and also, again, learning how to l ook after yourself a nd be independent. (3/17/06 INT.) Sonya: Prepare me for being an adult. Uh, I want lifelong friends; I want relationships that matter. I want to be prepared to go into the business world and to be successful and be able to help support my family. (3/17/06 INT.) Dirk: Well, first off, about the futu re, providing a care er opportunity. Uh, probably second, just teach me more a bout being a person, being a man, being around, socially interactive and things like that. So, I guess those are the two things that come to mind quickest. (2/18/06 INT.) James: Well, I mean besides just giving me a practical degree that I can work through seminary on, or maybe doing some thing like literature or philosophy that will enrich my understanding of that literature, the philo sophical and theological world before I get to seminary. The onl y other thing that IÂ’m really looking forward to being developed in, is relating to people of the Islamic faith and people who are atheist or people who are agnostic s, and learning to talk to all those different people because as far as being part of the ministry, learning how to understand people and learning how to communicate with people in being
119 sympathetic with people and being empathe tic with people is a huge deal in the ministry. And IÂ’ll tell you right now, I am not naturally gifted in that area. I very naturally easily offend people because I tend to not be sympathetic and empathetic. So thatÂ’s something I have to work on really hard. (3/16/06 INT.) Social Integration Evangelical social in tegration platforms These participants were highly involved in Christian related social activ ities whether they were campus ministries or ministries of the local church. Â“Building activitiesÂ” or dorm and intramural activities were also highly attended at UTD. Only one student (Dirk) at UTA lived in the college dorms and he disenrolled from the university at the end of his first semester citing primarily academic performance and social reasons for his deci sion. There were no sponsored dorm activities at UTA. UTD had a highly complex and de liberate dorm-sponsore d, social-activities program. Nearly all of the pa rticipants attending UTD were involved in dorm activities. From a social standpoint, every student in this study indicated that they had met a good set of friends at their university and the primary sources of those friendships were through the campus ministries, the local church es and the freshmen dormitories. At UTD, this was primarily through organized build ing activities like in tramural sports. Leti: Yes, I guess I have two groups of friends. The BSM (Baptist Student Ministries) group. I met them just because I went to Bible study and got to know them through that, and the other group is ju st because they make activities so the freshmen can meet and living in buildi ngs like the apartments, so by justÂ… F: So they have all the freshmen in one building? Leti: Yes.
120 F: ThatÂ’s good. And so they have the pe ople in charge, the RAÂ’s or whatever you call them, they organize activ ities and that allows you to interact with other freshmen in the building? Leti: Yes. F: Do you, is that a good thing? Leti: Yes. (3/17/06 INT.) The majority of the students indicated that campus ministries provi ded the highest quality friendships and the highest number of friendships. Paul: I actually have met a good set of fr iends. I actually met them through BSM because they just seem to accept me fo r who I am. They seem to be open to everything, so that was nice. F: What would it be like without BSM? If you didnÂ’t have BSM or Campus Crusade or any Christian organizations ? Would you like it as much as you do? Paul: I donÂ’t think so, for one thing the apartment building I was in. For one thing it didnÂ’t have that great of a building unity so I didnÂ’t know too many people in that building. So, I actually met more people through organizations. IÂ’ve met a few people through classes but thatÂ’s still not that many. (3/20/06 INT.) Another social recommendation had to do with getting involved in dorm activities. This was particularly promin ent among UTD students. UTD had a focused, deliberate and well organized dorm program th at primarily sought social interaction, particularly for freshmen students. Ever y dorm student at UTD spoke positively about this dorm social program. This was emphasized by Kelsey when she was asked to give advice to new freshmen.
121 Live on campus and get involved with your building, because thatÂ’s where you will make friends that are your ageÂ…a lot of them are in your classes especially your first year when you have all your basicsÂ…youÂ’ll see them every day. YouÂ’ll make friends; youÂ’ll find your roommate for the next year. ItÂ’s where your social life will come from. (4/17/06 INT.) The two UTA students that lived in the dorms did not mention this option. My sense was that UTA did not have similar dorm related soci al activities. Incidentally, the student that left UTA cited social isolation as a major f actor in his decision and he was a UTA dorm resident. Most of these students went home frequently. In fact, five of the twenty still lived at home and were commuter students. Those par ticipants whose parents lived in or close to the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex were going home at least weekly. Those from other parts of Texas were going home about thr ee times per semester. The only participant whose parents were not living in Texas still managed three trips home the first semester in spite of the fact that her parents were U.S. government employees residing in England. The social aspect and social opportunities are what the students liked most about their college experience. When asked what she liked most about her fi rst year of college, Nancy replied, Â“I guess itÂ’s the relationships th at IÂ’ve developedÂ” (4 /21/06 INT). Natanya said what she liked most about the college experience was: I guess the people. I think I mentione d that last time, too though, but F: ItÂ’s ok. You can include what you said last time too. Natanya: The people IÂ’ve met. Even like si nce we talked before more Christian people and those that I would like to have as friends for life. You know and we all
122 have decided that we are moving into the same building next year, so weÂ’re definitely going to know each other longer. (3/22/06 INT.) Similarly, Paul said, IÂ’d have to say the social life because itÂ’s just grown. IÂ’ve been meeting a lot more friends and also getting to know thos e friends a lot better than I have any other friends that IÂ’ve had. (4/21/06 INT.) Evan said, Â“What have I liked most? Um, I guess meeting new people like new friends Like the good friends IÂ’ve met here from Trinity Bible ChurchÂ” (4/24/06 INT). The students also mentioned their participation in Christian ac tivities and Christian social gatherings like Bible studies as what they li ked most. Sonya said, Â“Um, itÂ’s basically the same (as the first interview). I still love the BSM and that would be what I love the most about college and my college experienceÂ” (4/12/06 INT). To the question on community, the majority of responses were that they perceived themselves to be members of a community within the university as opposed to being members of the university community. Most of the students felt like their sense of community came from the evangelical social connections and to a lesser extent from dorm activities and intramural teams. They fe lt most connected to the evangelical groups and then to the freshmen they had met through intramurals and other dorm related activities and from classes. All of the st udents except the student who withdrew from UTA communicated a deep connection to the ev angelical community in its various forms Â– formal and informal. Consider the followi ng response as most re presentational of the group.
123 F: Could you tell me about your social life? Do you feel like you are a part of the universityÂ’s community or part of a community within the university? Susan: IÂ’d say IÂ’m much part of a commun ity within the university, and that being Campus Crusade and my classes. My frie nd who I was talking about who is in a sorority. SheÂ’ll bring me to events so metimes that are like all over community events, you know, like last night actuall y. They were doing elections for the presidency and stuff like that and giving blood and all this stuff. And I went and hung-out with her and met a lot of people but IÂ’m really not a part of that kind of stuff. So, mostly our Campus Crusade people kind of hang-out. IÂ’ve been much more involved with them than anyone else. F: Okay, you feel a kind of a low-le vel connection with the main body of students? Susan: IÂ’d say a pretty average or a hi gher than most people connection. Like, the only way I could be higher is if I actua lly hung-out with those people. But those are the kind of people th at arenÂ’t really your friends. They are just people to party with and I donÂ’t think that is very fun. [Okay] So, but I think, compared to most people on this campus, I definitely have a higher connection to it, because of my friend, so. Most people on my campus just sit in their rooms and play online games all day. (4/13/06 INT.) The significance of the Christian connection. Every participant in this study was highly involved in evangelical activities. In fact, some of them were involved in some spiritual group or activity daily. Every partic ipant indicated that their connection with other Christians was very important. Ther e were several reasons for this. Moral
124 accountability and moral direction was a major theme. Another theme had to do with encouragement. The general sense was that a ssociating with other Christians was going to lift them up emotionally. There was also a se nse that associating with other Christians was going to help them focus spiritually, pa rticularly in their relationship with God. Another theme had to do with avoiding feelings of social isolation. Implicit in this is the notion of separateness from the general st udent population. Though there was discussion of socially tapping in outside of evangelicals, there was also a sense that some students felt that there was really nowhere else to go. Being a part of the evangelical groups was seen as essential to social, academic and spiritu al success. This data is consistent with the high spiritual commitment manifested in the ite m #15 in the Spiritual Questionnaire. It is also consistent with the responses to the question about the advice they would give to evangelical freshmen (discussed later). Consid er the following excerpts in response to the question of the importance of the Christian connection: F: In terms of your spiritua l connection with Trinity Bi ble Church and Christians on Campus, help me to understand how important it is to you, you know, like on a continuum scale with 0 being least impor tant and 10 being highest importance. Your affiliation this year with a campus ministry, how important was it to you personally? Evan: Nine, I donÂ’t know if I woul d have made it any other way. F: When you say that, you donÂ’t think you wouldÂ’ve made it, can you explain what you mean? Made it how, in what sense?
125 Evan: Just the pressure of sin and all the stress of everything you know, itÂ’s pretty much very necessary to have other peopl e to pray with and pray for you, have a sort of support system. F: So really then it was an issue of if you didnÂ’t have that you may not have been successful in completing your freshman year? Evan: ItÂ’s a possibility. (4/24/06 INT.) F: Have you met with any other Chri stians since we last talked? Paul: Yes. IÂ’ve been to many Bible studies and stuff like that. So IÂ’ve definitely been immersed in Christians. F: How important would you say your connec tion with other Christians has been up to this point in the year? Paul: IÂ’d have to say itÂ’s been very impor tant because for one thing they are the friends IÂ’ve been talking a bout. Because I mean, if I ha dnÂ’t joined that group, I wouldnÂ’t have met half the friends I know now. And so, I mean that helps a lot. And plus itÂ’s alsoÂ… F: How does it help? Paul: It helps because with them being believers it makes me think about what IÂ’m doing. Also, trying to open up to them. F: When you say it makes you think of what youÂ’re doing, are you talking about being accountable? Paul: Yeah. F: So like your behavior? Paul: Yeah.
126 F: So when you talk to them and stuff you Â’re able to kind of Â…they are able to kind of come along beside you and sort of say Â“Hey, donÂ’t be involved in that, consider this as wrong.Â” Is th at what youÂ’re talking about? Paul: UmÂ… I guess yeah. They donÂ’t do it now but I mean but yeah something like that. ItÂ’s just the friendsÂ… usually the friends are there for you through everything and whenever I have somethi ng bad I usually tell them and they usually help me. (4/21/06 INT.) Sonya: Yes, very important. TheyÂ’re my support group and they help keep me on track. F: What would it be like wit hout other Christians here? Sonya: It would be very hard. F: Why? Sonya: Cause I would feel alone. I will feel like, Â“God, how am I supposed to do this by myself?Â” And I know that He could do it; it would just be hard. (4/12/06 INT.) James: I think itÂ’s been infinitely im portant. I mean, I donÂ’t even knowÂ… itÂ’s a huge value. People there to provide en couragement, people who care about you, ask you how youÂ’re doing with classes and how youÂ’re doing with other things like social life. And ask how itÂ’s going w ith teachers that give you a hard time about your Christianity? Peop le always there to provide encouragement if need be, advice. (4/19/06 INT.) F: How important would you say your connec tion with other Christians has been up to this point in the year?
127 David: Vital. F: Because? David: ItÂ’s just a c onstant support needed. F: Constant support needed? David: Just to know that IÂ’m not alone. To know that itÂ’s not just me against the world, because thatÂ’s what it seems like so metimes. I come out of classes and I go to places and IÂ’m like, Â“Yes, itÂ’s not just me.Â” F: Okay so the idea of being isolated. David: Well, the idea of not being isolated. F: Not being isolated? David: Yeah. (5/15/06 INT.) F: How important would you say your connec tion with other Christians has been up to this point in the year? Dirk: Very, because I really look to a lot of connections with other Christians as a source of encouragement. Maybe when IÂ’m just feeling down or IÂ’m worried about a test you can just send out an email to your prayer group and ask for prayer but you canÂ’t really do that with other pe ople because most other people just say, Â“Well, good luckÂ”. What does that mean? Not a whole lot. ItÂ’s more encouraging for me to know that someone is prayi ng for me, even if you donÂ’t do well on the test. (5/13/06 INT.) F: Have you met with any other Chri stians since we last talked? Ronald: Well FOCUS (Fellowship of Christian University Students) Christians. F: How many times a week do you go to FOCUS?
128 Ronald: Probably if you count all FOCUS re lated things, like three times a week. F: Three. How important would you say your connection with other Christians has been up to this po int in the school year? Ronald: Pretty important. F: Why do you say that? Ronald: TheyÂ’re probably the most encouraging people that I know. F: How do they encourage you? Ronald: They were just always lik e asking how IÂ’m doing and stuff. F: Yeah, so they were interested in you as a person? Ronald: Yeah. F: Would you say that they demonstrated care for you? Ronald: Yes. (4/15/06 INT.) F: Have you met with any other Chri stians since we last talked? Leti: Met with them? F: Yeah, like gone to be with Christians. Leti: Yeah. F: How often? Leti: Every day. F: How important would you say your connec tion with other Christians has been up to this point in the year? Leti: Very important. F: Why do you say that?
129 Leti: Because I think youÂ’re so influenced by the people around you, at least I am. Maybe IÂ’m just weak, but you know itÂ’s r eally supportive to me. It keeps me focused. F: It keeps you focused morally? Leti: Well, yeah. F: Morally or more than that? Leti: Not, okay morals are important but I donÂ’t think thatÂ’s a, IÂ’m more interested in my relationship with God and th at type of thing. (4/21/06 INT.) F: Have you met with any other Chris tians since we last talked? And how important would you say your connection wi th other Christians has been up to this point in the year? Susan: I think it is crucial. I have an accountabilit y partner who is a leader in crusade and I meet with her every week. And I talk to my boyfriend everyday as an accountability partner and if I didnÂ’t have that I donÂ’t know what I would be doing. But, it is so refreshing to be able to be with Christians who are dealing with the same issues every day. ThatÂ’s kind of why I wanted to take a freshman under my wing. Just to, I mean because if you donÂ’ t stick together you are going to fall apart, so. Other Christians are de finitely crucial. (4/13/06 INT.) The social cost of Evangelicalism. The majority of students in this study expressed a perceived social cost for bei ng an evangelical. When asked whether they perceived their evangelicalism was an issue in their college social life, the following excerpts from student interviews are th e most representative of the group:
130 Susan: IÂ’d say definitely. However, mostly it seems just to be this university. It is a very highly ranked university so ever yone is for the most part, very like, intelligent and if you say that you are a Ch ristian or something, basically, no one, not many people will leave you. Most peopl e will dump on you and attack you, is what will happen. And like, that happens all the time in my rhetoric class. IÂ’ll say something and people will agree with my logic or if I say anything related to my faith they will either not listen or they will attack you, which is basically what happened a few hours ago. [just a few hours ago] Yeah, when I was debating with those guys. (3/20/06 INT.) SusanÂ’s second interview was consis tent with her description above. Susan: Social life? Um, well, a little bit [either positively or negatively] IÂ’d say it is negative. If you are hanging around Christia ns then it is obviously a plus. But if you are hanging around non-Christians, youÂ’re either, I mean theyÂ’re basically not gonna, I mean their entire opinion of you goes way down if you tell them you are Christian. So, that is basically why I onl y hang-out with Christians and my close friends. I mean no one whoÂ’s not a Christia n basically wants to really hang-out with a Christian. ItÂ’s kind of like this stereotypical way, they shy away from it kind of thing. F: YouÂ’ve experienced that here? Susan: Yeah, in the rhetoric class. I mean like, sheesh. I would make friends with these people and they would be talki ng and theyÂ’d be like, Â“Wow, why do you have such strong,Â” you know, Â“morals and opinions and why is this stuff all wrong?Â” I was, they would be like, Â“Are you a Christian or something?Â” and I
131 would be like Â“yeah.Â” And instantly, you know, they were not my friends anymore, for sure. And they would speak agai nst me in class and not really talk to me like I was a person, I was an enemy instantly. (4/13/06 INT.) Similarly, F: In terms of your social life at college, have you ever found being an evangelical was an issue? Dirk: There was a group of older students that I h ung around with and there was one girl in particular that worked in the dorm office that I got to know. When she found out that I was an evangelical, some times itÂ’s subliminal and sometimes itÂ’s extreme, of not necessarily avoidance but sometimes avoidance about talking about certain things and trying to keep th e topics as low key as possible and that was only after I would mention something about going to church or reading the Bible or praying. So there was that hi ndrance that you can sort of sense. F: Anything else? Dirk: There was chemistry lab. I had a frie nd that had a car ac cident. I mentioned about him being in GodÂ’s hands, and ther e was that kind of stepping back, letÂ’s get out of this type of conversation that he showed and I didnÂ’t get a whole lot of reception when I would talk to people about that subject. Surprisingly, the gay guy was the most receptive about spiritual issues. He actually wouldnÂ’t mind if someone cussed around him but if they used the LordÂ’s name in vain, he would mind that. I found that in teresting. (2/18/06 INT.)
132 Additionally, F: In terms of your social li fe at college, have you ev er found being an evangelical was an issue? Nancy: ItÂ’s stood between me and going a nd doing certain things with a group of people because I know that my morals w ould be compromised, whether itÂ’s in the environment there is a lot of alcohol consum ption or just other actions that are not exactly what I should be doing. Or, even like, being associated with people who are doing those kinds of actions. F: So you would say that your faith kind of limits your social life to a certain extent because it limits who you will allo w yourself to be around or be involved with. Nancy: Yes, or just, I donÂ’t know, itÂ’s ki nd of, itÂ’s not like the Bible doesnÂ’t have like a moral rule of thumb, like, thereÂ’ s plenty of dos and donÂ’ts. Sometimes there are fuzzy situations and thatÂ’s th e hardest thing, is, I donÂ’t know, like you go up to people and just say no and donÂ’t do this and donÂ’t do that and so when youÂ’re in those situations, surrounded in those situations, that was fine, I could say no. But itÂ’s the fuzzy ones where itÂ’s kind of borderline or gray area and youÂ’re just like, Â“Well, I donÂ’t know what to say. You can make your own decision and I feel like maybe I shouldnÂ’ t do this.Â” Probably the main thing would be movies, like, what movies I le t myself watch. And for a certain group of friends they know not to invite me cause if they watch certain rated movies or certain movies with certain content they know that I wonÂ’t be there or I donÂ’t like watching things with that in there. (4/21/06 INT.)
133 The social costs cited were the following: 1) a perception that when the religious commitment is revealed there is a chill in the air that did not previous ly exist or that the nonbeliever is now more uncomfortable than they had been prior to the disclosure; 2) the perception that the nonbeliever now must strugg le with the tension of being guarded with regard to appropriate langua ge and topic selection; 3) the perception that they (evangelicals) are not invited to certain types of events and this limits them socially and 4) the loss of significant relati onships. For example, three female participants revealed the costs of relationships with young men th at dissolved because of their Christian commitments. Several male students expresse d awareness and gratitude that they were not invited to certain events because of th eir evangelicalism in that not being invited removed them from the potential temptation of moral failure. It must also be pointed out that nine students did not perceive any social costs associated with their evangelicalism. However, two of those students indicated that they only associ ated with other Christians so my question was moot for those students. For example, F: In terms of your social life at college, have you ever found being a Christian was an issue? Evan: Hmmm.. No because most of my frie nds are Christians so, thatÂ’s the kind of people I try to stay with. (3/18/06 INT.) Regarding the question of whether nonrel igious friends were aware of their evangelicalism, there were two participan ts that practiced a Â“discreteÂ” form of Christianity in that they di d not openly discuss their fait h or let unbelievers know about their faith. However, there is no biblical s upport for such a view in Christianity. The remainder indicated that their nonreligious fr iends were aware of their evangelicalism
134 and they perceived that they did respond to them differently in some instances. For example, they recognized that they were unlik ely to be invited to parties where sex, drugs and alcohol were going to be involved. Also, they would likely not be invited to watch certain types of movies depending on the rating. Perceptions on the Unive rsityÂ’s Moral Ethos. When asked to describe the moral character of the studen t body, the participants rated the mo ral character of their campuses as a Â“fourÂ” when they were asked to place the student body on a continuum from 0 Â– 10 with zero representing moral depravity and ten representing the highest level of morality. They indicated that the overall morality was higher than they had expected but still significantly below their personal moral standa rds. The moral ethos of the university was the most significant source of discomfort fo r this group of participants. Primarily, the students perceived that the moral ethos of the university was presenting a negative attraction and concomitant strain on them th at was averse to their moral beliefs. The students used the word Â“temptationÂ” which is a biblical term to express what they were experiencing. What they were communicating is that the university offered numerous and continuous opportunities to violate their personal beliefs when it came to moral standards, in spite of the fact that ther e was consensus that neither university was considered a Â“party school.Â” F: How would you describe the overall mo ral character of th e student body? Nancy: ItÂ’s below my standards. But I donÂ’t know compared to the other schools because I havenÂ’t really been to other schools.
135 F: But on a scale from one to ten, with te n being a highest sta ndard that you could achieve and one being the lowest, where would you put, on that continuum, where you would you place the average student here, in terms of their morality? Nancy: I donÂ’t know what lowest would indicate. F: Lowest might be at night, steali ng other studentÂ’s cars, breaking into apartments, raping female students on campus, drugs, you know, a high level of drug involvement. Nancy: IÂ’d have to say that it would be around the middle then because thereÂ’s definitely things that have happened on cam pus. ThereÂ’s definitely been drug use, thereÂ’s a lot of alcohol use, thereÂ’s a lot of homosexuality, I would guess. Um, itÂ’s not like a whole, youÂ’re not just confronted with it day in and day out but I mean like, youÂ’re never gonna escape it. Th ereÂ’s a lot of sexuality, I would guess, going on, and that, I guess that would be because of the convenience of apartments and regular housing. ItÂ’s probably an underlyi ng moral thing going on, that or alcohol. And so, it may not be like physical, like thi ngs that disappear day in and day out on campus but itÂ’s lik e seeing what people do by themselves. (4/21/06 INT.) F: How would you describe the overall mora l character of the st udent body there? Gert: Like I said itÂ’s either liberal or Muslim, like thereÂ’s a very wide Muslim population, thereÂ’s a very wide internationa l population in the school, and itÂ’s also very liberal both politically and morally, I guess, and not that I know that many people that go to wild parties? But y ou just know that thatÂ’s what happens.
136 F: And when you say theyÂ’re politically liberal, in there, you know, there liberal both politically and morally, can you, kind of flesh that out for me and tell me what you mean by that? Gert: Well, like, I say morally, like people have this sort of, Â“WhateverÂ’s good for you,Â” kind of attitude. ThereÂ’s a lot of people who, you know, are, kind of have the attitude that maybe take advantage of this new freedom that they have and you know as long as itÂ’s not hurting anyone else or as long as you donÂ’t get caught, kind of thing. And I say politically becau se a lot of people are, politics is a common topic ofÂ… (3/16/06 INT.) F: How would you describe the overall mo ral character of th e student body? Kelsey: Overall itÂ’s pretty good. ThereÂ’s not a lot of drinki ng and drugs inside, you can find that but I tend to stay away from it. F: ButÂ… Kelsey: But itÂ’s a real problem. Like, if you want to do drugs and you want to drink you can find it. (3/17/06 INT.) F: How would you describe the overall mo ral character of th e student body? Sonya: My only experience with the stude nt body is with my friends in the student body, so it may be tainted. But, the people that I hang out with areÂ… F: Your friends are all Chri stian students arenÂ’t they? Sonya: Yeah. Most of them are basically good, I guess. They, weÂ’re all simple. IÂ’m just impressed by their hone sty and their responsibility. F: In terms of your general sense co ncerning the rest of student body, your perception, um, as you wander arou nd campus, are you in the dorms?
137 Sonya: Yes. F: Is it, is the amount of Christians? Sonya: The morality or the students? F: Well, the amount of Christians. Wh atÂ’s that like; whatÂ’s your impression, whatÂ’s your perception? Sonya: Well, the quote, unquote normal colle ge students they go to school and they party on the weekends. The morality is pretty low and IÂ’m pretty sure that theyÂ’re just searching in order to find so mething to fill that void, whether it be drugs or sex or something else. I just think theyÂ’re trying to find something. F: And filling the void in your eyes would be what? Sonya: What would fill the void? F: Yes. Sonya: Jesus. Clearly HeÂ’s the only one who can ever be everything you need because heÂ’s infinite and we ha ve finite needs. (3/17/06 INT.) F: How would you describe the overall moral character of the student body? Gert: Â…as a whole it just seems like itÂ’s very pro-choice and you know very, you know, whatever works for you and as long as youÂ’re not hurting anyone else kind of a thing. (4/25/06 INT.) F: How would you describe the overall moral character of the student body? Tre: I guess relativism, you know, pleasing the st udents. (4/25/06 INT.) F: How would you describe the overall mo ral character of th e student body? IÂ’m not referring to just your Christian friends but the enti re student body in general.
138 Evan: I think pretty much an independen t kind of character; everyoneÂ’s kind of doing their own thing. (3/18/06 INT.) F: How would you describe the overall moral character of the student body? Katrina: Um, ItÂ’s very much of a have f un doing whatever you want to do type of thingÂ… itÂ’s kind of just like wh atever makes you happy right now. F: So the philosophy is Â“now and happinessÂ”? Katrina: Yes, pretty much inst ant gratificati on. (4/25/06 INT.) In our second interview, Katrina added Â“s elf-centeredÂ” to the same question and she reiterated the previous notion she had put fo rth regarding the studentÂ’s morality being driven by Â“immediate gratificationÂ” (4/25/ 06 INT). James described the UTD student body similarly with regard to a morality dr iven by self-centeredne ss when he suggested the following: IÂ’d say itÂ’s a pretty liber al student body at UTD. F: When you say liberal you mean in the sense ofÂ… James: I find out the reason most of the ti me people want to be liberal because they think that if youÂ’re liberal that th e liberal political group will make it okay to have liberal morals, you know, and allow mo re and more liberal morals to be legal in America. And thatÂ’s why they want the liberal party to have power; they want to be able to live out their liberal morals. F: And how are you defi ning liberal morals? James: Well if youÂ’re a Christian you just say amoral Â– being able to party, having multiple sex partners.
139 F: So whatÂ’s their standard for morality? What is their guide? Those students that youÂ’re calling liberal students, what guides their morality? James: I think most of them are just in college and they want to make good grades because you can use a big deal about making good grades but other than that theyÂ’re in college and they want to have fun and they want to sexually experiment and they want to experiment with other things drugs and alco hol and things like that. TheyÂ’re in the world and they want to experience the world. (3/16/06 INT.) The ethical component of the participan tÂ’s worldview emerged as a significant source of data in this study. Of all of the things that confr onted them, morality seemed to be the topic that generated the most disc omfort for them as evangelical freshmen. Although there was general agreement that the morality was higher than they had expected, they still described behaviors that disturbed them for various reasons. UTA and UTD have some commonalities in that neither school has pr ominent athletic programs, and both schools share a reputation as not be ing considered party schools. In fact, both schools tend to have a reputation for challengi ng scholarship and a couple of the studentÂ’s joked about attending the Â“college for geek s and nerdsÂ” (Susan, 4/13/06 INT). Although there was this general percep tion of academic emphasis at both schools, the participants still indicated that relative to their standard s, the morality was generally low. The most prevalent behaviors cited as behaviors of c oncern were sex (premarital, homosexual, and sexual harassment), drugs and alcohol. The i ssues of greatest concern were the perceived influence of moral degradation upon themselves and also upon their evangelical peers. One theme that emerged was a philosophica l conflict regarding moral absolutes. The Christian students, as theists, believe in the existence of moral absolutes that
140 transcend time, culture, situation, and pers onality. Nancy said, Â“There are absolute morals, thatÂ’s what I believeÂ” (4/21/06 INT) This response was given in the context of the following question: Â“What would you say is the most significant difference between the way you view the world and the way the world is presented in the classroom?Â” Similarly, when asked the same question rega rding the contrast of worldviews, Gert responded: Absolute right and wrong. A lot of things are presented as thatÂ’s whatÂ’s right for them or thatÂ’s whatÂ’s right in this si tuation or for this person, but there are alternatives, or you know what I mean? Bu t from a Christian worldview, there are absolute rights and wrongs and it applie s to everyone whether they live in Africa or not. And in a lot of ways, that wa s, you know, the idea of relativism and different cultures believe different things and have a different system of right and wrong. (4/25/06 INT.) Nancy described the system of thought th at they opposed in the following ways: Â“Whatever it is today, relativeÂ…Whatever it is today. Whatever floats your boat, I guessÂ” (4/21/06 INT). When describi ng the student body at UTA, David said, Â“Â…the overall moral character is just go w ith the flowÂ” (5/15/06 INT). In response to a request for clarification, David sai d, Â“[They] go with what society says is right or they all have their own personal valuesÂ” (5/15/06 IN T). This last statement seems to adequately summarize what the majority of students in this study concluded about the overa ll moral ethos of the university that they disagreed with from a worldview perspective. That is, the other students, and the classrooms as a whole, comm unicated a morality that consisted of two major components Â– subjective morality and cu ltural morality, and a lesser thread I am
141 calling practical morality. Subjective morality is defined as a moral system where the individual person decides what is right or wrong based primarily upon self-interest. Subjective morality is expressed in the following interview excerpts: F: How would you describe the overall moral character of the student body? Gert: Â…as a whole it just seems like itÂ’s very pro-choice and you know very, you know whatever works for you and as long as youÂ’re not hurting anyone else kind of a thing. (4/25/06 INT.) To the same question, Tre: I guess relativism, you know, pleasing the st udents. (4/25/06 INT.) Evan: I think pretty much an independen t kind of character; everyoneÂ’s kind of doing their own thing. (3/18/06 INT.) Similarly, subjective morality can also be identified in the following excerpt: F: How would you describe the overall moral character of the student body? Katrina: Â“ItÂ’s very much of a have f un doing whatever you want to do type of thingÂ…um..itÂ’s like..itÂ’s kind of just like whatever makes you happy right now.Â” F: So the philosophy is Â“now and happinessÂ”? Katrina: Yes, pretty much inst ant gratificati on. (3/2/06 INT.) In our second interview, Katrina added Â“s elf-centeredÂ” to the same question and she reiterated the previous notion she had put fo rth regarding the studentÂ’s morality being driven by Â“immediate gratificationÂ” (4/25/ 06 INT). James described the UTD student body similarly with regard to a morality dr iven by self-centeredne ss when he suggested that, James: IÂ’d say itÂ’s a pretty liberal student body at UTD.
142 F: When you say liberal you mean in the sense ofÂ… James: I find out the reason most of the ti me people want to be liberal because they think that if youÂ’re liberal that th e liberal political group will make it okay to have liberal morals, you know, and allow mo re and more liberal morals to be legal in America. And thatÂ’s why they want the liberal party to have power, they want to be able to live out their liberal morals. F: And how are you defi ning liberal morals? James: Well, if youÂ’re a Christian you just say amoral. Being able to party, having multiple sex partners. F: So whatÂ’s their standard for morality? What is their guide? Those students that youÂ’re calling liberal students, what guides their morality? James: I think most of them are just in college and they want to make good grades because you can use a big deal about making good grades but other than that theyÂ’re in college and they want to have fun and they want to sexually experiment and they want to experiment with other things drugs and alco hol and things like that. TheyÂ’re in the world and they want to experience the world. F: Okay, so morality driven by pleasure seeking? James: Yeah, success and pleas ure seeking. (3/16/06 INT.) Cultural morality is a system where the pr evailing attitudes of the culture become the guide for moral decision making. In this no tion, what is consider ed appropriate today may be considered inappropriate with tim e or a shift in geographical location. The Christian studentsÂ’ perception of a cultural morality is reflected in the following excerpt: F: What would you say they rest their morality on?
143 Susan: Um, what was best for society; like, um, murder and rape and stuff like that. But basically they think stuff that doe snÂ’t really affect things in the long run, or things they think like gay marriage. It just doesnÂ’t matter. And you can do whatever you want; itÂ’s in your own will. As long as it isnÂ’t bad for the economy or something like that, um. So thatÂ’s what they base their morality off of. (4/13/06 INT.) Cultural morality is also described in the following excerpt: F: So, I guess, when you hear people talki ng in class is that what comes across Â– moral relativism? Tre: Yeah. One of the students wrote a paper about why premarital sex isnÂ’t wrong but it wasnÂ’t a good paper. You see a lot of papers that are against what we believe but itÂ’s a good written paper but he Â’s like, Â“well because the morals in America have changed and people feel like itÂ’s okay now but it wasnÂ’t okay beforeÂ…Â” (4/25/06 INT.) Similarly, F: What do you think they ar e using for a moral guide? Tami: For a guide either themselves or, wh atÂ’s right to them, or maybe what they were raised to believe what was right and wrong. Like some of the students are, um, Hindu I guess and their faith plays a lot on what they think is right and wrong. (4/12/06 INT.) The last and lesser thread described is practical morality. I define practical morality as making moral decisions based upon wh at seems to be most practical at the
144 time. Instead of pleasure guiding decisions, decisions are based upon what seems most practical. An example is expressed in the following excerpt: F: How would you describe the overall moral character of the student body? Herman: Â…but I think that people here in ge neral just try to be very decent people whether or not theyÂ’re relig ious, you know, if theyÂ’re atheist, if theyÂ’re Hindu, they try and be the best person they ca n be. You know everyone here is slightly educated so they understand, for the most part, that being a decent person can get you somewhere. (4/14/06 INT.) Similarly, Gert: ItÂ’s not that the people at UTD donÂ’t do bad things but they donÂ’t do bad things because of religious conviction or because of Christian convictions. Does that make sense? Like they donÂ’t do dr ugs because theyÂ’re smart kids and, you know, if you do drugs, you donÂ’t get good grades, but you know what I mean, they haveÂ…practical or cultural r easons for not doing you know because good kidÂ’s donÂ’t do bad drugs, or donÂ’t do dr ugs or, you know, things like that. (4/25/06 INT.) Valued by the university?. The students were split on whether they perceived that the university valued the presence of evangeli cals. Some concluded that Christians were valued and others felt otherwise. The reasons varied, but I will begin with those that felt the university valued the presence of Christians: F: Is it your perception that the university va lues the presence of evangelical students on this campus? Explain.
145 Sonya: I would actually say probably yes. There are more Christian organizations on campus than any other religion. Um, the Christian organizations like, I mean, I think there is like five Christian organi zations and there is like one Islamic organization or something like that. The Christian organizations really promote social gatherings and stuff. And the univers ity tries really hard to get people out of their rooms, to get them to do stuff. So, I mean obviously there is so many of them here, so the university must like it. F: So, the Christian organizations promot e social activities and thatÂ’s seen as beneficial by the university? [yes] How do you know that? Sonya: Because the univ ersity is like, basically, all the university tries to do is likeÂ… F: Is it an assumption though? ThatÂ’s what I am getting at [No]. Is it an assumption or have you, has the univer sity actually said, have you heard, you know, anybody from the university say, Â“We like Christians. Come all Christians?Â” Sonya: No, they do not say, Â“Come all Christians.Â” But they do say, Â“Come all social activities.Â” [okay] They will take anything they can get, and that is, IÂ’m sure that the Christian organizations are included. But they never speak out openly about the Christian organizations. Th ey do very, very, very much promote social activities, and I think that is the only reason that they really appreciate Christians. (4/12/06 INT.) F: Is it your perception that the university va lues the presence of evangelical students on this campus? Explain.
146 Victor: I think so. F: What makes you say yes? Victor: Because they offer us the clubhouses of the different apartments for us to make our weekly Bible studyÂ…they give us the Galaxy Room, they uh, fully support our lunch on the lawn thingÂ…our outside barbeque thing we had last week; we just had it out here and they br ought all this stuff, they had like systems and everything. So the university is pret ty supportive. And uh, other Christian groups, along with ours got together and pr ayed for the university and everything, and I think they also gave the clubho use for that (event). (4/11/06 INT.) TreÂ’s response to this question draws a distinction between the UTA faculty and Â“official UTA,Â” and it represents the middl e position among the responses. Tre: I donÂ’t think the facu lty respects us that much. I would hope they would. Obviously, I want them to become Christia ns too but thatÂ’s a different subject. I think overall, the official UTA, they welcome it because they allow the Cornerstone worship group to play music on the grass beside the library. I mean they donÂ’t get into trouble or anything. (4/25/06 INT.) Conversely, a representative group of res ponses reflecting the opposing view (that Christian presence on campus is not valued) are below. F: Is it your perception that the univer sity values the pres ence of Christian students on this campus? David: No. F: Why do you say that?
147 David: Well, if they value it, why woul dnÂ’t they give peopl e equal opportunities, not equal opportunities, stri ke that. Why wouldnÂ’t they give people every view? All professors that I took this semester were not straight negative, but they mocked stuff, they were like, Â“Oh, yea h, yeah, yeah, this is right-wing.Â” They belittled the Christian values. They trie d to include just people like, like people say the minorities now, the African American s, the Muslims, and all that, but if you believe in actual moral values, y ou get looked down upon. If you believe in that, but oh, we have to be equal to ever yone else, but we donÂ’t have to be equal to you. You have to be equal to them, but we donÂ’t have to be equal to you. (5/15/06 INT.) F: Is it your perception that the univer sity values the pres ence of Christian students on this campus? Ivan: I think the university values the pr esence of other religions more than Christianity because Christianity they say is the main religion. You know how they say freedom of religion? Everyone wants to be equal now days. So it seems that theyÂ’re bringing down the Chris tians and bringing out more people, you know, so that it seems as though itÂ’s equal. F: Okay, so bringing down Christian ity, how do you see the university bringing down Christianity? Ivan: Well like I mean stressing, itÂ’s like stressing each religion equally, you know, theyÂ’ll stress other religions like Isla m or like Hinduism. Like at events and stuff like that it seems like theyÂ’ll support one more than the other. Like bring
148 everyone to the same level, to bring Christ ianity down from the pedestal itÂ’s on to make it all equal. (4/14/06 INT.) F: Is it your perception that the univer sity values the pres ence of Christian students on this campus? Tami: Not really. F: Can you explain what you mean by that? Tami: I think maybe, I think at UTD Chri stians are probably in a minority here. And it, I donÂ’t picture really, like reme mber any instances where UTD has valued our presence, but I donÂ’t know maybe. (4/12/06 INT.) Of course we add value. There was a general consensus that evangelical studentsÂ’ presence on campus added positivel y to the university. The fact that Christians prayed for the university was frequently mentioned. The ge neral topics of prayer had primarily to do with the spiritual well-being of everyone associated with the university. The students mentioned praying that many mo re students would be converted to faith in Christ. They also mentioned praying for improved morality on campus and for one another in the area of personal accountability or morality. Consid er the following excerpt from TamiÂ’s second interview: F: Does Christian student presence on campus add anything positive to the school? Tami: Yeah. F: Yeah? How?
149 Tami: Well, we pray for the school that it becomes a better place and becomes a better school and that more people will come to know Jesus, so I think thatÂ’s good that weÂ’re praying that UTD will be a better place F: If more people come to know Jesus, how is it going to be a better place? Tami: Well, I think it would definitely cut down on crime at UTD, like what we were talking about earlier and it w ould make people more understanding and more willing to help each other like. Even in sciences, I guess if people worked together, if theyÂ’re not selfish, then th eyÂ’ll work together (and) more can get accomplished. (4/12/06 INT.) The concern for the moral purity of othe r Christians was also mentioned as evangelical students formed accountability gr oups to assist one another with moral weaknesses. The students also mentioned the fa ct that Christians were meeting physical and spiritual needs of other students by conti nually providing events that included free meals and biblical teaching. They indicated th at Christian concern for others would be sorely missed if they were not operating on campus because no other groups really looked to improve the well-being of others like the Christian groups do. In response to this question of whether Christian presen ce adds anything to the campus, Sonya said, Yes. I would say so. F: How so? Sonya: Because the things that we do ar e positive and helpful to the student body, and I think it would be a very different campus were there not Christians here. F: How?
150 Sonya: I would think that it would just be less friendly, less warm, there would be less help, I guess. Like, there would be mo re of a sense of pointlessness and that they would only be striving for academics to gain more knowledge. F: So, you would say you guys, and when I say Â“you guysÂ” I mean Christians as a collective group, have brought a certain amount of meaningfulness to the campus? Sonya: Yes, because they have meaning, th e Christians, and they can bring it to others, and they can show them what matters and JesusÂ’ love. (4/12/06 INT.) To this question, Natanya added, I think it does. I think having Christian people on campus gives it more of an optimistic outlook. I donÂ’t think that Christ ians are generally happier or anything than most people, but we definitely have a more positive side to us because we know that everything is going to work out if you believe in what God does for you and stuff like that, so I think it just it makes it more of an optimistic community. F: Anything else you can thi nk of where Christians contribute to the campus in general. Natanya: I think maybe when they look for a job like (student) ambassadors and even maybe PAÂ’s, they look for more Ch ristian people because I think theyÂ’d rather have a Christian in there than lik e an atheist because they have a more positive view. IÂ’m not sure if that answers your question but I think that might have added. Christians generally have a better, a more community attitude. (4/14/06 INT.)
151 The students also mentioned the fact that Christian presence was positive because it encouraged all of the other Christians and provided a moral and sp iritual support network for evangelicals themselves. Dirk said, Every time I encounter a fellow believer it gives me a warm sense. During my senior year of high school I took a couple of classe s at Brookhaven and I was really overjoyed when I found out that one of my classmates was a Christian. So I do think that it has a really positive ex perience because weÂ’re all bonded through Christ so it is positive for me. F: So, for believers, itÂ’s encouraging to have other believers on campus that you know about? Dirk: Yes, very much so. (5/13/06 INT.) Christian presence also provi ded social opportunities for evangelicals and also for nonbelievers. The students also hypothesized th at the more students were converted to faith in Christ the more the overall morality of the school would improve. They also felt that improved morality would improve the overall academic achievement on the campus in that students coming to faith would be le ss willing to be involved in self-destructive behaviors that would negatively impact their academic success. For example, F: Does Christian student presence on campus add anything positive to the campus? Chelsea: I think so, yes. Well, I thin k it helps us, you know, because there are someÂ…. It helps to not be a big part y school and to have good students who do good in their classes.
152 F: Okay so, you would say the fact that there is a growing population of Christian students makes it less morally deficient a nd probably more academically focused or more dedication to academics? F: Yeah. (4/12/06 INT.) As seen above, the students perceived a re lationship between the Christian faith and academic success. There was also a sense that Christian presence provides an alternative to the majority philosophy. To the question of whether Chri stian presence added anything to the university David said, David: Yeah, I would say yeah because th ey give some grounds to other people who are more conservative. Otherwise, a ll the colleges would just be liberal grounds, and little [conservative] influences, like they donÂ’t have tons and tons of influence. (5/15/06 INT.) Without the Christian worldview presence, th ere was a general sense that everyone on campus would think so much alike that there wo uld be little to discuss. The students felt that having an alternative view point was a contribution to th e overall intellectual health of the university in that those who held to what the evangelicals perceived to be the majority worldview of the university had some thing to contrast themselves with. GertÂ’s response to the following question reflects this. F: Is it your perception that the univer sity values your Christian perspective on issues? Gert: Yes, but in an intellectual sense. Does that make sense? Like, IÂ’m valued for the discussion it created. F: To have somebody to oppose.
153 Gert: Yeah, to have somebody to disagree. F: Because if everybody agreed, if ever ybody was pro-abortion or pro-gay rights thereÂ’s nothing to talk about? Gert: Right, and everybody would be like, Â“Yea, yea, yea,Â” and that would be it. (4/25/06 INT.) Additionally, to this question of Christian value Susan added, Susan: Yeah, for sure. F: Why? Susan: Well, we are the only light on this campus. Like, you know, if it wasnÂ’t for the Christians here who were standing up for what is right, I mean everyone would be the same. It would be absolute ly boring and I would be miserable here. Um, something that is directly good for the campus itself, I canÂ’t really say, besides the social gatherings. But I mean spiritually, weÂ’re obvi ously the light in the darkness here. At least Campus Crusad e is. Baptist Student Ministry is really good. F: You said that you felt like the Chri stian students on campus made a social contribution to the value of this school? Susan: Yeah, I think FOCUS and Baptist St udent Ministry have the best social contribution but Campus Crusade obviously has the highest sp iritual contribution. And Baptist Student Ministry is r eally good too, socially and morally. F: When you say spiritually do you mean doctrinal soundness? Is that what you are referring to?
154 Susan: Yeah, yeah cause I mean stuff like FOCUS gets a lit tle too social and youÂ’ll just be talking with those peop le rather than opening the Word and discussing it and having personal you know advancement in your faith and in your knowledge about the Bible. I mean thereÂ’s an actual Bible Study, so. FOCUS I donÂ’t think ever has any, I mean they ha ve small groups or something like that, but I donÂ’t know, I donÂ’t know. F: In terms of the spiritual contribution and the id ea of you say light in the sense of a moral contribution [yes], is that what you are referring to when you say Christians are light [yes], you are talking about a se nse of morality? Susan: Yes, morality as well. Um, I m ean thereÂ’s just that feeling, you know. When you know, when you are around Christia ns. There is just that joy thatÂ’s there, and I donÂ’t know, itÂ’s just awesome. You canÂ’t really explain it. (4/13/06 INT.) As the excerpts above indicate, the partic ipants felt that Christians added value in a variety of ways. They believed that Christia ns added value by praying for the university and by praying specifically for the morality of believers and nonbe lievers. They believed that their presence also added value by improving the overall moral ethos, and they believed there was a relationship between an improved moral ethos (less self-destructive behaviors) and academic success. They saw themselves as meeting a variety of physical and spiritual needs on campus th at would likely go unmet were evangelicals not present. They perceived themselves to be a unique source of warmth, friendliness and optimism, and they believed these quali ties were beneficial to the entire university community (believers and nonbelievers). They perceived th at Christian presence helped reduce social
155 isolation by improving social oppo rtunities for all students. They also perceived that Christian students were filling valuable student leadership roles as RAs, student ambassadors, etc., and that this participation added value. Th e fact that they offered a philosophical alternative to naturalistic monism also added value by improving the overall intellectual divers ity of the university. Advice to freshmen Evangelicals. Concerning the issue of advice they would give to freshmen evangelicals, the advice that this group presented sounded like advice Tinto might have provided in that the advice was highly consistent with his model. Generally, the advice had two categories Â– social and academic. However, the stronger and more prominent theme was that social involvement wa s a key to survival as a freshman. Within the social category, the most prevalent em erging theme was to become involved with some evangelical group a campus ministry, a local church, or both. There was also a lesser theme that advocated looking for and socially integrating with the Christian community at large Â– integr ate with Christians wherev er you could find them. When asked why, the students indicated that the univer sity could be a very lonely place and that isolation would make for a less desirable college experience. Another theme emerging from this follow-up was the idea of moral suppo rt and the threat of falling away from the faith. The students believed th at through social integrati on with Christian groups the incoming evangelical freshman would be le ss likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors that might thwart his long te rm academic goals. Consider the following responses to the question rega rding advice to born-again Ch ristians that are incoming freshmen:
156 Susan: Okay, I would only make one point to them and I would stress it as much as I could. Get involved in a Christian, e xplore all the Christia n organizations that are on campus, and get involved in one and stay with it. Otherwise, your chances of falling away from the faith are so mu ch greater. So, I mean thereÂ’s different organizations that support di fferent things, just get i nvolved in one of them and stay with those people. F: And falling away from the faith, you s ee that as being something negative in what sense? Susan: Um, all senses. Falling away fr om the faith is bad mentally, for your mental health, youÂ’re, I mean you are goi ng to fall away, youÂ’re gonna do stupid things and that will hurt you emotionally, um, mentally, spiritually, like itÂ’s, itÂ’s degrading in all ways if you change your beliefs and star t different things that you donÂ’t really know about. F: Okay, any other, um, things, that youÂ’d tell a new, a Christian, coming next year, letÂ’s pretend [um, come to Campus Crusade, be my friend] letÂ’s pretend, okay youÂ’ll be able, if you come back ne xt year, youÂ’ll be able to potentially do this [yeah]. Ah, so you, can you envision yourself finding a freshman that is a Christian [uh hum] say in the first or second week, is there anything else you could tell them besides get invo lved in a Christian ministry? Susan: No, but itÂ’s so hard to find Christ ians here that if I did find a Christian freshman, I would latch on to them and want to be their best friend and like make sure that they had an outlet whenever anything happened, like it is huge change, you know. And I went through it alone, and I donÂ’t want anyone else to have to
157 go through that without having someone there. Just try and make sure that they have a church as well. ThereÂ’s so many churches around here. Just to get connected into some type of Christian mini stry is essential, th at too. Forgot that. (4/13/06 INT.) Similarly, Dirk: Obviously, be on guard against the uni versity setting. Watch for things that could weaken you. ItÂ’s good to identify your weaknesses and know how to avoid them. DonÂ’t put yourself in situations wh ere you will be tempted to fall, such as, the wrong party, the wrong group of people. Maintain reading the Word (the Bible) because itÂ’s the main thing, I mean I started r eading the Bible through in a year and itÂ’s amazing just being in the Word every day. ItÂ’s amazing how encouraging it is to have the Word in your mind every day. F: Just so I have it here: First, be on guard against the un iversity setting. Dirk: I mean the secular setting, not th e university setting. I mean the secular views that penetrate most universities. F: Okay, so be on guard against the secular views. DonÂ’t put yourself in situations where youÂ’ll be tempted. Be careful about th e friends you select and the last thing is to stay in the Scriptures? Dirk: Yeah. F: Anything else? Dirk: Nothing really. F: So you would say that fellowship w ith other believers on campus is not necessary?
158 Dirk: No, I think fellowship with other be lievers is very necessary. What came across that way? F: Well, because you didnÂ’t mention it. Dirk: Oh, IÂ’m sorry. I guess it just di dnÂ’t hit me. But yeah, I believe that fellowship with other Christ ians is very important. F: So would you say that getting into c ontact with campus mini stries would be a positive thing? Dirk: Yes, like I said earlier, just knowi ng that there are other Christians on campus is very encouraging. So being in a group like that w ould be essential. (5/13/06 INT.) Additionally, Ronald: To seek out Ch ristian organizations. F: Okay, why would you tell them to do that? Ronald: So that they could have a group of friends that were Christians to support them and stuff. F: If they didnÂ’t do thatÂ… I mean do you know anybody that said at the beginning of the year they were Christian and ye t didnÂ’t get involved in what you did. You got involved in FOCUS or Campus Crusade or BSM, or whatever. Do you know anybody like that? Ronald: Yeah, my roommate said he was a Christian, but he didnÂ’t get involved in anything. F: Yeah, and what happened to him. Did he have a good experience here? I meandoes he live like a Christian?
159 Ronald: No, I would say he didnÂ’t. F: He didnÂ’t have a good experience? Ronald: Yeah. F: Why do you say he didnÂ’ t have a good experience? Ronald: He was just like partying all the time and stuff. Never went to class or anything. F: Did he drop out? Ronald: Yeah. F: When did he drop out? Ronald: About a week after spring break. F: Why did heÂ… did he te ll you why he dropped out? Ronald: Well he hadnÂ’t gone to any of hi s classes so he was failing all of them, soÂ…(4/15/06 INT.) Leti added, Leti: Surround yourself with Christian peopl e, Christian friends, find a church. F: Anything else? Leti: Get involved with th e Christian activities. F: Anything else? Leti: But at the same time be open to th e people who are not Christians. I donÂ’t think that there is anything wrong with having non-Christian friends. In fact, I think itÂ’s really important. F: Important to whom? Leti: Both. (4/21/06 INT.)
160 To this question of advice to evange lical freshmen, Nancy replied rather comprehensively: Nancy: Get involved in a church or at least a Christian group and be consistent, because if you donÂ’t have that consistenc y your faith will not last very long. Well, I find for myself that I have to take a spiritual evaluation every now and then to see why IÂ’m doing the things IÂ’m doing, who IÂ’m doing them for and are good things coming from this. I donÂ’t know. IÂ’m trying to think of anything else. F: So you would you say thatÂ’s somethi ng that you would recommend, taking a spiritual evaluation as a, you mentioned getting involved so number two would probably be consider where you are spirit ually on an ongoing ba sis or on a regular basis? Nancy: Yeah, because I feel like in college thatÂ’s where your test is and youÂ’re either going to be a Christian or youÂ’re not and whatever, like, this is the time when youÂ’re away from your parents and so whatever you believe is gonna come out. And you need to define what that is and mainly ask yourself why do you believe what you believe because if you donÂ’t have any reasons people are gonna question it and you may not believe wh at you believe because you have no answers. Like there are a couple of books that I know that are good for that. F: What books would you recommend? Nancy: Probably Â“Why I BelieveÂ” by Ke nnedy. I think itÂ’s J. John Kennedy? F: Do you mean D. James Kennedy? Nancy: D. James, yeah, I had to add a J in there somewhere. And Â“The Case for ChristÂ” by Lee Strobel andÂ…
161 F: Â“More Than a Carpenter?Â” Nancy: I have it but I havenÂ’t read it all the way through. So, IÂ’m trying to recommend books that IÂ’ve read, and I remember positive things about them. F: So, youÂ’d recommend some of those reso urces to Christian students as well as part of your advice for that question? Nancy: Yes, and if they donÂ’t, at leas t until they find someone on campus or at their new church, get a ment or from their present chur ch. A mentor who, maybe an older Christian, a Â“caregiverÂ” or not, at my church we call them Â“caregiversÂ”, like a small group leader at church. Or a youth group leader or something, someone who will send them an e-mail ever y week or so or just keep updated, you know, Â“Have you found a church yet? Are you staying in the Word? Have you found a Christian group yet?Â” I donÂ’t know, I felt like, I donÂ’t know, I think that would have helped me. (4/21/06 INT.) Similarly, James said, James: Find a good group of believers and hook yourself into them. Be honest about your struggles. DonÂ’t try to hide anything because if you try to hide your shame and say that you can handle it yourse lf, thatÂ’s nothing but a lie from the devil. God has given us other fellow belie vers, not to carry our burdens for us but at times to pick us up when we stumble and fall and to pray for us. Things like that. ItÂ’s definitely important to have good Christian friends. IÂ’ve got a couple good Christian friends here on campus and because IÂ’m still going to my home church, I have a lot of good Christian fr iends there at my home church. (4/19/06 INT.)
162 Sonya said, Sonya: Get involved in a Christian gr oup. Uh, keep going to church, find a church body that you can get involved in and um, I would personally say come join the BSM or join FOCUS. Those ar e two of the groups I really see God working in. IÂ’d probably talk to them a little about, if they were living on campus, just that how to live with their roommates and how to respect them and invite them to things. If theyÂ’re ro ommates and theyÂ’re living on campus and they arenÂ’t Christians, try and get them i nvolved as well. I would just tell them stuff like that. (4/12/06 INT.) Gert had a lot of advice to give ev angelical freshmen in the following: That it is important to have that netw ork of Christian friends, I mean, for the accountability and for the support that brings you. F: When you say accountability, you mean in the sense of trying to live a life of godliness or trying to live a moral life? Is that what you are referring to? Gert: Yeah, and to walk with God andÂ… F: And then the other thing was the support? Gert: Yeah. F: And thatÂ’s emotional primarily? Gert: Yeah. F: Okay, so youÂ’ve got them going and gett ing a network of Christian friends. It could be formal in the sense of like Â“CruÂ” (Campus Crusade for Christ) or informal in the sense of find other believers? Gert: Yeah.
163 F: Anything else youÂ’d tell them? Gert: I donÂ’t know. I mean th at would be the most important thing, I would think. F: Why would you say thatÂ’s the most important? Gert: Because, you know, God says thatÂ’s one of our basic needs you know accountability and fellowship and (incompreh ensible) lots of times thatÂ’s what you need when youÂ’re getting away from your family. F: You say accountability and fellowship? Gert: Yeah. And those are th e people that are really going to be your closest friends. YouÂ’re really going to be able to share things honestly and be able to know that whatever they tell you and the advice that they give you is, you know, based in the Bible. And if you did have a problem with classes or did have a problem with talking with people, or you needed help with th at, if you had that Christian base, a group of strong Christian friends, then that would be something to support you in whatever you were havi ng or giving you advice about Christians and what you should say in the class or tell you if there is a teacher that you should really avoid orÂ…(4/25/06 INT.) Academic Integration WhatÂ’s happening in the classroom? The majority of the students expressed overall satisfaction with their classes. Severa l expressed some dissatisfaction in having to take prerequisite coursework. The majority of the students were satisfied with their grades in the first semester. Regard ing the question on how they were doing academically, most of the students provi ded first semester GPAs and provided predictions on their second semester GPAs. The GPA mean for semester one was a 3.27,
164 and the anticipated mean for semester two was a 3.34 (see data in Appendix G). Most of the students in this study were very successful academically during this freshman year of college and appeared to be academically in tegrated from an achievement standpoint. A few expressed some dissatisfaction at what they described as poor teaching. Some who were dissatisfied were primarily disappointed in themselves. The primary reason for not achieving at the level they expected had to do with the recognition that they did not understand how to manage time, and they lacked self discipline. Th e issue of poor time management consistently emerged throughout the interviews. Many of them expressed the notion that they needed to grow in terms of being able to manage their Â“freedomÂ” better. All of the students but one indicated that they were properly prepared for college coursework in the sense that they had been given the requisite academic foundation to be successful. However, they felt unprepared in the area of stud y skills and personal discipline. Over half of the pa rticipants expressed the idea that the freshman year was less academically challenging than they thought it would be. Natanya: I think I was very prepared coming here. I guess the classes are less challenging than I thought they would be, but itÂ’s more of a challenge for me motivation wise, umm, to stay on top of my school work since itÂ’s all me and not learning the material through homework assignments and quizzes and stuff. (3/22/06 INT.) Tre: It wasnÂ’t too hard. I felt well prepared. The one thing I did do was I wrote good papers. It was the tests that I really didnÂ’t study that much for and I felt like
165 I was really ready to write. It was less challenging than I t hought it was going to be; I just didnÂ’t study as much as I should have. (2.23/06 INT.) A couple of students indicated that they were overconfid ent because they felt that they had already covered much of what wa s being taught in their freshman classes while they were in high school. This overc onfidence gave them th e idea that they did not need to apply themselves. As they navigated their midterms, they realized that their overconfidence was unfounded. W ith only two grades for the semester (midterm and final) and a poor midterm gr ade, they recognized that they had a significant hurdle to overcome. When asked what the biggest surprises in the freshman experience were, one theme that emerged from this question was the notion that the professors were more unbiased than they had expected. James: In a good senseÂ…I think IÂ’ve already said this before, but I think one of the cool things to find out, is that a lot of the teacher s are not as quite as I had imagined them; I imagined the majority of the teachers in college to be, you know, trying to attack my Christian faith from every single direction. I said well, some of them fit that stereotype, a larg e portion of them donÂ’t. Just to see their open mindedness about certain thingsÂ…the wa y they view certain things is, at least on a discussion format, has been very interesting and pleasing. (4/19/06 INT.) The freedom of the college experience was seen as positive for a few participants. For example,
166 Susan: Well, I didnÂ’t really know what to expect. So when I got here just the ultimate freedom was probably the bigge st plus. I mean you really can do absolutely whatever you want. And that wa s awesome in some ways but in some ways itÂ’s really scary you know. But that was probably my favorite thing is you, if I donÂ’t want to hang out with certain people then I donÂ’t have to, you know. (4/13/06 INT.) Most of the students listed at least one professor that they would avoid in the future. The most often cited reason for a voidance had to do with poor pedagogy although this was expressed in different forms. For example, some students responded that they would avoid a professor because they did not Â“know how to teachÂ” (Sonya 4/12/06 INT). Another reason had to do with accent or some type of language deficiency. A third reason had to do with grading and testing that wa s inconsistent with what was covered or inconsistent with what the professor co mmunicated would be covered. Another theme had to do with the perception th at the professor had some type of perceived attitude or personality flaw. F: Did you have any professors this seme ster that you will avoid in the future? Ronald: Yeah. F: Can you tell me why? Ronald: Because they were the worst cal culus teacher and the worst chemistry teacher in the school. F: What made them poor teachers? Ronald: Well they just werenÂ’t very ent husiastic about the material. They didnÂ’t know it all that well. (4/15/06 INT.)
167 F: Did you have any professors this seme ster that you will avoid in the future? Kelsey: My Chemistry teacher was insa nely monotone. And we have Chemistry, in all Chemistry 1 has about 180 stud ents in each class. And itÂ’s a huge auditorium with a big light in the front and the rest of the lights go off and I admit I fell asleep in every class I went. And th en my Calculus professor was, when he was writing notes on the board he would lik e erase before he would like move it out in front of them. It was ju st a little frustrating because we were in class to take notes and he is like erasing them and we can Â’t see them and so I chose to pick the other professors and tr y again. (3/17/06 INT.) F: Did you have any professors this seme ster that you will avoid in the future? Leti: Well, my social statistics professo r, I just, heÂ’s Chinese, I guess and I couldnÂ’t really understand what he was sa ying and I felt, actu ally the class was mostly male and I just felt like, I tho ught that class was really hard and so whenever I went to him for help I just felt like he kind of looked, saw me as somebody, I mean I just felt like I was stupi d when he talked to me, but that wasÂ…(4/21/06 INT.) F: Did you have any professors this seme ster that you will avoid in the future? Nancy: Yes, because the particular prof essor, I did not enjoy their style and I didnÂ’t feel like even being in the class would help me on the test because what was discussed in class was never on the te st because it was based on the readings and based on, like there were more stories in class than facts that were gonna be on the test. I donÂ’t know if that makes sense, but just becauseÂ… F: What kind of class was this?
168 Nancy: For the Government class. F: So the professor would teach but none of the stuff that he taught in the lecture was on the test? Nancy: Well, he would explain political c oncepts or whatever but he would tell a lot of personal stories, which were intere sting but I would get frustrated because I would get lost in them. I would look at my notes and have nothing and try to figure out whatÂ’s the point of this story? And, I mean, IÂ’m sure other people were fine with it but just for me personally that that was not gonna work. (4/21/06 INT.) F: Did you have any professors this seme ster that you will avoid in the future? Natanya: There was one that I thought I w ould completely avoid and I did not like this teacher. She was my history teacher and I did, she was an honorÂ’s teacher also and I thought this lady c ould be so much better but I mean I had an A in the class it was just the way she taught, but th en so I entered honor s this semester and my teacher was just, I knew the class was going to be so difficult to make even a B in because she just seemed so strict and huge ten-page essays every three weeks, you know, so I actually dropped that class to go back to the teacher I had last semester and IÂ’m loving her. She t eaches better in a bigger classroom. We went from 20 to 60 and she teaches a lot better in the bi gger classroom. My government teacher I would avoid too. F: Back to the earlier one, what were the reasons for your initially wanting to avoid her?
169 Natanya: I just thought that her teaching was, I guess, not on a higher level, I guess, for being in an honorÂ’s class because like we would read the chapter before class and then she wouldnÂ’t add anything to it. She would just go over and so it was kind of monotonous and not exciting at all. I dreaded going to that class. F: Ok. And, you mentioned the govern ment teacher. What was theÂ… Natanya: He just seems very uncaring for each student. I, we have three tests in there and I was really con cerned about my grade and I went to ask him questions and stuff and he just seems distant, like, he didnÂ’t care to help me at all, like it was my problem that my grades werenÂ’ t high enough, not his, even though I did study a lot for his tests and I felt like I wa s doing all that I co uld. (3/22/06 INT.) F: Did you have any professors last seme ster that you will avoi d in the future? Leti: I guess I did have one, yeah. He wa s actually my government teacher. I just felt, it was a really big class, it was a l ecture, so it was about 250 people, and I just felt like he was really aggressive, like if you said the wrong thing or asked the wrong question he would kind of like, I donÂ’t know, I guess embarrass you in front of 250 people. And I was just kind of like I am never ever going to ask a question or raise my hand. F: What kind of a student, was there a ny, what issues would you be embarrassed about or what issues would irritate hi m to where he would embarrass a student? Leti: It just seemed like any kind of a, I guess because it was a government class there were a lot of political opinions, I guess that he had and it was kind of like you either agreed with him or he kind of you know, like if you expressed your
170 opinion he wouldnÂ’t be like, Â“Oh, thatÂ’s a good opinion,Â” he would be like argue with you and I donÂ’t know. F: How would you classify him? Would he be more on the conservative side or more on the liberal side? Leti: Liberal. F: Okay, and that was, so from a political standpoint he was irritating to you? Leti: No, he wasnÂ’t irritating to me, I mean I didnÂ’t agree with a lot of things he said. F: Okay, his demeanor was irritating? Leti: No, he wasnÂ’t irritating to me it was just I found him intimidating. F: Okay. I got you. Did he ever talk nega tively about conservative Christians, or anything like that? Leti: Yeah, I mean, he definitely wasnÂ’t a fan of Bush and I know, he doesnÂ’t directly say anything against conservativ e Christians, but he made his liberal viewpoints clear. (3/17/06 INT.) F: Did you have any professors this seme ster that you will avoid in the future? Dirk: I had one that I couldnÂ’t decide on. Um, I liked the way he taught. But, it was just kind of difficult because the way he taught didnÂ’t correlate with how he tested. But I very much liked how he lectured and what I learned. It was government class. LetÂ’s see, one, two... Well, all the rest of them, I enjoyed. F: So, you wouldnÂ’t avoid this professo r from a philosophical standpoint, youÂ’re just not in agreement with the way he tests? Dirk: Yeah, itÂ’s like, did we actua lly talk about this in class?
171 F: So itÂ’s more academic? Dirk: Yeah. Of course, I took a biolo gy class and my teacher was you know an evolutionist and he was just Â“millions of years agoÂ” and IÂ’m a creationist and I donÂ’t believe in millions of years. But I wouldnÂ’t avoid her because I know that whatever teacher I get at a school such as this is going to be that way. F: Okay, so youÂ’re not going to dodge a cl ass? I mean if you have to take biology youÂ’ll take it? Dirk: Yes, in fact, in my opinion, learni ng about that stuff makes it easier to know what I am arguing against if I ever have to say why I believe in creation. So why not take the information in so you can understand what they believe and what their information is? F: So, you see it as more of an opportun ity to kind of broaden your understanding of the world and see how other people think and by the same token be able to perhaps increase your ability to share what you believe? Dirk: Yes. (5/13/06 INT.) Besides the pedagogical issues cited a bove, there was a theme of avoiding professors because of their open hostility to a Christian worldview. Consider the following: F: Did you have any professors last seme ster that you will avoid in the future? Without mentioning their name(s), tell me about that. Dirk: Yeah. Obviously, for the grade reas ons, I wouldnÂ’t take chemistry again. I am actually taking biology this semester because I decided against chemistry because it wasnÂ’t a strong point for me. The professors were fine. There was one
172 professor who liked to give her opin ions without accepting any back and she would kind of break yours down, you know, she kind of, she wouldnÂ’t be afraid to do it in front of the class either and I know you hear all of those stories about the college professors who try to destroy your faith and things like that. Though they didnÂ’t destroy my faith, it proved to me that those stories are true and things like that do happen and that there are people out there like that, but I donÂ’t know that that would make me avoid her in the future. (2/18/06 INT.) Tre: Well, I didnÂ’t like my writing t eacher. She really has a misconstrued conception of Christianity. It seems like she really seemed bitter towards it. I donÂ’t mind that there are no Christian teachers, and I donÂ’t want to come across that way but she said she was a Â“cafeteria Catholic.Â” She said she picks and chooses what she believes in. SheÂ’s rea lly into supporting gays and she hates Bush. I mean a lot of people do, but she also takes some of the things that Jesus said and really twists it around. And of course, itÂ’s easy to point out that well Christians are divided and she really based it on those you know and she really based it on a few bad ones. Someone pointed out that there are poor representatives in every religion. I wouldnÂ’ t label Christianity a religion, but that is what she calls it. Every religion has pe ople that are faithful to their religion and every religion has those that are half-hear ted followers. So, itÂ’s easy to attack Christianity that way. F: Do you mean by pointing to the Christia ns that fail? Was it the argument that Christianity is bad because th ere are a few bad Christians? Tre: Yeah. (4/25/06 INT.)
173 F: Okay, okay, did you have any professors last semester that you will avoid in the future? Susan: Oh yes. There is actually a core course in film and there was about 160 to 200 people in there. And, she was very liberal, very rude. She would bash Christians in her course and Republicans, out right, and that was very offensive to me. She basically didnÂ’t car e about anyone individually because she had a big class, you know. F: And you say she would bash Christians because of what they believe in or prominent Christians like George Bush? Susan: She wouldnÂ’t like sit and rant a nd rave about it, but she would like make comments that were, and that she w ould, you know people would laugh and she would move on and say, Â“You know I donÂ’t want to hurt anyone.Â” But it was obvious that she did because she just said that. It was more prominent Christians, not any one specific, just beliefs in gene ral. And things like creationism, and it would be completely unrelated she woul d go out of her way to say things that were rude and just unnecessary. F: Among your Christian friends, (without mentioning professors by name) are there any professors that they discuss as being oneÂ’s to avoid? What reasons did they give for avoiding pa rticular professors? Susan: Christian friends telling me to avoid professors? F: Or just talking about professors to avoid, Christian friends. You know, in any of your meetings or any of your conversati ons with other believers at this school who would share, or might share abou t you know, Â“Man, I canÂ’t stand...Â” Did you
174 tell anybody about the film class, for example? [yes, I did]. Okay, in reverse, someone telling you about a teach er that you wouldnÂ’t, you know? Susan: No one actually came up to me and told me something about that. However, this semester I originally si gned up with my friend, Bri, and we were taking a rhetoric course and I forgot th is ladyÂ’s name. But she was five times worse that my film professor. And like she basically sat the entire first class and just bashed Christianity. And she out right said that the Bible was false and faulty and had errors in it. And I dropped the cla ss the first day. I went right after class and dropped it. My friend really likes courses like that, and she lasted a few weeks before she dropped as well because it was too offensive. We could have got a better professor and so I have a be tter professor now and actually the class I just came from and I love it, so. F: So you are taking rhetoric with so meone else [yes] okay, you just, you did a drop-add? Susan: Basically, I actually went to my advisor, and, because they were already almost all taken and so I got just what was left. And my professor now, is very much against any abuse against any religion in the classroom and she (the rhetoric teacher) is obviously agains t Christianity. But I have written essays, like for example my first essay was pro-life and sh e really didnÂ’t want me to write it, and IÂ… F: How come she didnÂ’t want you to write it? Susan: Because she, like we had proposal s before, like we had to ask [oh, okay] and she was not willing to allow me to wr ite it. And I basically had to argue for
175 fifteen minutes and I had to promise her I would not say anything about God and I would not blend, bring religion into it in or der to be allowed to write it. So I did, I did base it all on fact. But, for example li ke, I was just arguing with like two guys from the rhetoric class and we were ju st having a debate over creationism and evolution. And she made us leave the cl assroom. We couldnÂ’t even speak about that. (3/20/06 INT.) Although this topic of avoiding professo rs was discussed among Christians, the main reasons for avoidance were primarily pedagogical. For example, F: Among your Christian friends, (without mentioning professors by name) are there any professors that they discuss as being oneÂ’s to avoid? What reasons did they give for avoiding pa rticular professors? Nancy: Mainly itÂ’s because theyÂ’re hard to understand or their teaching style is not usually helpful to the student. They usually recommend teachers who, especially math teachers that give good analogies and examples, write clear notes on the board, uh, are helpful to the students. ItÂ’s generally just how to help you succeed in college and the kind of proof theyÂ’ll give you. F: Okay, so your friends, mostly their comp laint about professors has to do with their being difficult to understand from th e English standpoint, like they have an accent or that they simply donÂ’t teac h well, theyÂ’re not good teachers? Nancy: TheyÂ’reÂ…okayÂ…or even being an academic communicator maybe sometimes. Cause, they may be speaking English, perfect Eng lish, or like, theyÂ’re just not communicating well with the st udents. And I donÂ’ t know if they donÂ’t have good teaching techniques, but just not communication. I donÂ’t know. ThatÂ’s
176 mainly. IÂ’m trying to think of any othe r instances where I would avoid someone. (3/14/06 INT.) F: Among your Christian friends, (without mentioning professors by name) are there any professors that they discuss as being oneÂ’s to avoid? What reasons did they give for avoiding pa rticular professors? Sonya: Well, the only reason they would say was because the teacher would not teach as clearly and that they donÂ’t expl ain things and that they donÂ’t give enough information or that theyÂ’re unclear about what exactly the responsibilities are in that class. And so, you feel unprepared for the test. ItÂ’s really just their teaching capability itÂ’s not on a spirit ual level. (3/17/06 INT.) F: Among your Christian friends, (without mentioning professors by name) are there any professors that they discuss as being oneÂ’s to avoid? What reasons did they give for avoiding pa rticular professors? Victor: No, not for religious reasons but mo re things like heÂ’s hard to understand or gradingÂ… F: So they would avoid them for academic reasons? Victor: Yeah. (3/23/06 INT.) However, there were discussions among Ch ristian students about professors that seemed hostile to the Christian worldview. Th ere was also a lesser thread of students who indicated that their Christian friends would a void a teacher purely because of worldview. F: Were there any professors who sto od out as being sort of, hostile towards Christianity and student s talking about that?
177 Nancy: IÂ’ve heard a little b it about it, but I havenÂ’t come in contact with those professors and I donÂ’t know if I will because of my course plan. But, IÂ’ve heard of some professors not as friendly towards that or who are openly against it. And so, yeah, IÂ’ve heard that. F: YouÂ’ve heard that fr om Christian students? Nancy: Yes. F: Do you recall the subjects? Nancy: I want to say one is history and maybe a writing class a rhetoric class is what they call it here. (3/14/06 INT.) F: Among your Christian friends, (without mentioning professors by name) are there any professors that they discuss as being oneÂ’s to avoid? And if so why? Kelsey: There is one humanities teacher that they told me to be sure not to get. She makes the class (read segments) of the Exodus story and then makes it very clear that it is fiction and that doesnÂ’t always fly over so well. I am a biology major and so I have to take evolution cl asses, and of course it is going to be interesting for me but I hold on to, well itÂ’s my major, I have to. F: So back to this Humanities teacher, th e reason that they gave for avoiding this teacher was basically because she was undermining scripture? Kelsey: Yeah. F: Or like trying to? Kelsey: Trying to make it a story rather than the contents of real events. F: Did they say that there was any mocker y or anything like th at or was it done in a way that wasÂ…
178 Kelsey: She said, they said that she was really respectful. F: She was respectful? Kelsey: Yeah. ItÂ’s just really hard to write a paper about the Bible being fiction. It makes it hard for the (Christi an) students. (3/17/06 INT.) These students were primarily taking prer equisites so they felt they had little choice about avoiding specific classes. Howeve r, my perception is that the majority would not avoid a course for worldview reas ons. Several students expressed confidence in their worldview and felt that there was not hing that the university could present to them that would change their faith. For example, F: Were there specific course s that you or your Christia n friends deliberately tried to avoid? For example, would you be comfortable taking a zoology or a biology course? Nancy: I was kind of hesitant to take the humanities because I know itÂ’s the study of literature but we like, today actually, talked about creation vs. evolution and so uh, I havenÂ’t had to take any science classe s yet. IÂ’ve mainly been following my course schedule and getting the requirements out of th e way. So, not necessarily, IÂ’ve just been worried about getting credits as far as what classes I need to take. F: So, at this point you havenÂ’t really you havenÂ’t started you know, thought that oh, I should shy away from that clas s from a spiritual standpoint. Nancy: Yeah, but even then IÂ’m not t oo worried about taking them honestly because I feel like I could take the class, learn what they want me to learn for the test, and still not believe it and disagree. You know what I mean? IÂ’d be like, well, this is what is on the test, and I just donÂ’t agree.
179 F: So you have a certain amount, you, I gue ss what youÂ’re, help me out here; what youÂ’re communicating is that you ha ve confidence in your beliefs? Nancy: Yes. (4/21/06 INT.) Similarly, F: Were there specific course s that you or your Christia n friends deliberately tried to avoid? For example, would you be comfortable taking zoology or a biology course? Tami: Sometimes I am worried about that, but um, right now in my requirements I havenÂ’t had to take a zoology course or a biology course or ethics or a course that would have, that would kind of question my faith. But that is something that I do consider when I take courses sometimes, but I wouldnÂ’t let it stop me from taking the course. F: Why wouldnÂ’t you let it stop you? Tami: Because I know the truth about how God created the world, and I know that it is just a theory. I guess other people te nd to believe what they want to believe. (3/18/06 INT.) Kelsey expressed her concerns and notions on the possibly of avoiding her evolution requirement. Kelsey: Yeah. Evolution is the biggest cl ass that I am not really looking forward to. I have a lot of trouble studying it because I personally donÂ’t believe in natural evolution. So itÂ’s hard for me like to sit down and study. There is a class on campus but it is evolution versus creatio nism and two days a week. One day a week a professor who believes in evolu tion will come in and speak on evolution
180 and then the next day a professor who believes creationism will come in and speak on creationism. I really I am hoping that that will count as my evolution credit cause I think that will be neat to ta ke and hear both sides of it back to back like that but I donÂ’t thin k it does. (3/17/06 INT.) Additionally, with eigh t students of twenty in the st udy coming from public high schools (see Appendix G), this particular group of ei ght students felt confident because they felt they had already been in an environment which they perceived to be hostile to their belief system. Since they were used to functioning successfully in that kind of environment, they were less uncomfortable ov er the challenges or potential ch allenges to faith that they might face. For example, when asked whether he felt challenged in his faith this year, Herman replied, Herman: No, the biggest tran sition as far as my faith was concerned was going from a Christian middle school to a pub lic high school, and that was like five years ago. I adjusted to that, and now I know that there are di fferent viewpoints, people are more devout than others, and so, in college it wasnÂ’t a big deal. F: And so you had some challenges; th ey just happened earlier in life. Herman: Yeah, exactly. (3/18/06 INT.) Students from homeschools and Christian sc hools were generally more uncomfortable from a worldview standpoint. The one stude nt who became alienated and disenrolled from UTA was a homeschool student. No participants expressed the idea th at there were favored teachers among Christian students because they were proChristian or because they were not anti-
181 Christian. Favored or disfavored teachers were primarily favored for pedagogical reasons. Dirk: Never anything from an evangelical standpoint. I never really got anything like this person who teaches hist ory is great and is an evange lical. I never really got any of that. None of the sophomores I knew we re evangelicals from what I could tell and sophomores are the ones who have had more teac hers but mainly it was because it had to do with an easy grader, or teaches the subj ect well, or his under standing would help a student along the way. (2/18/06 INT.) F: Are there certain professors that ar e favored or more hi ghly regarded by your Christian group? Herman: Not, there are professors that ar e favored, but not just by the Christians, you knowÂ…it could be, let me see, likeÂ… F: Amongst the ChristiansÂ… Herman: No, not any different from non-Ch ristians. You know, like my calculus class, everybody wanted this one professor because he taught better, but it wasnÂ’t any different between Christians and non-Christians. (3/18/06 INT.) F: Are there certain professors that ar e favored or more hi ghly regarded by your Christian group? Susan: Actually, I do not know of any Ch ristian believers who are professors on campus. I would go out of my way to take a course that was unrelated from a Christian professor just so I could learn fr om him. However, I have never heard of any professor here being a believer or be ing favorable to Christians or anything like that. The only people we talk about ar e people who are easy. (3/20/06 INT.)
182 F: Are there certain professors that ar e favored or more hi ghly regarded by your Christian group? There are, but I donÂ’t know that it has a nything to do with being Christian. I think, umm, more interesting classe s, upper level classes that they think I would enjoy for having a major that is biology, so, umm, and I guess teachers that would help you get a good grade and care. (3/22/06 INT.) However, there was a thematic expression of favoring professors that the students perceived to be seeking neutrality or w ho seemed to be unbiased philosophically or politically. F: Are there certain professors that ar e favored or more hi ghly regarded by your Christian group? Explain? Nancy: Like in what ways, like, IÂ’d totally recommend them to you orÂ… F: Yes, yeah and why would they do th at? What reasons, if they have made recommendations or they feel very strongly and positively towards these professors, why do they feel that way? Nancy: IÂ’m not really sure IÂ’ve come across it where people have recommended professors except based on teaching style and how easy they are to approach or how easy or hard it is to succeed in the class. IÂ’ve been thinking about my professors this semester and what else theyÂ’ve brought up and like, my humanities professor is very good about like, he is personally, an atheis t, I believe, but he is very good about being fair and presenting just the facts and not preaching to everyone, not ridiculing anyone but presen ting just the facts. I know he doesnÂ’t agree with Christianity, and he may talk and I can tell that thatÂ’s the atheist
183 talking in him, but I donÂ’t feel personally ridiculed in that case. And so, I would recommend him based upon the fact that he may not agree with you, but heÂ’ll give you a chance to talk. He wonÂ’t ridicule you, and heÂ’ll make sure that no one else will. F: Oh, thatÂ’s good. Nancy: He fosters a sense of a discussi on only not cutting down other people. And so, I was very impressed with our discussion toda y on evolution. F: So you donÂ’t feel like in that discussi on that your viewpoint was ridiculed in any way. Nancy: No, and I stayed away from pers onal beliefs cause I felt like I wasnÂ’t really sure if my evidence was valid b ecause of my source, but we also didnÂ’t have a whole lot of time and I wanted to respect everyone else. And the question was mainly should intellige nt design be taught alongsid e evolution, why or why not? We were all in conclusion that it pretty much should be, but maybe not in science class. The genera l consensus was that there should be a required world religion class, or something to that exte nt. There were other people who wanted like, there were some people who you coul d tell were a Christian, but they were really like, pushing their beliefs. Like I donÂ’t, you canÂ’t push your beliefs on anyone; it doesnÂ’t work that way. You can present your idea, but everyone has to make their own decision ultimately. So, I was really upset during the discussion because I was like, Â“let other people tal k.Â” And there were sometimes where I just wanted to raise my hand and sa y something but I had to wait. F: Yeah. IÂ’ve been in classes like that. ItÂ’s hard.
184 Nancy: Yeah. But itÂ’s the only class where so many people talk because it touches so many hot buttons. (3/14/06 INT.) Tre expressed a similar notion of favori ng professors who stood for neutrality. F: Among your Christian friends, (without mentioning professors by name) are there any professors that they discuss as being oneÂ’s to avoid? What reasons did they give for avoiding pa rticular professors? Tre: Yes, well one person has a really big name so IÂ’m not going to say it. F: What reasons did they give? Tre: That person and just other teachers, itÂ’s not good having teachers that try to slam your faith. I donÂ’t mind so much becau se no oneÂ’s going to change my mind, but itÂ’s not the best learni ng environment but if youÂ’re not going to be a Christian then thatÂ’s cool. It doesnÂ’t really bother me if they are not a Christian, I would just prefer if they werenÂ’t ho stile or if they could be as unbiased as possible. F: ThatÂ’s what you like? Tre: Well, I would prefer a Christian teach er but if not, my English teacher was a good example of someone thatÂ’s not a Chri stian and yet understands the principles of all of them and she doesnÂ’t you knowÂ… F: So she gave a fair treatment of religions? Tre: Yes, thatÂ’s a good way to say it. (2/23/06 INT.) The data from this section revealed th at the majority of the students perceived themselves to have been well prepar ed academically although there was a group expression of unpreparedness in the areas of st udy skills, time management, and personal discipline. A few participants expressed being positively surprised by the worldview
185 neutrality of some professors and also by the coursework being less rigorous than they had anticipated. The data in this section also revealed that avoidance of professors by the participants and by their netw ork of Christian friends was primarily related to poor pedagogy. Secondarily, there was a theme of avoi ding professors for their hostility to the Christian worldview, and there was evid ence of discussion among other university evangelicals about avoiding professors who were hostile towards the Christian worldview. The data revealed that most par ticipants would not avoid coursework known to be hostile towards a Christian worldvi ew, and the reason that emerged was the studentsÂ’ expressions of conf idence in their own worldview. The data showed that there were no professors favored because they were known to be evangelicals or because they were perceived to be pro-Christian. Howeve r, professors were favored for pedagogical reasons and favored if they were known to manifest political, re ligious or worldview neutrality in their classrooms. The challenges to faith. To the question of classroom challenges to their faith, the majority of participants responded that ther e were no challenges to their faith in the classroom. Conversely, there we re some students who indicated that they had faced challenges to their faith in the classroom. However, the challenges were not significant enough that any of them would consider aba ndoning their faith or withdrawing from the university. The challenges primarily came fr om prerequisite courses in humanities, history and rhetoric where st udent discussion was part of the class structure. A few students expressed some surprise and relief that there was far less academic hostility to their faith than they had expected. The fo llowing excerpts deal with the issue of challenges to faith:
186 F: Was there anything that stood out in your classes from this semester that challenged your faith? Tami: Some, not very much but a little bit in my philosophy class weÂ’ve been reading some psychology, and I, I remember saying this last time, I donÂ’t really like agree with what I learn in there. F: What is it, can you give me an exam ple of what youÂ’ve read that kind of disturbs you? Tami: ItÂ’s a lot about myths and some of them talk about many different gods. Like in ancient times they had differe nt Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, I guess. I just think it really distorts, and it talks about really weird th ings, like itÂ’ll talk about races with gian ts and theyÂ’ll talk about how people are reborn, like reincarnated, I guess. I donÂ’t like read ing about that stuff. (4/12/06 INT.) F: Was there anything that stood out in your classes from this semester that challenged your faith? David: Prehistoric history. They just t each everything as fact and IÂ’m still going through that. And itÂ’s just like you have to take it with faith as the evidence of the unseen. I finally came to the point that, Sata n is going to try to trick us and heÂ’s done a very good job with all of this evid ence supposedly they have to come in every day and teach us fact and even ten years ago they did research and itÂ’s like after 5000 years do your accuracy be within that range? That would be like 50%. Then after another 1000 years, this is my estimate, but after you go back another 10,000 years it goes up by 100%. If you go back 20,000, it goes up by a scale of like 200%, but then they donÂ’t say that. They just teach this as fact and IÂ’m sure
187 they say that thereÂ’s been improvement, but you just have to take it by faith as the evidence of things unseen, and I finally ha d to just fall on th at truth, and IÂ’ve struggled. IÂ’ve had to fall on that truth every week, or every time, because without faith, the idea of faith it, I love to prove stuff and thatÂ’s what I struggle with, so I finally had to say faith is, you canÂ’t prove faith because thatÂ’s what it is. If you prove faith, itÂ’s not part of the scientific law, you canÂ’t prove and thatÂ’s the problem that I struggle with the most because I love proving things. And having to struggle with that I fi nally had to say, Â“Ok, I really donÂ’t give two cents about what you say. I know what I believe, a nd I know itÂ’s right.Â” (5/15/06 INT.) F: Was there anything that stood out in your classes from this semester that challenged your faith? Nancy: Mainly, the only ones I can rea lly think of that would, would ever, challenge my faith would be in the arts and humanities sections. Like, math wasnÂ’t really gonna challenge my faith, except, Â“Why donÂ’t I ge t this?Â” But um, the humanities classes we talk about all kinds of things lik e evolution and ah, certain theories that like, Plato and Aristotle had, uh, Freud and Wilson, just different theories that peopl e have about all kinds of th ings that got us to think about it or if you disagree, why do you disagr ee with it? And that caused me to look into your worldview and where youÂ’re coming from and what your religious beliefs are. And for history itÂ’s, uh, ma inly it would probably challenge my faith in the sense of IÂ’ve seen how Christians are portrayed in history and how certain actions have quoted the faith of Christian ity or, and help the story not to be the
188 same way. Uh, we can make a differen ce but at the same time if youÂ’re not careful you can make a difference in the wrong way. F: So, are you referring to things lik e the Crusades; is that what you mean? Nancy: Yes. We didnÂ’t specifically talk about the Crusades, we were just looking at some history. We talked about the Ci vil War and post Civil War. And the pre Civil War it would beÂ… F: Christian slave owners? Nancy: Yes, religious, religion passed down into slavery a nd (Bible) verses backing that and people who claimed to be Christians owning slaves and fighting. I donÂ’t, it just kind of blows my mind. And then, pos t Civil War I just think that, even from what like, non-Christian peopl e who claim to be Christians would say or um, make comments about Christianit y, like Presidents, just comments about appealing to the sense of morality of the American people but not following through with it. Just, moral things always come into play in history and peopleÂ’s moral decisions and how they affect everyone else. (4/21/06 INT.) F: Was there anything that stood out in your classes from this semester that challenged your faith? Susan: Oh yeah, um, my rhetoric class was very, very challenging because every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, people w ould, you see what it was, I was, I would talk to these guys in rhetoric cla ss and she would kick us out of the room. Like, after class, and so like we would go and like sit and just talk for hours and debate religion. And every next class peri od these guys that I debated would come back with something else to try and stump me and try a nd get me to lose my faith
189 or tell them that they were right. And I would have to prep are a rebuttal every single time and it got really annoying becau se the guys were hard-hearted and, you know, they were not going to give in. Th ey just wanted me to. So that was particularly challenging to my faith and so me of the things that they said, they would push me a little bit. And that was disturbing. F: Like what? You said push, like where you started to question what you believe? Susan: Um not so much. Yeah, pretty much, um, I donÂ’t know. It wasnÂ’t anything specific, but just how I can be, how can I really believe like I am correct when only a small percentage of people actual ly believe what, what we believe. You know, and like why does everyone else? And itÂ’s, I donÂ’t know. It wasnÂ’t really a big deal at all. Because, I would, I can answer those quest ions for myself or go to the Bible and have them answered. But, it was just, itÂ’s really sad sometimes. F: Sad in the sense of what? Why, why do you say it is sad? Susan: Because I mean I can see the tr uth and I know, I know I know that the truth is the truth. And I s ee all these people around me and they are like, Â“WhatÂ’s the truth?Â” And IÂ’m like, Â“Here,Â” and I te ll them what the truth is. And they say, Â“No, thatÂ’s not the truth. YouÂ’re stupi d.Â” You know, and itÂ’s, thatÂ’s how, and it really makes me sad. Because IÂ’ve been ta lking to this one guy in particular, named Byron, and I basically told him ab solutely everything that I can. And I have refuted everything he has said. And he has run out of ammunition to attack me with. And he knows that Christianity in every sens e is the logical way to go, even scientifically. And he just wants to stay with his sins. And, and it makes me
190 sad that he would live his entire life lik e that even though he knows, like he is a very intelligent guy, and I think he is goi ng to, somethingÂ’s going to happen and if he doesnÂ’t repent himself, heÂ’s going to you know, like the end times are going to come or something and he is going to be like, Â“Oh Susan said that, too bad I didnÂ’t actually listen to herÂ” And IÂ’ll be like, Â“Great okay.Â” You know, it is kind of depressing. (4/13/06 INT.) Susan also felt that the challenges she ha d faced had actually strengthened her faith. F: So, in a sense the challenges that you f aced to your faith have made your faith stronger? Susan: Yes. F: So, therefore in a sense the college experience isÂ… Susan: Beneficial, I guess. F: Beneficial? Susan: Yeah, although, but I think that itÂ’s trying to be negative. Like, yeah obviously. ItÂ’s hard to say that be cause you canÂ’t like pin-down anything, you know. If you see an attitude and you unde rstand something you can feel it. You know for the most part. (3/20/06 INT.) Although some students expressed that they had experienced ch allenges to their faith during their freshman year, no partic ipant indicated that they had reached a threshold or crisis point wh ere they might consider aba ndoning their faith. Neither did any participant express anythi ng about their faith challenges being significant enough to generate thoughts or language of withdrawal. SusanÂ’s indicati on that her faith challenges
191 actually made her faith stronger is consiste nt with the data from a later section on spiritual growth. They donÂ’t like our ideas. Regarding the question of whet her or not the university values evangelical perspectiv es, the studentsÂ’ overall per ception was that the university does not value evangelical perspectives on issues. For example, F: Is it your perception that the univer sity values your Christian perspective on issues? David: No. F: Why do you say that? David: They donÂ’t listen to me. They belie ve that their perspective is the only right one, and that weÂ’re cl ose-minded, right-wing bigots. F: YouÂ’ve heard them say that? David: No, but thatÂ’s what comes out through their actions and I donÂ’t know, whatÂ’s the hard thing is I donÂ’t know how much faculty decides to change lectures, but with students, thatÂ’s what it seems like a lot. (5/15/06 INT.) F: Is it your perception that the univer sity values the pres ence of Christian students on this campus? Sonya: No, I think they assume that that opi nion is there and that itÂ’s always been there and itÂ’s not important and thatÂ’s not scientific, and the school is a very logical school. So, I think that they respect that opini on is there but they donÂ’t, like, they wouldnÂ’t use it as a just ification or basis for any issue. F: So the Christian view is irrelevant. Sonya: Kind of, yeah. (4/12/06 INT.)
192 F: Is it your perception that the university va lues your evangelic al perspective on issues? Explain. Susan: I donÂ’t know about the university in general but IÂ’d say for the most part no. Because Christianity, in its essence, says that some things are wrong, like you know, for example, gay marriage and stuff like that, or not necessarily gay marriage but any type of sexual immoral ity and people donÂ’t want to hear that. We debated once in rhetoric and people would get so mad. Because, I mean they asked for my opinions just so they coul d shoot me down. In rhetoric, they, my teacher would call me out and ask me what my opinion was specifically on certain issues. And I would always tell her, and people just t hought it was interesting to basicallyÂ…we have a freak in the crow d and you never knew what she was going to say. You know, push a different button and see what she does basically, because sheÂ’s a Christian. (4/13/06 INT.) Conversely, Gert asserts her perception that the university only values the Christian perspective because it provides a contrasting view that is useful in generating discussions. F: Is it your perception that the univer sity values your Christian perspective on issues? Gert: Yes, but in an intellectual sense. Does that make sense? Like, IÂ’m valued for the discussion it created. F: To have somebody to oppose. Gert: Yeah, to have somebody to disagree. F: Because if everybody agreed, if ever ybody was pro-abortion or pro-gay rights thereÂ’s nothing to talk about?
193 Gert: Right, and everybody would be like, Â“Yea, yea, yea,Â” and that would be it. (4/25/06 INT.) They tolerate us. When asked about whether they had shared their evangelical perspectives on campus and how well they were received, the majority of students indicated that they had shared evangelical perspectives on cam pus and most of the reactions were mixed but for the most part the interactions could be de scribed as tolerant. F: Have you shared any of your evangelic al perspectives on campus? How were they received? Please be specific. Nancy: I was received well. I was ju st asking people about their religious background and what they believe. There have been three instances that IÂ’m thinking of off the top of my head. F: Three instances this semester? Nancy: Or just recently. F: Oh, wow. Nancy: Well, the guy that walked me over here, I just started talking, well, he made some religious comment and I was like, Â“Oh,Â” well, you know, he just made some comment about going to heaven. And I was like, Â“Oh, are you sure?Â” You know, I just asked why he knows heÂ’s going to heaven. And, cause he, I invited him, whatÂ’d I say? I dunno, some comme nt in the past week inviting him to church or something because he doesnÂ’t go to church. And so, I just asked him about it and we were talk ing about it when we walked up. So it was like, I was asking him what he looks for in a church because he said he has a religious background and he, it sounds like heÂ’s a Chri stian but he doesnÂ’t go to church.
194 So, I was just, that was one. There was an incident; the other two instances were close friends. I donÂ’t really know him as well but the other two instances were closer friends who IÂ’d talked to about spir itual things maybe a little bit, weÂ’d get into discussions, but never like these two times. Like, one, like I actually got to share the whole Gospel with this one guy. And he lis tened to me through the whole thing but he, thatÂ’s not stuff heÂ’s ready for right now. HeÂ’s really been burned by religion and people who have done th ings to him in the name of God. That was kind of burdening to hear that heÂ’s been so hurt by someone who was probably not a Christian. And, the other pers on came to church with me on Easter and they attended the church service with me and then I didnÂ’t see them until that evening. And we were just hanging out and randomly something that my pastor had said in the church service came up in the conversation and through that, because they were offended, said someone was going to hell for not believing in the resurrection, that thatÂ’s what Christia nity hinged on. And so through that I got to read the resurrection story and the cr ucifixion story out loud and heÂ’d never read it before or heard it before. So, it was really exciting and he had a whole lot of questions and he was also not ready to take that ste p. But he was, I would say heÂ’s searching, but just, heÂ’s been burn ed by religion too. I donÂ’t know, itÂ’s not hard to find people whoÂ’ve been burned by people who say theyÂ’re Christians or religion in general. (4/21/06 INT.) F: I am interested in hearing about your religious experience over the past several months. Have you shared any of your ev angelical perspectives on campus? How were they received?
195 Herman: IÂ’ve mentioned to people, I mean, they ask, you know, Â“Oh, do you go to church?Â” or Â“What do you do?Â” you know, and so I just said, Â“Oh, I go to a Baptist church down the street,Â” and so th ey, especially ones w ho arenÂ’t religious at all, they might be a little curious about it, but like itÂ’s mos tly the people that I live with that I know a little better, that I sh are that with. So I havenÂ’t gotten really in-depth; my biblical knowledge is not the best in the world, so you know I donÂ’t go really in depth about it. I just kind of briefly mention it, if they ask. (4/14/06 INT.) SusanÂ’s response is most repr esentative of those students who felt like their religious perspectives were not well received. F: I am interested in hearing about your religious experience over the past several months. Have you shared any of your ev angelical perspectives on campus? How were they received? Please be specific. Susan: Well, IÂ’ve shared way too many of my Christian perspec tives. Like I said in the rhetoric class, we would argue with all kinds of people but there were mainly four guys who made up our group. I would share my perspective with them always. And they were almost all refuting with the same thing. Sometimes they were with interests because people donÂ’t really know you, exactly what it is that Christians believe but sometimes they were interested. But they would mostly be like a tolerance, IÂ’m waiting for you to finish talking, you know, because they werenÂ’t really listening. I w ould give a Gospel presenta tion or something and they would just kind of like, you know, sit there and wait for me to shut up.
196 F: Okay, so basically your feelings to ward how you were received were generally not positive, is that safe to say? Susan: Yeah, it is safe to say that for sure. F: Nobody ever said, Â“Yes you ar e right, sign me up for BSM?Â” Susan: No, of course not. I did talk to an Islamic guy once and he was, he was positive about it. And then he was like, Â“Y es, we share the same God.Â” And I was like, Â“No we donÂ’tÂ”. He was like, Â“Yeah, I understand most of the things you say because I think Islam was pretty much base d off of Christianity because it was so successful.Â” But that was the only near pos itive response that I received. (4/13/06 INT.) To the question of whether they had heard others share their spiritual beliefs and the reception they received, the followi ng response is most representative: F: Have you heard anyone else share thei r spiritual beliefs on campus? How were they received? Herman: Yeah, occasionally. I think that theyÂ’re accepted, you know, I think that people are willing to hear them out at l east. Not all the time will they accept what they believe, you know, the other person, but theyÂ’re willing to hear them out. (4/14/06 INT.) On the question regarding th eir level of comfort in sh aring religious beliefs in classroom settings, the students were least co mfortable sharing religious beliefs in the classroom although several indicate d that they had shared their religious views in spite of their discomfort.
197 F: Do you feel comfortable sharing your religious beliefs/perspectives in a classroom discussion? Can you recount a particular instance when you have done that? Nancy: I feel comfortable if itÂ’s relevant to class discussion because I believe that weÂ’ve paid to come to class to learn cer tain things and if weÂ’re talking about Calculus and thereÂ’s really no, I mean, if itÂ’s not a place for the classroom in a way, butÂ… F: Assuming itÂ’s a class where it does come into play, where there is some kind of moral issue or some kind of a cosmologi cal issue or, you know just something like that. Nancy: If itÂ’s relevant, I would feel comfortable saying something or at least questioning what everyone else was sayi ng. If everyone else was saying, Â“Yes, we came from a blob,Â” IÂ’d be like, Â“WhereÂ’ s the evidence of th at?Â” I donÂ’t know. Probably reference intelligent design or just ask questions. And if they asked me, IÂ’d be like, Â“Well, I personally believe that we were created.Â” And if they really want to know more then theyÂ’ll ask and IÂ’ll explain further a nd give reasons to back it up. If I donÂ’t have evidence to back up what I say sometimes, I donÂ’t want to say it because itÂ’s a very intellec tual school. Like if you donÂ’t provide evidence sometimes you just, youÂ’re not taken at face value. No one is like, Â“Oh, I never thought about that. That must be truth.Â” F: You have to have materialistic evidence. Nancy: It seems that way. ItÂ’s kind of frustrating. I donÂ’t know, but, challenging in a good way I would say. (4/21/06 INT.)
198 F: Do you feel comfortable sharing your religious beliefs/perspectives in a classroom discussion? Can you recount a particular instance when you have done that? Victor: Am I comfortable? Moderately. In a debate, I wouldnÂ’t be, because even though IÂ’m a strong believer, I donÂ’t know too much Scripture, I donÂ’t know too much of the Word. ItÂ’s kind of hard for me to defend. But I would be comfortable saying that IÂ’m a Christian and a firm believer and tell them how much faith I have or something. But be yond that I wouldnÂ’t feel comfortable; I wouldnÂ’t have much basis to go on. (4/11/06 INT.) F: Do you feel comfortable sharing your religious beliefs/perspectives in a classroom discussion? Gert: Sometimes, well, no not really. F: But you have done it? Gert: Yeah, IÂ’ve done it, but that doesnÂ’t ne cessarily mean that I am comfortable. F: Why did you do it in spite of your discomfort? Gert: Because I felt like I should, because I felt like they were asking for my opinion and I would be chickening out if I didnÂ’t, like that was different than volunteering. F: Because they specifically asked? Gert: Yeah, they specifically asked fo r anyone who believed that or whatever. And because I hadnÂ’t said anything at other times that they had said it, and I felt guilty afterwards. (4/25/06 INT.)
199 F: Do you feel comfortable sharing your religious beliefs/perspectives in a classroom discussion? Can you recount a particular instance when you have done that? Tre: If they asked, it depends on the questi on. If they attack what I believe, if they attack Christianity in a way thatÂ’s not ri ght then IÂ’ll probably say something, just because the Holy Spirit will make me. He wonÂ’t make me, but HeÂ’ll stir my heart and you know I canÂ’t let them. I mean, IÂ’m not gonna talk about it for no reason. F: ItÂ’s okay to talk about it (Christianity), ju st donÂ’t talk abou t it incorrectly. In other words, donÂ’t charge Christians with a certain view when they donÂ’t really believe that way. Is that what you are talking about? Tre: Right, I mean if they attack it then thereÂ’s a chance to talk. I mean if he attacks it and then goes on to somethi ng else, IÂ’m not gonna stop him half way through. If thereÂ’s a chance to say something then I will. I donÂ’t have to deal with it too much because a lot of the teacher s know itÂ’s not good to. I mean, any public speaker knows, if you want to persuade an audience from the left side you got to work your way on over instead of blasting what they believe in. ItÂ’s like you know, Â“All that stuff you believe in is to tally wrong.Â” So obviously theyÂ’re gonna do it slowly and stuff. Rarely ever does someone say, Â“Christianity is not true and hereÂ’s the reasons why, and I donÂ’t believe itÂ’s right but th is is whatÂ’s right.Â” No one really does that. But if that happen ed, then I would definitely say something. (4/25/06 INT.) F: Do you feel comfortable sharing your religious beliefs/perspectives in a classroom discussion?
200 David: It really depends on the classroom. ItÂ’s really, it depends on the professor because did you say political and religious? F: I said religious be liefs and perspectives. David: Religious beliefs, on the religious and moral values, oh yeah I have no problem. Except when you get into the gay area because if you say one thing about that, they frame you as an idiot, so I have a hard time on that becauseÂ… F: If you say what? David: If youÂ’re talking about gay and lesb ians, I have a hard time on that because I havenÂ’t really researched it as much but if people start talking about that, they frame you and itÂ’s just not easy to talk about that. F: What do you mean they frame you? David: They frame you as a close-minded. F: Oh, by speaking against homosexuality? David: Yeah, homosexuality, th at sort of thing. On othe r things like, our whole English class, we had a topic on, I chose terrorism, people chos e a right to die, people chose divorce in America. Those t ypes of issues I have no problem with. Other spiritual views, I havenÂ’t really enc ountered any really st raight, not straight, hard-core in other religions besides ju st secularism. Like I havenÂ’t really encountered many Muslims, Hinduism or any other very strong belief besides just the ideaÂ… F: You mean in students? David: Yeah, in students.
201 F: So mostly itÂ’s a sort of secular stud ents that win the day or speak in the classrooms for the most part. David: Yeah, the majority ar e like that. (5/15/06 INT.) The data in this section revealed that evangelicals had shared their religious perspectives on campus and the responses by the university community were generally characterized as being tolerant. Several pa rticipants had witne ssed other evangelicals sharing their spiritual beliefs on campus and the other evangelicals were received similarly, with tolerance. Although ther e were no accounts of unbelievers embracing evangelical beliefs, most accounts seem ingly portray peaceful discourse. The students were least comfortable sh aring religious perspectives in the classroom. They seemed to be sensitive about the appropriateness in specific situations in that several indicated that their willingness to share had to meet certain criteria for them to feel even moderately comfortable. For ex ample, David articulated an unwillingness to engage in any discourse where his personal views on homosexuality might be revealed for fear of being Â“framed as close-minded.Â” With the exception of Susan, no participants could be characterized as aggr essive about sharing their re ligious views in class. The group seemed to be saying that they would sh are if the situation wa s appropriate and if they were pressed in some way. The academic costs of Evangelicalism. Regarding the question of their evangelicalism being an academic issue, the majority of responses to this question were simply Â“NoÂ” (Leti 4/21/06 INT) or Â“Umm, I really canÂ’t think of anyÂ” (Natanya 3/22/06 INT). In other words, the majority did not express the perception that there was an academic cost for being a Christian. However, some students explained that the types of
202 classes that they were attending did not le nd themselves to discussions which would reveal a studentÂ’s philosophical orientation. They seemed to be saying that to be fair to the question, many classes were not set up in such a way that personal worldview could be discerned and therefore the question c ould not properly or fa irly be answered. However, there were a few students that fe lt that there were occasions where their evangelicalism was an issue from an academ ic standpoint. These occasions typically developed as a result of taki ng an evangelical perspective on a classroom issue. Although these represent a minority experience within the group, the following excerpts provide insights into those perceptions: F: From an academic standpoint, were there any occasions this semester where your being an evangelical was an issue at this university? Sonya: Academic? F: Yeah, like, you wrote a paper that a pr ofessor disagreed wit h, like the topic was on, letÂ’s say, abortion, for or against a bortion and the professor gave you a poor grade. Sonya: Yes, thatÂ’s exactly what happene d. I wrote a paper on abortion and I was pro-life and my reasoning and my basis was because of my Ch ristian beliefs and he wrote that off as invalid because abor tion is a political issue and the American government clearly separates church and st ate and therefore, that is not a valid argument. (4/12/06 INT.) In the above instance, the st udent describes a situation wh ere points are taken off of a paper because of the expressi on of a religious viewpoint.
203 In GertÂ’s case below, she describes cl assroom settings where her worldview stances seemingly caused some incongrue nce through a sense of ideological or worldview isolation from her peers. F: From an academic standpoint, were th ere any occasions last semester where your being a Christia n was an issue? Gert: Yes, in one of the first couple of w eeks in my history class, which is one of those huge classes that you have to ta lk in, we talked about modernism and postmodernism and he asked people to raise their hands if they were modernist or postmodern. Of course, no one raised their hands to say modernist, and so I didnÂ’t raise my hand either, but I think later in the semester I would have been more comfortable doing it, but at the time I chic kened out because I didnÂ’t want to have to explain. I knew, being one of the onl y people to raise my hand, that I would have to explain and also like in my rhetor ic class we had to do, it was talked a lot about different things in rhetoric my fi rst paper I did on Scripture and I guess like the canonicity of Scripture, but we didnÂ’ t ever like discuss that in class or anything but the last thing th at we did, we had to do a I guess a visual argument and it had to be controversial or somethi ng so I did mine about gay marriage, and I had to get up and present it in front of the whole class and I mean, that didnÂ’t really like you know, it wasnÂ’t really like a discussion, but I did have to get up in front of everybody and show my little thi ng about marriage being between a man and a woman, and stuff, so. F: And how was that taken? Were they like booing orÂ…
204 Gert: No, no, no, but it definitely didnÂ’t ha ve that same reception that other things get, and the only question she posed to the class was, Â“I s this controversial?Â” And everyone said, Â“YES!Â” or could you argue against this or something like that. F: Was it one of those occasions wher e the whole class was really silent? Gert: Yeah. F: Like you could hear a pin drop? Gert: Yeah, it was re ally quiet, yeah. F: Okay. Yeah, IÂ’ve experienced that. Gert: And the girl before me did hers about interracial marriage and it was real cute and there was this, Â“AwwwÂ” kind of th ing. Yeah, it was definitely like that. F: Okay, so, any others co me to mind besides the ga y marriage presentation and the modernity, postmodernity thing, anything else come to mind? Gert: No, I donÂ’tÂ… F: Okay. (3/16/06 INT.) In the excerpt below, Susan describes a situation where she is only allowed to select a certain topic if she agrees to te mporarily suspend her personal worldview and assume a naturalistic one more agreeable to her professor. This communicates that her worldview is irrelevant or at the very least incompatible with the classroom setting as it has been defined by this professor. In this case, spiritual language was forbidden and only human reason or logic is aut horized on issues of morality F: From an academic standpoint, were there any occasions this semester where your being an evangelical was an issue at this university?
205 Susan: Yeah, like for example, I was talki ng about the essay that I wrote and stuff. And in that case, it wasnÂ’t so much th at I was a Christian but yes my Christian morality was a big deal. And always in that, I was never allowed to write or speak about God and I could only use logic. And my professor told me that specifically. Like I requested to write a paper about a bortion and she told me that I could only write it if I did not mention God or anythi ng spiritual at all and had to base it all on logic. So, thatÂ’s what I did. And I am sure she wouldnÂ’t have given me a good grade if I had said anything that, so. So she promised she would. (4/13/06 INT.) F: From an academic standpoint, were there any occasions this semester where your being a Christia n was an issue? David: See, itÂ’s hard because IÂ’m really negative on professors, but when they really donÂ’t wait, (incomprehensible) but to me itÂ’s almost sad because itÂ’s like the comments they make and you can tell itÂ’s their view, but they try to cloak them. So someone hasnÂ’t come out strai ght and just sort of laughed at me, but through comments through their lectures, not addressed just at me, but you can totally tell their views on religion and their, different stuff, so I would say, not yet. F: Ever gotten a bad grade on something you wrote? David: That, no. I purposefully did not wr ite on one topic, but I thought about like gay, homosexuality, but for my English 1, b ecause we had to write all semester on it, I chose something on the war on terrori sm which technically practically has been just as bad because professors us ually have really strong positions on that but that wasnÂ’t really a religious view on it. So far, probably IÂ’ll meet some more professors that will probably do that next semester. (5/15/06 INT.)
206 In the following excerpt, Ivan describes a situation where members of his faith group (Christians) are op enly maligned in his Rhetoric class. F: Were there any occasions that you felt like your faith was challenged last semester? By anything in the subject matte r or anything that you heard in class? Ivan: Well from what they like, say. Like theyÂ’d Â…Yes. Like in a big class, you know, they discussÂ… F: What class is that? Ivan: ItÂ’s called rhetoric class, 1302, itÂ’s like an oral co mmunication class. F: So can you give me an example of a time when you felt your faith was challenged? Ivan: Like theyÂ’d say things that rea lly like theyÂ… it wasn Â’t bashing, you know, theyÂ’ll say something, something about Christians, you know, like say like sarcastically like the Bible, things they believe. How hypocrisy or whatever, you know, stuff like that. F: Alright, so they speak about Chri stians in a negativ e connotation? Ivan: Yes, they spoke about Chri stians negatively. (3/20/06 INT.) F: From an academic standpoint, were th ere any occasions last semester where your being an evangelical was an issue at this university? Susan: Um, not that I can think of. Um, I didnÂ’t really have to write any essays last semester. Although this semester I e nded up, she gave me an A on my paper for abortion this semester, but she just w ouldnÂ’t talk to me about it like she would have discussions with everyone else but she just kind of handed mine to me. So I wasnÂ’t sure, because I worked on it for lik e a month. I worked very hard. I had it
207 reviewed by three different of my, my high school like people. And it was a very well written paper because she basically didnÂ’t have any proof to give me any other grade. But I was very scared an d my whole church was praying that I wouldnÂ’t fail the course because of that. So, it ended up not being a problem. But, no, not last semester I canÂ’t think of anything. F: Okay, were there any occasions la st semester in which your faith was challenged that you can recall? Susan: Um, what do you mean? F: I donÂ’t know, you know where somebody just came out and said, you know, Â“If you are a Christian what you believe is nons enseÂ” or any kind of attacks on your faith? Susan: Oh that happens all the time. Do es it all have to be last semester? F: No, it doesnÂ’t have to be. Susan: Well, um, I canÂ’t, I wasnÂ’t as invol ved and I wasnÂ’t as bold, as I was. I am much more bold in my faith this semester than I was last semester because now IÂ’m familiar with the environment. F: YouÂ’re familiar with what? Susan: The environment and I know people here and IÂ’m comfortable. Oh, but, as I said, just a few hours ago, I was talking to people and this one guy who is an atheist and he was trying to tell me that evolution is true. Basically, anything I said, he just laughed at me. Which I thought was fun, because we debated for several minutes and by the end he admitted that I had Â“wonÂ” and I was like, wow, I didnÂ’t mean to win or anything, I just wanted you to rethi nk the position. And
208 so, yeah basically, Christians here are s cared to say anything because we know we will be mocked. F: TheyÂ’re scared because of what? Susan: We will be mocked if we say anything. I mean non-Ch ristians and people go out of their way to say that weÂ’re stupid or have really bad views in their eyes so most Christians are scared to say a nything. I mean IÂ’m terrified just to say anything in class. Cause, the professors might know more than you and just turn your argument around and fail you. And so, you basically canÂ’t do anything about that. (3/20/06 INT.) This section revealed some instances of incongruence that were generated in the classroom setting. Ideologi cal isolation, worldview irrelevance, worldview marginalization, negative clas sroom discourse about Christia ns, fear of being mocked, and worldview inferiority were all described in this section as s ources of incongruence for participants in this study. It doesnÂ’t work like that. To the question of worldview differences, approximately half of the participants indica ted that they perceived a difference between reality as described in the classroom and thei r personal view of reality. The students that perceived a difference identified three categ ories Â– philosophy, cosmology and morality. The group that said they perceived a philosoph ical difference specifically identified the philosophy as Â“materialismÂ” or what I have previously described as naturalism or materialistic monism. Those views are expres sed collectively in the following excerpts: F: Do you feel that your view of how the world works differs from the view of the world presented in your classes?
209 David: I believe, okay, I donÂ’t believe in evolution. I believe that there are spiritual elements based on miraculous works like miracles and right and wrong, devils and angels. I believeÂ… F: So you would say the spiritual realmÂ… David: Spiritual warfare, yes. F: And in the classes itÂ’s presented as the world versus the spiritual realm isnÂ’t justÂ… David: Oh yeah, it just doesnÂ’t exist. What exists is here and now and thatÂ’s it. F: Have those differences impacted your academics in any way (positively or negatively)? David: Say it again? F: Do the differences in that first que stion, the idea that th e worldview of the classes in general and your worldview being opposed, has that interfered with your academics in any way? David: Not really. I havenÂ’ t really let it because I donÂ’t try to write for the professors, but I try to choose, like that one topic, I chose something that was very political, but not something that a professo r could really choose to just give you a D because it wasnÂ’t what she wanted. ItÂ’s sort of hard because if a professor assigned me something I would not try to mo ld it to what she wanted, but if sheÂ’s going to let me choose something, IÂ’m not going to choose something that could directly affect my grade. So if someone assigns me somethingÂ… F: You wonÂ’t pick a fight?
210 David: Yeah, if someone assigns me some thing, I would write what I believe in and if that got me a C on that assignment, so be it, but if I have a choice of four options IÂ’m not going to go pi ck that option because it Â’s almost, I just see no reason in it because I donÂ’t go compromi sing my beliefs just by not picking it because if you try to pick the hardest thing every assignment, youÂ’re sort ofÂ… (5/15/06 INT.) F: Do you feel that your view of how the world works differs from the view of the world presented in your various classes? If so, have those differences impacted your academics in any way (positively or negatively)? Explain? Dirk: Yes, because my view of the world is more than just physical, it includes a spiritual realm as well. Occasionally, when I am in a crowded place like the graduation ceremony today, I get the fee ling we are all really here for one purpose, to live our lives to glorif y God but how many people just donÂ’t understand that so Â… F: So, the issue has to do with the purpose and meaning of life? Dirk: Yes. Because a lot of the purpose and meaning of life in the classes is go out and succeed, make money, blah blah, but I ha ve never really heard anything about death. I have never heard anything about after death; itÂ’s always about what you will do after college and whether you will succeed or not. F: Die with the most toys and you win? Dirk: Right. F: If so, have those differences impacted your academics in any way (positively or negatively)? Explain?
211 Dirk: Sometimes the papers I write will in clude little things pointing to hope or faith, things beyond a career, but I donÂ’t remember any teacherÂ’s comments in particular. I donÂ’t remember any teacher s responding in any way negatively or positively. F: So, maybe it goes back to the idea of neutrality that we discussed earlier? Dirk: Yes, which has been surprising to me because I had always thought that college was supposed to be a hard place fo r Christians in that you were gonna get a lot of opposition so th e neutrality is kind of surprising to me. F: So, that would be a good surprise? Dirk: Yeah. (5/13/06 INT.) This same philosophical difference was described by James when answering the question regarding the university va luing the presence of evangelicals. F: Is it your perception that the univer sity values the pres ence of Christian students on this campus? James: I donÂ’t think to the university it affects the bala nce. I donÂ’t think that religion matters much at all. I think th e school is very oriented toward head knowledge, you know? Especially analytical head knowledge and because of that, issues like religion donÂ’t re ally matter. WhatÂ’s material matters. What you can see, touch, taste, feel and click in a computer code. Th ings like that. F: Okay, so youÂ’re saying itÂ’s a ma terialistic worldview. (4/19/06 INT.) F: Do you feel that your view of how the world works differs from the view of the world presented in your classes? Leti: Yes.
212 F: How? Leti: I feel like maybe in, in classes itÂ’s just surviving and succeeding and material things and you know? Life is a, I donÂ’t know. Do you understand what IÂ’m saying? You just have to get a job and make money and thatÂ’s how the world works and you have to be selfish and look out for you. And I think thatÂ’s different than the Christian perspective. F: And the Christian perspective being what? Leti: Serving God and doing things, doing Hi s will rather than what you want. F: Has that difference impacted your acad emics in any way? The idea that, that the way the world is presented in class and your view of it. Has it impacted your academics in any way, positively or negatively? Leti: If IÂ’m completely honest, I donÂ’t actually see academics as extremely important like, you know what I mean? ItÂ’s, it Â’s not, itÂ’s not what itÂ’s all about, so I guess if I donÂ’t do well. ItÂ’s not like I donÂ’t try because I do, but I just think itÂ’s not about how well you do in school, so you know? F: WhatÂ’s it about? Leti: Your God! F: Okay. So to, okayÂ… Leti: Sorry, does that not make sense? F: No, it does. I think, IÂ’m ju st trying to make sure th at I have it accurately. It makes sense to me. So youÂ’re saying that the way the world is projected in class and the way you view it differ, and one way that they differ is that they value
213 academics and youÂ’re saying you donÂ’t necessa rily value academics as much as you do God? Leti: Yeah, I donÂ’t view academics as highl y as they do, as in if you donÂ’t do well thatÂ’s the end of your life, type of thing. F: Because itÂ’s all aboutÂ… Leti: Succeeding, making money. F: Having the most stuff to play with? Leti: Yes. F: Okay, kind of like that bumper sticker that says, Â“He who di es with the most toys, wins?Â” Leti: Yeah. (4/21/06 INT.) F: Do you feel that your view of how the world works differs from the view of the world presented in you r various classes? Kelsey: No, not really, because in my scie nce classes and stuff, we talk about how the world works and the only thing that w ould differ is that I hold it in a broader perspective of thatÂ’s how G od made the world to work rather than thatÂ’s just kind of how it isÂ…thatÂ’s about it. F: Ok. So their presentation of the way the world works minus God would be the distinction. It would just be they tr y to describe things without God and you know the reality that God is behind it. Kelsey: Well, they just give the facts, like this is how this works, this is how a cell was formed, blah, blah, blah, but I always keep it in the broader perspective like God made the cells like that, God made Â…and IÂ’m learning in chemistry about all
214 these really crazy little, ti ny things that work in our bodies like that make us live and walk and talk and breath and IÂ’m like well thatÂ’s so c ool that God could create that, but they donÂ’t necessarily sa y well Â“God did this,Â” they just say Â“This happened, and here we are.Â” (4/17/06 INT.) F: Do you feel that your view of how the world works differs from the view of the world presented in you r various classes? Natanya: Umm, well since weÂ’ve last ta lked I know how I was, you actually challenged me to think more about e volution and I guess the Genesis chapter where God created. F: You mean the questions I asked? Natanya: The questions, right, on the surv ey. I thought more about them and umm, I guess now I believe that, I believe not as much in evolution, so I guess that would conflict. I believe that GodÂ… F: Ok, so you are saying that because you have kind of departed to a certain extent from evolutionary ideas, that now that probably puts you in more conflict with what the univers ity teaches? In yourÂ… Natanya: In my science classes. F: Particularly in your science classes. Ok. Natanya: Umhmm. (4/14/06 INT.) F: Do you feel that your view of how the world works differs from the view of the world presented in your classes? Gert: Yeah.
215 F: If so, have those differences impacted your academics in any way (positively or negatively)? Gert: This semester it didnÂ’t really come up as much as it did last semester. Last semester there were a couple of projects that I did that were about my worldview, but I didnÂ’t feel like they were graded differently or like they were received differently. F: But you didnÂ’t feel they were, you didnÂ’t get a poor grade becauseÂ… Gert: No, I didnÂ’t feel I got a bad grade becauseÂ… F: Okay, what, what is the difference, you said, you identified, Â“Yes, it is different,Â” but the impact is minima l. What would you say is the primary difference between your view of the worl d and the way it is presented in the classes? Gert: Absolute right and wrong. A lot of th ings are presented as thatÂ’s whatÂ’s right for them or thatÂ’s what Â’s right in this situation or for this person, but there are alternatives, or you know what I mean ? But from a Christian worldview, there are absolute rights and wrongs and it applies to everyone whether they live in Africa or not. And in a lot of ways, that was, you know, the idea of relativism and different cultures believe different things and have a different system of right and wrong. (4/25/06 INT.) F: Do you feel that your view of how the world works differs from the view of the world presented in your various classes? If so, have those differences impacted your academics in any way (positively or negatively)? Explain?
216 Susan: ItÂ’s certainly different. I th ink deep down everyone knows how things work or how things should work, according to morality and stuff like that. I mean everyone has a conscience. And so, oh, itÂ’s hard to explain, um. Yes, they teach different things. People ignore the consequen ces of their own sins and so they live life and teach in a special way that they try to ignore the c onsequences of their actions. For example, I wrote a paper on w hy sex before marriage is wrong, like I mentioned earlier. And I say thatÂ’s wrong because it is wrong. But not necessarily because I had to prove it was wrong with fact, and so I would say stuff like unwanted pregnancy which results in abor tion and STDÂ’s and stuff like that. And they want to, I mean they will always i gnore the spreading of STDÂ’s and stuff like that or try and prevent it which wonÂ’t really work. So, I think everyone knows that things are wrong, but they, they t each it, like, I donÂ’t know it is hard to explain, do you understand what I am saying? F: If I understand, itÂ’s kind of like, Â“Sex in the CityÂ” where [yeah] those girls, you know, have like multiple affairs and stuff constantly and nobody ever gets pregnant, nobody ever gets kind of ah [yea h, yeah exactly] venereal diseases and they just go on happily ever after. [yeah] Is that what you mean? Susan: Yeah, thatÂ’s exactly. Yeah and they deceive themselves and they teach in the classroom that things are okay, and they donÂ’t teach the consequences when everyone really knows, if you think about it, the consequences are obvious and they live their lives like that. And IÂ’ m the only one who will say, no thatÂ’s wrong, youÂ’re stupid. And they are like, Â“Shut up! We want to live our lives and have as much fun as we can.Â” Because they donÂ’ t know what real fun is. (4/13/06 INT.)
217 Approximately half of the students in th is study indicated that what they were studying was consistent with thei r evangelical beliefs. Severa l of them qualified that by stating that the classes that they had taken were generally factual in nature (math or computer programming) and therefore the cour ses did not reveal pot ential philosophical differences. However, the group of students that perceived an inconsistency are presented in the following excerpts: F: Would you say that what you are learning is consistent or inconsistent with your beliefs as a Christian? Tami: Well, most of my classes are like science classes or my, like classes where we talk about ideas and stuff and sometim es itÂ’s inconsistent with my beliefs. F: Does that disturb you? Tami: Well, not really because I know th at GodÂ’s ways are different than the worldÂ’s ways, so I kind of e xpect it to be inconsistent. F: Okay. (4/12/06 INT.) F: Would you say that what you are learning is consistent or inconsistent with your beliefs as a Â“born-ag ain Christian?Â” Explain. Tre: It really has nothing to do with my faith I donÂ’t think. I would say overall inconsistent. IÂ’m not really too emoti onally upset about it because I kind of expected it at UTA. My astronomy teacher I canÂ’t decide if he believes in creation or not but he definitely supports the big bang so he thinks the chances are low that the universe is ten thousand y ears old for some scientific reason. I couldnÂ’t think of anything sc ientific to disprove hi m so it was kind of annoying. Because IÂ’m not one of those Christian science people that wants to explain
218 everything, but it really is good to know from a practic al standpoint. Obviously, I believe that the Bible is the ultimate au thority and we believe in the trinity and Christian values but you want to be able to have things that do show that science does back up the Bible. ThereÂ’s so much that itÂ’s hard to know enough to back it against science. You want to be able to do that. I donÂ’t know as much as I should to be able to do that. (4/25/06 INT.) F: Would you say that what you are learning is consistent or inconsistent with your beliefs as a Christian? Leti: They donÂ’t really overlap, itÂ’s that, like I havenÂ’t, I guess inconsistent, I donÂ’t know. IÂ’m not reallyÂ… F: You havenÂ’t real ly thought about it? Leti: No. The only example I can think of, IÂ’m in a gender studies class, and itÂ’s kind of all about power to women an d I guess I donÂ’t really think thatÂ… F: Well, why donÂ’t you think that? Leti: I just feel like in the Bible it kind of says, you know men and husbands should, I donÂ’t know, be in control, and I donÂ’t, I guess IÂ’m not really sure, but do you understand? F: I do. Okay, so youÂ’re saying, that would be an example because theyÂ’re teaching sort of a feminist view of real ity and youÂ’re saying, Â“No, thatÂ’s not what the Bible says,Â” so that w ould be an inconsistency. Leti: Umhmm (yes). (4/21/06 INT.) F: Would you say that what you are learning is consistent or inconsistent with your beliefs as a Christian?
219 Gert: Like, well, like I said a lot of the ways they interpret things are not consistent with what I believe. But if you can ignore that, you can see how it works with what you believe, does that make sense? F: Umhmm. Okay. Gert: Like in a history class, they might tell you that what the framers believed about everyone being created equal with just cultural things, but thatÂ’s not actually true, or, itÂ’s wrong for us to choos e, or apply our morals of whatÂ’s right and wrong to everyone else, but at the same time if you can discard and sift through the parts that are thei r relativistic views, then you can see it has a deeper meaning, if you look at it from a Christia n perspective. Especially things like history, because you can see GodÂ’s providence in our countryÂ’s history or in other history in the world and that is interpreted differently by a secular professor. F: Okay. Gert: I havenÂ’t really had any science course s yet. I havenÂ’t really had to deal with evolution or anything like that yet, so, I would anticipa te that would probably be an issue in biology classes or, but I havenÂ’t taken anything like that. F: So the issues that have arisen for you, specifically, have been more related to either moral, your problem with moral re lativism and how mo ral relativism seems to be their kind of prominent thinking and also in the sense of the way that history is interpreted? Those two issues? Gert: Yeah. F: So itÂ’s aÂ… Gert: More philosophic than I guess, scientific.
220 F: What type of historical frame do you recognize in whatÂ’s being presented? Can you identify the name? Like we talked about moral relativism from a moral standpoint. Moral absolutes. From a hist orical standpoint, do you, can you tell me what the philosophy is thatÂ’s being pr esented? Do you recognize the philosophy? Gert: I canÂ’t tell you a name of it. F: Okay, you just recognize that it Â’s different than what you believe. Gert: Yeah, itÂ’s notÂ… F: Okay. (4/25/06 INT.) F: Would you say that what you are learning is consistent or inconsistent with your beliefs as a Â“Christian?Â” James: Mostly just history class, the history professors, how they believeÂ… F: Inconsistent? James: Inconsistent. I mean they skew history about the pilgrims and undermine the founding fathers, talking about all th eir flaws, making them seem like they were hypocritical people. Some of them may have been Â… it just carries it to a level too far where itÂ’s more propaganda than fact. And it seems to be provisional history. Other than th at thoughÂ… (4/19/06 INT.) F: Would you say that what you are learning is consistent or inconsistent with your beliefs as a Christian? David: Depends on the classes. History at least now that weÂ’re done with most of the history, weÂ’re done with week 5. The prehistoric was the hardest part. I will probably take some more history classes because, you canÂ’t really, prehistoric is always the worst because thatÂ’s evolution, thatÂ’s the Darwin, weÂ’ve been here 6, 4
221 billion years, weÂ’ve been here, the Neande rthals, the blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, so that was probably the hardest one, but English, Math, and Speech, I wouldnÂ’t really say were contrary to my beliefs. (5/15/06 INT.) F: Would you say that what you are learning is consistent or inconsistent with your beliefs? Susan: Um well, inconsistent for sure. Y eah, everything I mean, itÂ’s hard to find something that I will be taught that is the same thing that I believe. Like the age of the earth, evolution, and the standard of morality is all different. (4/13/06 INT.) The data from this section reveal that the participants recognized a worldview distinction between their Christian worldvi ew and what was taught in the classroom. However, the distinctions are at a level that they seem to be able to tolerate. Some, like David, expressed techniques like being deliber ate and cautious about topic selection for papers. He discussed selecting t opics that were less controversial or topics that were less revealing about his worldview di stinctions. The worldview conflicts that the participants described did not appear to have any adverse affect upon their grades or their ab ility to succeed academically. A couple of participants expressed that the worldview distinctions were something that they expected. Social and Academic Integration The important question of fit. Most of the students expre ssed academic or social reasons in support of the major ity view, which was that they saw themselves as a good fit for their university. In fact, there were no r easons offered that were not clearly academic or social. Although they generally thought of themselves as a good fit, there was a selfperception among evangelicals that they were members of a minority group because of
222 their evangelical commitment. There were a few participants who expressed doubts about their fitness for the university. One of those students (Dirk) withdr ew from UTA at the end of semester one because of a lack of acad emic and social integration. In the following excerpts, David, Tre, Gert and Leti all ques tion their fit based upon their evangelicalism. However, it must be emphasized that thes e excerpts are clearly representative of a minority thread within the case. F: Do you feel like you are a Â“ good fitÂ” for this university? David: ThatÂ’s a weird question. Like a good fit as in, thereÂ’s so many different ones. Academic, social, religious, well, I feel like IÂ’m a minority in the, of course, social view. That includes religious b ecause even though people claim to be secular humanists, their religion is that, it Â’s not that they are [unintelligible]Â… F: Okay, so you are going to put social and religious together? David: Yes, that is correct. F: How do you feel you are a good fit fr om a social/religious standpoint? David: I would say IÂ’m not because IÂ’m in the minority. And by the minority, itÂ’s everything in my morality and beliefs are contrary to what the school is. I donÂ’t mind that, but Â… F: And academically? A good fit or not? David: I donÂ’t know. I like academics. I study, study, so itÂ’s so hard to say academically because of course I think IÂ’m a little above average with only AÂ’s in my first semester, I have one B this seme ster but it really, academically, well, fit doesnÂ’t really make sense because itÂ’s all in what you apply to your time. People who make DÂ’s and CÂ’s could apply more tim e, itÂ’s just they donÂ’t want to. If you
223 get AÂ’s maybe theyÂ’re geniuses, bu t they also study, study, study. So, academically I would say I probably apply more time than a lot of freshmen I would say, but I would say IÂ’m a good fit. (5/13/06 INT.) Tre: I havenÂ’t met many people like me so I guess thatÂ’s good, I donÂ’t know. F: When you say people like youÂ… Tre: Well, I know that sounds really judgmental butÂ… F: No, I donÂ’t think so. It could just be how you perceive reality. Tre: A lot of people are against this whole Christianity idea. F: What? Tre: Against Christianity. A lot of people, they seem to have humanistic views by the way they talk in class, their commentsÂ… F: Do you mean the students? Tre: Right, yeah, I just havenÂ’t met th at many friends from the school. (2/23/06 INT.) Gert: No, no my school is a math and science and engineering and business and all those kinds of things and I am there becau se James [her fiance] is there, so we have a teeny, teeny, tiny arts and humanities program and thatÂ’s pretty much all IÂ’m interested in, but no, I chose my school because of James, not becauseÂ… F: So youÂ’re, okay, so your fit, your focus is on academics, so do you feel like youÂ’re a fit, do you fit in all the other areas, do you fit like philosophically, do you fit socially, do you fit, you know, the other parts of it beyond academics? Gert: No probably not philosophically. ItÂ’s a pretty liberal, and you know if youÂ’re not liberal, youÂ’re Islami c, and socially I mean IÂ…
224 F: When you say that, Â“when youÂ’re not lib eral, youÂ’re Islamic,Â” is that the wayÂ… Gert: The majority of the student body. F: Oh, okay, I see. Okay. So there are tw o divisions, there are basically liberals and Islamics? Gert: Yeah, yeah, itÂ’s pretty much like that. (3/16/06 INT.) F: Do you feel like you are a Â“good fitÂ” for this school? Leti: No. F: No, why not? Leti: I mean, actually itÂ’s worked out pe rfectly. IÂ’m happy and IÂ’m just going to stay here and itÂ’s fine, itÂ’s just I donÂ’t feel like, IÂ’m just not the same, I donÂ’t know, I guess because IÂ’ve traveled a lot, like been overseas, because everyone here is from Texas. F: So, you feel out of place, in some se nse, because youÂ’re more savvy about the world, in some sense, or? Leti: Well, for example, everybody talks about Texas and I donÂ’t know anything about Texas, like not that I know more, you know, but act ually more of the reason I donÂ’t feel like I fit in is this school is like math and science and I am just not a math and science person, and also with th e whole religious thing. ItÂ’s not exactly, I mean, it just seems like Christianity is not a big part of this campus, and I wish it was. F: Why do you wish it was? Leti: I think itÂ’s really important to be surrounded by people that share the same faith.
225 F: Why? Leti: I think it gives you more strength to do, you know I think youÂ’re influenced a lot by the people you spend your time wit h, and I think I could be a stronger person and make better decisions if I were surrounded by people who were encouraging that. (3/17/06 INT.) Once again, those expressing doubt regard ing fit were clea rly expressing a minority view. The majority of this group perc eived themselves to be a good fit for their respective university. Many of the students e xpressed a gratitude for being where they were and a few of the students said that th ey Â“loveÂ” their school. For example, when asked about whether she was a good fit for this university, Katrina said, I think so. (laughing) F: Why? Katrina: I donÂ’t know. (laughing) I love it here. I think it fits me as an individual. ItÂ’s big enough that I meet people ever y day, but small enough that I can be at home and comfortable. I like the clas ses and I like the teachers and I like Â…. (3/2/06 INT.) Similarly, in the case of Ronald, F: Do you feel like you are a Â“good fitÂ” for this university? Ronald: Yeah. F: Why is that? Ronald: I donÂ’t know. I donÂ’t re ally know how to explain it but like I just feel like IÂ’m where IÂ’m supposed to be here. It just feels like home here.
226 F: Does it have anything to do with the sort of the academic focus with sort of theÂ…a lot of the students talk about the school kind of being a Â…students with math and science orientations that are pretty committed students for the most partÂ… is that kind of whatÂ…? Ronald: Probably more of like the campus. F: What about the campus makes you feel at home? Ronald: I donÂ’t know. I canÂ’t r eally explain it. ItÂ’s just like walking around it just feels like home. F: Is it because of the people on the campus or the structure? Ronald: I donÂ’t know, proba bly both. (4/15/06 INT.) When asked whether she was a good fit, Sonya said, Yes. F: Can you explain why? Sonya: Because, thatÂ’s a very good questi on. Can I just say why I love UTD? Will that work for me? F: Yeah, sure. Sonya: Okay. Well, I love UTD because of a ll the closeness here. It feels a lot like high school for me, where you know a bunch of people in your classes and youÂ’re not drowning, you know, in a 160-person-cl ass. Um, and you get to know your professors. I really enjoy the different oppor tunities that are presented here, all the different groups and how itÂ’s not like, theyÂ’re not hard to be a part of. I just really enjoy going here. (4/12/06 INT.)
227 The studentsÂ’ perceptions about both uni versities were that they were both academically oriented schools. Several of the students indicated that their positive assessment about their personal fit with the uni versity had to do with the academic focus of the schools in that the student populat ion was, generally sp eaking, academically motivated. In response to the question a bout fit for example, Evan responded, Evan: Um, yeah I think so. F: Why would you say that? Why do you feel that way? Evan: Because itÂ’s not like other colleges. IÂ’ve been on other campuses and stuff and IÂ’ve seen how they have really st rong school spirit a nd the athletics and everything and, you know, theyÂ’re always part ying and stuff. But at this school it seems to be a lot different. It seems pr etty much just acad emically focused. I thought that was pretty good. (3/18/06 INT.) In a similar response to this question of whether she was a good fit, Chelsea said, Chelsea: Yes. F: Why? Chelsea: Because itÂ’s not a party school, and IÂ’m not a party girl, so itÂ’s perfect for me. Because thereÂ’s a lot of serious people here who, all or most people here want to go onto a graduate school and th eyÂ’re serious about school and thatÂ’s how I am. Like I know Texas State is a real big party school, and I wouldnÂ’t fit well there. (3/22/06 INT.) Additionally, there was a thread that had to do with the pe rceived technology and science orientations of both campuses. The students felt a sense of belonging or fit because they
228 shared common interests with the Â“techies a nd the geeks and the nerdsÂ” (Susan, 4/13/06 INT). To the question of fit for example, Paul said, Actually, yes I do, because this school seems to beÂ… alright, it does seem to be diverse, but the one th ing it does seem to have a lot of is, a lot of Â“nerdsÂ”, people that seem to be like me. They like to play video games and know a lot about computers and stuff like that. Basically, de finitely the Â“pcsÂ” majors, they seem to have a lot of people like that. I think it seems to fit me well. (3/20/06 INT.) Disappointments and issues. The biggest disappointment that was commonly shared was the surprise or realization that on campus they were a racial minority, a religious minority or both. For example, a fe w of the White students expressed surprise by the small number of Caucasians and the relatively small number of Christians. Another disappointment theme had to do with improperly managing their new freedom or the discovery that they lacked self discip line or skill in time management. Another repeated experience was the disappointment of observing the negative consequences of poor moral decisions on the part of close friends. Susan: Um, the biggest disa ppointment? Um, probably th at some of my friends that I met like at the very beginning of year, we were all the same. We had the same morals, the same values. And I had a best friend and she kind of went down the drain and like used the freedom to a bad, you know, like I mean, she was a good Christian girl andÂ…The biggest disa ppointment is probably seeing others fall around me, yet IÂ’m still being friends with them to help them up and yet I donÂ’t want to be their mom and slap their hands and say, Â“Hah, youÂ’re doing things that are stupid.Â” ThatÂ’s the way, you know.
229 F: So you had friends that came here that were, that you knew from before (uh huh) that were believers (uh huh) and they came here and, you said their morality doesnÂ’t line-up anymore with what they believe? Susan: Right, right and they know it too. Th ey know that the things that they do are wrong and based on the consequences. A nd yet they talk to me and ask like Â“Why does this happen?Â” And IÂ’m like, Â“Hello.Â” But now they are kind of addicted to certain things that th ey donÂ’t know much about. And now IÂ’m rooming with one next year, so. And I mean like, I love her to death but I mean I donÂ’t want to, I mean I feel like her mo m because she doesnÂ’t want to tell me things because she thinks that I will j udge her because I donÂ’t do things like that, you know. F: What is she addicted to? Susan: Um, well itÂ’s the irrelevant things. Her mother was in a sorority when she was younger and it wasnÂ’t nearly as bad back then. She is a great Christian girl and she joined a sorority and they, and she took-up cussing and um and not complete sex but having certain types of sexual relations with guys that are not, not complete sex with different guys, that are, that I consider sex and is not fullon stuff. I donÂ’t know, she hangs out with the wrong crowd and she drinks now too. (4/13/06 INT.) Academic related issues were identified as the most prominent issues relating to the college experience. Several students e xpressed concern about living accommodations for their sophomore year. Time management and personal discipline were often cited.
230 Nancy: Well currently, itÂ’s finals. But sometimes itÂ’s time management. Sometimes IÂ’ll find myself where I have a couple hours gap and itÂ’s rare but I have nothing to do; this is incredible! So, deciding what to do with that time. And then, deciding how involved to get in certain things, whether it be with church or intramural games or friendships/r elationships, just how involved to get. And, sometimes making sacrifi ces; deciding, well, like itÂ’s a relationship issue or something or a friendship issue or like so me personal issue that comes in conflict with the class, like, what happens. YouÂ’re always in class no matter what if your friend, itÂ’s just like, sometimes it seems almost like a moral issue, like youÂ’re almost trying to decide whatÂ’s more im portant here. Cause I mean, at this school, academics are really important to most pe ople I would say, to a lot of people at least. Sometimes itÂ’s hard to deal with it because, like, I tend to deal with it that way but IÂ’m not as, like I, I tend to rebe l against it too because I donÂ’t want to be so hard core grades that I donÂ’t have room to do anything else. (4/21/06 INT.) To this question, James replied, Probably what I spend the most time fo cusing on is setting up good study habits and making sure that I set aside enough time to study because whenever I was in high school I was not organized at all a bout my study methods. I kind of was like a loose gun, so itÂ’s been a big issue just ma king sure I discipline myself that has probably been the primary issue. (4/19/06 INT.) Similarly, Victor replied, Issues? Um, more with myself, like laziness. I said itÂ’s more with self, like self discipline and all that good stuff.
231 F: And so thatÂ’s kind of, itÂ’s a prominent i ssue in the sense that itÂ’s sort of, youÂ’re kind of being aware of it and trying to overcome it, is that what you mean? Victor: Yeah, yeahÂ…especially with like time management. I think everybody has that. (4/11/06 INT.) Maintaining Christian moral purity and sp iritual devotion was also considered a prominent issue. F: Okay, what are the most prominent issues regarding you college experience up to this point? Susan: Um, besides, well my number one concern is always my spiritual life because I see others falling around me. So I have two accountabil ity partners now and weÂ’re trying to not destroy ourselve s but, gees itÂ’s a lo ad (laugh), but um. (3/20/06 INT.) Advice to incoming freshmen. Regarding the question of advice to incoming freshmen, the most often cited response to this question was consistent with the high value this group placed upon social integration. There was also an emphasis on developing time management and being committe d to a schedule which is in the category of academic advice. Consider the following responses: Susan: Um, be social. Like, be social and set your standards. Because, I donÂ’t know, I mean, everyone in this universit y, if you are not soci al in the beginning then you end up sitting in your room the entire time. I mean I met my boyfriend and everyone who not, um necessarily Chri stian activities. We were having Halo 2 tournaments at my place and thatÂ’s how I met my boyfriend. You know, so, be social so you donÂ’t get stuck in your room for the rest of th e year. And, um, set
232 your standards because people would come here with kind of shady morals for themselves. You know like they would rea lly talk for themselves or make a statement or anything. And they end up break ing their standards that never existed and they just get deeper a nd deeper into, you know, like, or they compromise their standards and do stupid things that th ey will regret later. (4/13/06 INT.) Similarly, Herman: Just to be open to new ideas. D onÂ’t be locked in your apartment. Kind of get out there. You know, be involved. F: Be involved socially? Herman: Socially, you know, yeah, for the mo st part socially. I think. DonÂ’t be just a bookworm all the time, be up in your apartment. But that was my point of view at first, I was like Â“O h, I just need good grades, nothing else matters.Â” But then I realized, Â“YouÂ’re going to have a boring 4 years; itÂ’s not gonnaÂ…Â” you know, you learn new things to make your life more meaningful. (4/14/06 INT.) Natanya: Uh, to become involved. DonÂ’t just sit in the corner of your room and study. It helps more, umm, if you stay invol ved you have more of a schedule and you can time-management is a big thing. F: So involvement will help you learn time management? Natanya: Right. Take chances. YouÂ’re going out meeting new people, go sit by someone in a classroom instead of sitting in a corner. F: WhatÂ’s been your expe rience of those who, who, I think what youÂ’re talking about is really a self-isolation in so me sense, right? WhatÂ’s been your observation? Have you noticed anything negative happening to those students that
233 tend to isolate themselves? I mean, do you know any students that have isolated themselves and have they left or are th ey going to leave or that kind of thing? Natanya: Umm, some of the people IÂ’ve met are transferring out because they donÂ’t feel like theyÂ’ve met many people, I guess, but itÂ’s more of a, I guess a personal experience because I came in with my dad telling me, Natanya, you have to do pre-med, if you donÂ’t study hard and keep your grades up then you may not make it, you know just trying to motivate me, and so he would tell me, just go in your room and study, I guess it was more of a protective issue too, donÂ’t trust any boys, you know that sort of thing, but itÂ’s more of a sit in your room and study, donÂ’t get involved. You donÂ’t need all of this Christian stuff, thatÂ’s what heÂ’d tell me, actually, F: Oh, is that what he said? Natanya: And IÂ’ve kind of done the opposite, and I feel like I am benefiting ten times more than I would have if I woul d have just not done anything. I probably would be bummed out by school. IÂ’d probabl y be so sick of it. (4/14/06 INT.) Ronald: Not to overload themselves. F: Not to overload themselves in terms of their course work? Ronald: Class load. F: Any other advice? Ronald: Get involved. F: When you say, Â“get involve dÂ” do you mean socially? Ronald: Yeah. F: Why?
234 Ronald: Because I mean I think what you do like learning how to get to know people is going to more important than a lot of your education. Learning how to interact with people. Plus it will make it a lot more fun. (4/18/06 INT.) Again, Sonya: Get involved. F: What happens if they donÂ’t get involved? Sonya: I would say that getting involved is the most important because it allows you to be introduced to a bunch of new pe ople and build relati onships with people and if you arenÂ’t involved th en a lot of times youÂ’re just at home and youÂ’re studying. I think that if all you do is study that youÂ’re gonna go crazy because the courses here are very hard and sometimes you just need a break and you need to have that community where you can go to chill and have fun. So, thatÂ’s more important. F: Have you seen students who were suffe ring as a result of not being engaged socially? Um, have you seen examples of what youÂ’re talking about, people who have closed themselves off in a room? Sonya: Well, they keep their doors closed so IÂ’m not sure. F: So you canÂ’t actually see them? Sonya: ThatÂ’s what IÂ’ve heard, and IÂ’m pre tty sure thatÂ’s how it would be with me had I notÂ…(4/12/06 INT.) As indicated previously, a por tion of the advice they would give to incoming freshmen related to academics. In partic ular, the general theme had to do with personal discipline, personal accountability and a recommendati on for good time management from the
235 outset of the freshmen experience. There were also a couple of spir itual recommendations which are represented in the last excerpt from this section. Consider the following excerpts on academic advice for incoming freshmen: James: DonÂ’t Â….itÂ’s really easy to get caught up and hang out with friends and forget about your study time. You know just make sure that you make commitments to certain study times. Even if your friends are kind of like Â“ahhhÂ… youÂ’re such a dorkÂ” or whatever, you know, Â“you just kind of have to hang out a little longer.Â” You know just stick to the schedule that you set out for yourself. At the end of the year when everybodyÂ’s co mplaining about, Â“Oh man, IÂ’m not ready for this or that.Â” YouÂ’ll be like Â“itÂ’s a breeze for me?Â” IÂ’ve seen a lot of people who have slacked over the year and e nded up doing too much crunching at the end of the year. You need to stay on top of things back to back (4/19/06 INT.) Chelsea: Incoming freshman, IÂ’d say just work on your grades and make sure you stay on top of everything. (4/12/06 INT.) Dirk: Study hard. DonÂ’t come in with a bi g head. One of my best friends was an absolute brainiac in high sc hool and he went into college with a big head and he really struggled because of that so I w ould say to freshmen, be prepared for a completely different world academically and socially. The social standard definitely isnÂ’t you know like high school Everybody seems to be coming in off of the high of high school in their first year so prepare to move into a more mature stage. And I think itÂ’s definitely healt hy to mature in college cause there are definitely some that donÂ’t and just mainta in that party attitude and it kind of
236 messes up a lot of their stuff. So I guess, just maintain your focus on studies and study hard and keep your head on your shoulders. (5/13/06 INT.) Tre: I think it really help s to get a partner to study with. You know for a guy to find a guy and a girl to find a girl. You know, to keep accountable with your studies. Next semester IÂ’m going to be DavidÂ’s roommate. F: Oh, you guys finalized that? Tre: Yeah. F: ThatÂ’s great. Tre: Yeah, weÂ’re also going to be taking some of the sa me classes together. ItÂ’s good to have a partner like that to ke ep you accountable and not go and hang out all of the time with your friends. Caus e everybodyÂ’s on a different schedule and you know you can say well if heÂ’s going then I guess I have time to go. You know, entertainment is not the foremost purpose of going to school. Even when you think it is, and it feel s like it is. (4/25/06 INT.) Victor: Always be prepared, donÂ’t let your guard downÂ…donÂ’t relax. Especially like about the academic life, like studying. Like many times youÂ’ll come in here and you will see that I mean here you still see people brag like Â“Oh, I didnÂ’t study, oh, I didnÂ’t have a look at that, but I still did pre tty well. I didnÂ’t look too high upon the semester, and I still did well, Â” but you shouldnÂ’t let that affect you, you should attend class. F: So donÂ’t listen to the guys sayÂ… Victor: Yeah, that mer it on like being lazy. F: Okay. Basically donÂ’t be lazy.
237 Victor: Yeah. DonÂ’t thrive on it. F: DonÂ’t be lazy and donÂ’t listen to those who are. Victor: Yeah, yeah. Simp le enough! (4/11/06 INT.) The strongest theme that emerged from th is section was simila r to the previous section on advice to incoming evangelicals. Th at is, a majority of students stressed the importance of social integrat ion for all incoming freshmen. The secondary theme from this section was the issue of developing self-discipline as it pertains to study time. Related advice had to do with being intent ional about developing in the area of time management. Spirituality The impact of college on the spiritual life. Every participant indicated that their spiritual life was being influe nced by the college experience in some capacity. In fact, counter intuitively, there was not one participant who did not indicate that the overall college experience was positively impacting th eir spiritual lives. When asked for a reason for that influence, the primary reason had to do with the influence of other Christians and the teaching they were receiving from campus ministries and th e college ministries of the local churches. Most of the students expressed awareness that they had experienced spiritual growth as a result of the entire college experience. For example, when Katrina was asked whether the college experience was influencing her spiritual life, she explained, Katrina: Yes, IÂ’ve definitely grown so much more umÂ…since IÂ’ve been here and IÂ’ve been on my ow n. In that way I donÂ’t think anything has been a negative aspect on my spiritual life. IÂ… IÂ…kind of had Christians, Christ ianity or being a
238 Christian kind of pressured and put on me my entire life. My parents always went to that church, I grew up in that church so it was veryÂ… so coming here wasnÂ’t about If I choose to leave this lifestyle itÂ’s going to be Â… have a better impact for me and IÂ’m going to grow more b ecause itÂ’s something I want and IÂ’m pursuing it instead of just somebody spoon feeding it to me. ThatÂ’s a big change from where IÂ’ve come from. So, I donÂ’t regret it. ItÂ’s been a positive thing. (3/2/06 INT.) However, when pressed further, the students i ndicated that their participation in college ministries and the influence of the evangelical friends were the sour ces of their spiritual growth. For example, F: Do you believe that your college experi ence is influencing your spiritual life? Please explain. Victor: Yes, very much so, after the New Orleans trip. F: In what direction would you say, is it positive or negative? Victor: Very positive. F: Does it being positive have anything to do with the social structure of the university itself? For example, the soci al interactions th at you have with classmates and the coursework itself or does it have more to do with your involvement with the campus ministries? Victor: No, itÂ’s because of the campus ministries. F: So, itÂ’s positive but itÂ’s posi tive because of the ministries. Victor: Yeah.
239 F: What would your experience be like if all of the Christian groups were evicted from campus? Victor: Well, if I hadnÂ’t joined BSM my experience would actually be pretty miserable. I wouldnÂ’t have anything to l ook forward to or have positive about. F: How long have you been attending BSM? Victor: Just in the last mont h. I went to 2 meetings between last semester and this semester and it just so happens that at one of those meetings the mission trip [for Katrina victims in New Orleans] was being discussed. (3/23/06 INT.) Similarly, F: Last time, you shared a lot about your life in general and about your spiritual life and beliefs. In general, how do you feel you have changed in this first year of college? Paul: IÂ’ve learned a lot more about how my relationship with God needs to be. In both semesters IÂ’ve been in a Bible study whether it be a small group or the whole BSM. But like what IÂ’ve learned about the spiritual disciplines about trying to become betterÂ… have a better spiritual life and stuff like that. So thatÂ’s really helped me. F: How has it helped you? Paul: ItÂ’s made me realize things I ne ed to do, or I need to try and do. Like, thereÂ’s been spiritual discip lines like praying, studying the Word that I donÂ’t do a whole lot but I need to try and do a lot more. (4/21/06 INT.) Those that indicated both positive and ne gative influences cited an immoral university ethos as the primary negative infl uence on their spiritual lives. For example,
240 when Dirk was asked whether the college expe rience was influencing his spiritual life, he replied, Dirk: Probably both positive and negative. WeÂ’ll start with negative, I guess. There were a lot of boundaries that were br oken down such as that there werenÂ’t a lot of evangelicals that were around so maybe I found myself influenced by certain events that were taking place around me in the dorm, not that I participated in any but just kind of, you know that whole conscience thing that gets worn down the more you are around those who could care less about it. It was just one of those things where I wa s at the point where I was just you know, whatever, I canÂ’t really stop them t ype of thing. I donÂ’t think I was ever influenced to the point of jumping in and saying Â“hey why not?Â”, but it was hard spiritually to see th ese things going on. F: What things? Dirk: Roommates having girls over for the night, sex signs in the windows (soliciting for sex), you know itÂ’s hard spiritu ally seeing those things. ItÂ’s like, is there anybody else that cares ? To close this thing negatively, it was destructive spiritually. It was feeling like a lo sing battle kind of a thing. F: Was it that you felt alone because th ere werenÂ’t enough people that would say this is wrong or people that would change it ? You just sort of said this the way itÂ’s gonna be, and I have to live with this? Dirk: I know I wasnÂ’t the only one but you know those ties when itÂ’s more like a psychological thing where itÂ’s like IÂ’m alone basically and when youÂ’re not it just feels that way. Does that make sense?
241 F: Yeah. Dirk: I donÂ’t know how else to describe it really. But pos itiveÂ…all that resulted in future growth just learning to depend a lot more on what God has around the corner rather than whatÂ’s right in front of you. You know what He could be trying to teach you through the semester of s eemingly bad experiences by just depending on Him. So IÂ’d have to say my biggest sp iritual encouragement was just faith and learning to walk by that rather than tr ying to sort things out and go with the knowledge that I had of what I thought co llege would be like. Does that answer the question? (2/18/06 INT.) Similar to Dirk, Evan believed that the coll ege experience was influencing his spiritual life in both directions. Like several others, Ev an attributed his spiritual growth to the spiritual challenges that he f aced as a college student. F: Do you believe that your college experi ence is influencing your spiritual life? It could be positively, negatively or could be even both? Evan: Yeah, definitely both. ItÂ’s just more open, you know, like I said earlier. More freedom just to explore things but it challenges your faith which makes it stronger. My spiritual life has definitely grew since IÂ’ve started college but itÂ’s also been a lot harder too, you know. ItÂ’s a struggle. F: WhatÂ’s the struggle over? Evan: Ah, everything. You know, just pr essure, temptations, you know, lust and ah just everything. You know, laziness, got to fight that all the time. ItÂ’s just a constant attack because IÂ’m definitely growing and the people that IÂ’ve met here and everything, so I guess Sa tan doesnÂ’t like that.
242 F: In the positive direction, let me go back to that last question for a minute, whatÂ’s positive spiritually is that youÂ’v e been challenged and therefore thereÂ’s been struggle and therefore thatÂ’s helped you to grow. In regard to the conflict, you mentioned the words pressure, temptati on, lust, and laziness in that conflict. ThatÂ’s actually promoted your growth? Evan: Yeah. (3/18/06 INT.) Closer to God To the question of general and spiritual changes and what accounts for those changes during the freshman year (Interview 2, question #23), there was unanimity in that every participant perc eived themselves to have grown personally and spiritually during the freshman year. Partic ipants indicated that they had grown in the area of improved social skills. They also e xpressed growth in beco ming more personally accountable and responsible for themselves. There were no students that indicated that the college experience had convinced them to abandon their faith. In fact, positive spiritual growth was mentioned by all twenty st udents. This seems to be one of the most counterintuitive findings in th is study. The challenges of college in general and the campus ministries were the most oft cite d reasons for growing in the faith. The participants indicated that depth of spiritual understandi ng and biblical knowledge was the foremost area of spiritual growth. The fact that the college experience gave them the freedom to own their own faith was also mentioned as a major catalyst for growth. F: Last time, you shared a lot about your life in general and about your spiritual life and beliefs. In general, how do you feel you have changed in this first year of college? In general how have you changed?
243 Leti: I really think IÂ’ve grown a lot, y ou know I think this is the time when you either lose it or grow and I rea lly feel like I have grown a lot. F: Anything else? When you say grown you mean in a, from a standpoint of maturity, from a standpoint of sp irituality, a standpoint of both? Leti; Both, I guess and just also learning. F: Okay, academics? Leti: Yeah. F: So, as the whole person, maybe just simplify it and say as a whole person spiritually, academically, socially youÂ’ve grown? Is that all accurate? Leti: Yes. F: Can you tell me if any of your spir itual beliefs have changed since the beginning of this year? Leti: I guess I realized a lot of things that I have been doing wrong in my life, but I guess that goes with spir itual growth. You change. F: What do you think accounts for that cha nge in recognizing, recognizing the say the laws or theÂ… Leti: Just as you learn more about God and have a deeper relationship with Him, I think He reveals to you what you are doi ng wrong in your life, and also like reading the Bible and going to Bible st udies and watching other Christians and having them as role models you see what youÂ’re doing wrong. (4/21/06 INT.) F: Last time, you shared a lot about your life in general and about your spiritual life and beliefs. In general, how do you feel you have changed in this first year of college?
244 Victor: Begin to get to be more realistic about certain things about college; of course, since IÂ’m in college, I really think about how much work I have to do, about time, even though I havenÂ’t fixed thos e. And um, spiritua lly like, how have I changed, right? Is that the question? F: Actually, yeah, one of my questions is spiritual and uh, so let me justÂ…IÂ’ll put spiritual as a general, and then IÂ’ll ask for some detail on the spiritualÂ….any other changes besides realistic about college, realistic about work and time and spiritual life? Anything else, in general? Victor: Uh, IÂ’ve made more frie nds, but yeah, thatÂ’s about it. F: Made more friends from the se nse of the beginning of the year. Victor: Yeah. I havenÂ’t really learned more academically. F: Okay. Can you tell me if any of your spiritual beliefs have changed since the beginning of this year? Victor: IÂ’ve gotten in touch with my spirituality, with God, with religion, and all that. F: Does that suggest that you were out of touch before? Victor: Yes, I guess so, yes. I wasÂ…I was a strong believer before, but certain practices like IÂ’m trying to learn more scripture and moreÂ… yeah, IÂ’m getting more guidance, both by others and by th e Bible. And IÂ’m seeking guidance. Before, I was trying to base everything on kind of like self-knowledge and all thatÂ…even though I was a firm believer. F: If yes, what accounts for that change?
245 Victor: The New Orleans (Hurricane Katr ina missions) trip with them and the friends that I made. (4/11/06 INT.) F: Last time, you shared a lot about your life in general and about your spiritual life and beliefs. In general, how do you feel you have changed in this first year of college? Evan: Yeah. F: How would you say th at youÂ’ve changed? Evan: I think I have a lot more experience. F: You have more experience? Evan: Yeah, spiritually. F: Spiritually? Evan: Here IÂ’ve become slightly spirit ually stronger, havenÂ’ t changed too much but yeah, I have changed. It Â’s just hard to pinpoint. F: When you say your slightly spiritua lly stronger can you explain what you mean? Evan: Um, I go to the Bible studies and st uff and I most services and the Word and knowledge and everything. IÂ’m starting to be able catch on a little more to the spiritual side of things, just what GodÂ’s trying to say to me and learning the Word (the Bible) thr ough other people. F: The last question is: Can you tell me if any of your spir itual beliefs have changed? You said youÂ’ve become more sensitive to whatÂ…youÂ’ve become deeper spiritually because youÂ’ve become more sensitive to what GodÂ’s trying to communicate to you. That is a form of ch ange, any beliefs change though? ThatÂ’s
246 more of a growth kind of a thing, wher eas anything like you started here and you believed this way and now you believe another way? Anything like that? Evan: No. F: So would you say that really the cha nge again would be in terms of depth? Evan: Yeah, spiritual growth. F: Spiritual growth and depth. How do you account for the spiritual growth and depth? Evan: Continual fellowship w ith the brothers and Christians on Campus and the sharing my faults and letting them share with me. F: DidnÂ’t you say youÂ’ve developed good friendships through yourÂ… how many good friends have you been able to gain by affiliating with those organizations? Evan: Five or six. F: Five or six, thatÂ’s great! (4/24/06 INT.) F: Last time, you shared a lot about your life in general and about your spiritual life and beliefs. In general, how do you feel you have changed in this first year of college? James: Like I said earlier in this interv iew, one of the biggest and exciting things about college was freedom and responsib ility. Freedom and responsibility I had the option of depending upon myself for a lo t of things or depending on God for a lot of things. I want to really lift up specific things to God in prayer, you know, and watch Him work. ThatÂ’s been a rea lly exciting thing to do. Sometimes itÂ’s kind of weird praying to God about something, like a car or something like that. It kind of sounds funny when I do it, and then I wonder if I have enough faith that
247 HeÂ’ll accomplish it. But fast, you know, you pray and say itÂ’s really counting on Him to make things happen. ItÂ’s a good experience. F: So what youÂ’re saying is youÂ’ve become more willing to rely on the Lord as opposed to your own resources? James: Yeah, I mean do whatever I can w ith what HeÂ’s given me and definitely Â…but thereÂ’s things that are out of my r each unless God works in a special way or provides an opportunity. So we just pray that He would provide an opportunity and make things happen. Sometimes it seems so odd when He actually opens a door and makes it happen you think wow He r eally had His hand in this. He really made it work the way it was supposed to work out. He made it work out the best way possible that it was supposed to work out I see that sort of thing in financial problems but also in the way HeÂ’s been working in peopleÂ’s lives and in my life and Jacob's life. F: Can you tell me if any of your spir itual beliefs have changed since the beginning of your freshman year? James: Nope. Still as staunch of a Calvinist as ever! F: Change doesnÂ’t necessarily impl y abandoning anythingÂ… have you developed at all? Do you feel like, in terms of y our doctrinal or Bibl ical knowledge have you experienced any sort of growthÂ… James: IÂ’ve been doing a class this se mester. WeÂ’ve been going through the Westminster confession of faith and discussing that. Not that necessarily IÂ’m running into a lot of stuff thatÂ’s new it just explains better, clear understand if that makes any sense. IÂ’m familiar with all the concepts that weÂ’re talking about and
248 IÂ’m not really learning anything new but IÂ’m hearing it explained better and it makes completely more sense on a more comprehensive level. F: So could you say that youÂ…Would you say that your increase in knowledge increased your faith? James: I think to a certain degree, yes. To another degree es pecially running over the doctrine of election and I just had to look at my life and the things that I struggle with and how I can be a Â“dog returning to my own vomitÂ” sometimes. Reading over those things and then feeli ng convicted about my own sins, IÂ’ve Â… to a certain degree have doubted my salv ation at times. But I donÂ’t think that thatÂ’s necessarily an unhealt hy thing. I think that that Â’s something that makes you search more and when you rebound from th at your faithÂ’s ev en stronger, you know? I think that thereÂ’s been a growing process in my fa ith definitely this year. (4/19/06 INT.) One theme that emerged out of several different interview questions was the perception on the part of most of the partic ipants that the overall college experience had forced them to take ownership of their own faith. For example, F: Do you believe that your college expe rience is influencing your spiritual life? James: I think that the fact that IÂ’ve lived at home my whole life and that IÂ’ve gone to private school and home school my whole life and now going to college I realize how much of my faith has been ridi ng in the back seat of my parentsÂ’ car. My parentsÂ’ car being their faith and they Â’re driving because it Â’s their faith. Me riding in the back seat of that car along for family devotions and prayer times and things like that. And IÂ’ve ne ver really been forced to make my faith my own. And
249 going into this experience IÂ’m not ar ound all the time for family devotions and prayer time and things like that. And I realize how much I failed to make my Christian walk my own, because IÂ’ve always just been in a Christian atmosphere. Now itÂ’s time for me to sit in the driverÂ’s seat of my own faith walk and, well of course, Christ is the one who is rulin g in my life as opposed to piggybacking on my parentÂ’s, you know, itÂ’s my own walk now. And, you know, disciplining myself in that walk has been somewhat of a struggle and so in coming to that realization wasnÂ’t somethi ng that happened right away. So I think that now that IÂ’ve made that realization itÂ’s a positive th ing. Because I realize what I have to work towards and, you know, itÂ’s a growing pr ocess. But I think if I didnÂ’t make that realization it could have been a ba d thing. It couldnÂ’t have been a very negative thing. I might ofÂ…e ither I would ofÂ…just cont inued to be less and less involved in my Christian walk or I coul d of ended up always just being a baby like it says in Hebrews, you know, who are nursed on milk not being able to move on to bigger and better thi ngs like the meat of the ma tter, you know, the meat of the faith. (4/19/06 INT.) Many of these students indicated that their participation in spiritual activities had increased since they came to the realizati on that it was now thei r own personal decision to participate. They recognized they were no longer passengers in their parentÂ’s spiritual vehicle; they were now operating their own spiritual vehicle.
250 Chapter Five: Conclusion Overview This overview section is organized around the original research questions. I will begin by attempting to address the foundati onal research question of this study. The premier question that this study attempted to answer was the follo wing: Are evangelical students experiencing alienation at American colleges and universities? Perhaps this question is more accurately stated in the following manner: Are evangelical freshmen students experiencing alienati on at the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Texas at Dallas? To answer th at question, it might prove useful to review the definition of alienation one more time. For the purposes of this study, student alie nation was defined consistent with a component of the Tinto mode l called malintegration. For the purposes of this study, malintegration was considered a form of stude nt alienation. Malintegration is defined as the absence of social and academic integra tion. As it was previously pointed out, Tinto did not use the term alienation in his model. Rather, Tinto used the terms incongruence and isolation which, in combination, comp rise malintegration. Tinto (1998) defined incongruence in the following manner: Â…what is sometimes referred to as lack of institutional fit, refers to that state where individuals perceive themselves as being substantiall y at odds with the institution. In this case, the absence of integration results from the personÂ’s
251 judgment of the undesirability of integrationÂ…Incongruen ce refers in general to the mismatch or lack of fit between the needs, interests and preferences of the individual and those of the institution. Reflecting the outcome of interactions with different members of the institution, it sp rings from the individual perceptions of not fitting into and/or of being at odds w ith the social and intellectual fabric of institutional lifeÂ…Typicall y, incongruence is manifest ed in the individualÂ’s judgment that the institutionÂ’ s intellectual climate is unsuited or irrelevant, perhaps even contrary, to his/her ow n intellectual preferences (p. 50-51). Incongruence occurs when integration is pe rceived as something undesirable from the studentÂ’s standpoint. Incongruence can be expe rienced through a wide range of formal and/or informal interactions from the co llegeÂ’s policies and regul ations on academics to daily interactions with faculty, staff, a nd students in the classroom and outside the classroom. Incongruence involves a studentÂ’s perceptions of and reaction to the overall ethos of the institution. The second component of malintegration is isolation which is what occurs when students find themselves removed from the daily activities of the institution and the individuals and groups that coll ectively comprise the institut ion. Â“Isolation Â…refers to the absence of sufficient interactions whereby integration may be achievedÂ” (Tinto, 1993, p. 50). Though incongruence and isolation are clos ely related, the diffe rence between them is that incongruence arises from a studentÂ’s perceptions of the char acter or quality of interactions while isolation results from the lack of interactions. One of the real problems or weaknesses in alienation research that was revealed by the review of the literature (Chapter Two, Section Two) was the lack of a base or
252 reference point whereby researchers can meas ure alienation intensit y or increases and decreases between cases, etc. To this point in the history of aliena tion research, attrition alone seems to provide the lone yet seemingly inadequate ba seline. If alienation in its simplest form is Â“the absence of social a nd academic integrationÂ” and attrition is the reference point or base, then for this part icular case, evangelical freshmen are not alienated. However, this is too simple and does not adequately cover all of the data. Nonetheless, my first argument will support th e notion that evangelicals in this study are not alienated as alienation has been defined. The evangelicals comprising this case were academically and socially integrated at relatively high levels. This is supported by academic achievement (the relatively high mean GPAs for both semesters) and the im portance of social integration to the participants. This is also supported by the obvious success in social integration that was manifested by all but one of the participants in this study. In genera l, the participants expressed that the transition to college was a smooth one. In fact, in terms of successful assimilation as college freshmen, one could make an initial argument that this case could be used to set an ideal assimilation standard for the freshman experience. Please consider that this group accomplished the followi ng during their freshman year: 1) They experienced high academic achievement at relati vely prestigious institutions in rigorous majors; 2) They substantially increased the number of quality relationships in their lives; 3) They successfully avoided many of the moral and self-destructive pitfalls of college life; 4) They recognized positive growth (tim e management, responsibility, etc.) in their personal lives; 5) They acknow ledged the development of im proved social skills; and 6) They acknowledged that positive spiritual gr owth had taken place, particularly in the
253 following areas: their awareness of taking personal ownership of their evangelical faith, their Biblical understanding, and their level of spiritual depth. It is important to note that not a single student expresse d any movement away from their faith. In fact, they expressed the exact opposite ( positive spiritual growth). This was one of the most counterintuitive findings of the study. With th e exception of the spiritual growth because it may not be important to nonreligious parents, they achieved what many parents (secular and religious) hope for as they drop th eir children off at the university. In some sense, these participants might be consider ed poster children for quality assimilation and at first glance could appear to be a mark eting boon for their re spective universities. Another critical point is that there is almost no evidence of participant attrition from college due to worldview alienation. In fa ct, the majority of participants perceived themselves to be a Â“good fitÂ” for their school and the majority also expressed that they generally like or even Â“loveÂ” their school. Only one (Dirk) of twenty participants expressed any doubts about reenrollment. In fact, Dirk withdrew from his university during the course of this study, and I believe he experienced alie nation through social isolation and poor academic achievement that eventually led to his withdrawal. I do not believe that DirkÂ’s withdrawal was due to alienation caused by his evangelicalism or what I previously called worl dview related alienation. In fa ct, Dirk was one of several participants who expressed surprise by thei r perception of the worldview neutrality of several of their professo rs. Although he did express extreme moral discomfort (particularly in his dorm life) which is rela ted to his evangelicalis m, in my opinion, the data is more supportive of the idea that his withdrawal was related to his being unprepared, particularly with regard to study habits, personal discipline and time
254 management. It is also important to note here that all of th e participants in this study expressed various levels of di scomfort with the moral ethos of the university, yet no other participants withdrew or suggested they might withdraw because of the moral ethos. From a social standpoint, he experienced extreme shock at the transition from a homeschool environment to the university. Di rkÂ’s only educational experience prior to his freshman year at UTA had been homesc hooling. He indicated that his mother had been his primary instructor with the exception of a couple of years when he was able to attend a homeschool co-op (an informal arra ngement of homeschool parents that pool their respective areas of expertise across the academic disciplines and provide classroom instruction to groups of home school children one day a week). Other than his aversion to the moral ethos, DirkÂ’s worldview had little to do with his withdrawal. Therefore, it can be safely concluded that this study suffered no worldview related attrition. Consequently, if any malintegration was evidenced in this study related to worl dview, it never reached the magnitude of participant withdrawal Additionally, there was no mention of withdrawal which certainly shoul d have manifested in the in terviews were those thoughts present in the participants. It seems to me that DirkÂ’s withdrawal and the comments of other participants really emphasize the importance of the conn ection with evangelical groups. During the first semester, Dirk indicated that he had not participated in any campus ministry, and he lamented that fact as he reflected back on his first semester experience. His failure to connect with a campus ministry was even mo re significant when one considers that UTA had no organized dorm-sponsored, social integration plan lik e the one that existed at UTD. I believe it is significant that Dirk wa s the only participant in the study to withdraw
255 from the university during the freshman year and he was also th e only participant who did not have a regular connection with a Chri stian group (campus ministry or church). Although the study group was a success from a retention standpoint, to conclude that evangelicals were not alienated as de fined and simply stop there would not be faithful to the data; there is a larger story to tell. Although it is true that this group, as a distinct unit, did successfully assimilate, ther e are some incongruenceÂ’s that need to be discussed further in order that the entire st ory might be told. The whole story is far less idyllic than what has been desc ribed thus far. For the sake of further discussion, I think it may be fruitful to maintain the research que stions but replace one key word in order to properly conclude the study (tell the whole story). The adjustments are to combine questions 2 & 3 and to replace the word alie nation with a less encompassing alienation component known as incongruence. Therefore, the Â“adjustedÂ” research questions are the following: 2 & 3) What are the prevaili ng types and sources of incongruence for evangelical students? 4) What are the dominant themes w ith regard to evangelical student coping strategies? 5) What are the dominant themes that emerge that threaten or impact the evangelical studentÂ’s academic success and/ or persistence/retention? 6) How do the studentÂ’s perceive the institutions reaction to them as they manifest their Christian worldview on campus? The types and sources of Evangelical Incongruence. Although it did not become a retention issue, the participants in this study did expe rience incongruence as defined by Tinto (1998). In fact, these part icipants perceived themselves to be members of a distinct minority group and that status was exclusiv ely related to their evangelicalism. As a minority group, they perceived themselves to be at odds with the campus mainstream on
256 a couple of fronts. Being Biblicists and th erefore moral absolutists, they perceived themselves to be at odds with the moral etho s of the university that they described as Â“liberalÂ” and relativistic though also expressing surprise that campus morality was not as bad as expected. They were also at odds w ith what they perceived to be a mainstream university philosophy that they described as being Â“materialisticÂ” or antisupernatural. The materialism that they described had two f aces. The first face was one of materialistic monism or the philosophy that a ll that is real exists exclusively in the natural realm (with the requisite denial of the ex istence of a supernatural real m). Thus, they were at odds with a mainstream campus philosophy that rele gated their worldview to irrelevance. The second face was a prevailing philosophy of self-centered hedonism that gave preeminence to the accumulation of wealth a nd the gratification of pleasure. Although this later philosophy was mostly ascribed to students, they indicated that it was manifested by some professors as well. Evangelical student c oping strategies. The main student coping strategy manifested by this case had to do primarily w ith social integration. The evangelicals in this case all became members of campus orga nizations in similar fashion to another minority coping strategy identified in the alie nation literature as ethnic enclaves. The idea of the existence of ethnic encl aves on majority campuses was first introduced into the alienation literature by Loo and Rolison (1986). In their study of Anglos, Chicanos, Asian Americans, African Americans, Filipino Amer icans and Native Americans, conducted at a small, public university in the California sy stem, the researchers assessed and compared the extent and nature of sociocultural a lienation and academic satisfaction among ethnic minority students and Anglos. They found that social alienation for minority students was
257 greater than that for Anglo students. The au thors introduced a term they called Â“ethnic enclavesÂ” which they defined as a social un it in which an ethnic subculture could be expressed in a supportive, yet isolated e nvironment. White students perceived these ethnic enclaves as manifestations of linge ring racial segregation whereas the minority students saw them as entities necessary for surv ival in a larger, threatening and generally unsupportive environment. Additionally, the succe ssful (low alienation) institutions in the Richardson et al. (1987) st udy were those institutions that formally recognized, supported, and promoted these ethnic enclaves as positive entities that could enhance the campus climate for minorities. The data in this study does seem to suggest that for evangelicals there are enclaves that were formed based upon the recognition that the evangelical community exists in a state of tens ion with the surrounding campus. Although the tension is not sought nor is it welcomed, it is certainly perc eived. Participants in this study clearly perceived themselves to be a distinct minority group operating outside of the mainstream of university life. That is, there is st rong supporting evidence fo r the existence of evangelical enclaves that function like ethnic enclaves but where ethnicity is not the organizing factor, worldview is. For the ev angelicals in this case, the evangelical enclaves were multiracial and provided the most significant platform for social integration. In this case, the evangelicals were using the evangelical enclave to help them survive in what they perceived to be an envi ronment that has real enmity towards them as evangelicals. In light of some of the respons es that came from my question regarding the hypothetical removal of the encl ave entities, survival is not too strong a term here. The most often cited area of conflict seems to be in the area of moral ity although the data
258 provided several other reasons for enclave membership: emotiona l support, prayer support, genuine care and love, social support, academic accountability, counseling, spiritual mentoring, social networking, a platform for community outreach, worldview compatibility, Bible study, etc.. The evangeli cal enclave also serves the function of providing a worldview alternativ e or counterweight to the ma terialistic monism that was described as being the dominant philosophical system presented in the classroom. Almost all of the participants gave the credit for thei r spiritual growth to their membership in an evangelical entity. The evangelical enclave that emerges from the data includes the following groups: the campus mi nistries, the local churches, all evangelicals on campus (cross denominational or interdenominational inclinations with the recognition of the existence of a brotherhood of all believers), and evangelicals in the larger community to include Christian intellectuals and teachers. A ccording to the data, the importance of the evangelical enclave to the successful assim ilation of this group cannot be overstated. With some participants, the enclave provided the sole social integration platform and some participants had social lives that operate d almost exclusively w ithin the confines of the enclave. The need for an evangelical enclave is also supported by the caseÂ’s consensus that there was a perceived social cost for their evangelicalism which limited their ability to integrate into the larger university community. This was also manifested in the caseÂ’s self-perception that they operated socially more on the level of a community within the university community rather than as members of the university community at large. Another coping strategy that emerged was the expectation and recognition that the university was going to operate within worldvi ew boundaries different than the Christian
259 worldview. As Biblicists, the participants expected to be at odds with an opposing worldview because this expectation is consiste nt with the Biblical narrative. The Bible teaches the existence of a world philosophical system that stands in direct opposition to GodÂ’s system. In fact, the Bible warns believer s that they need to take caution, Â“Â… that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to ChristÂ” (Colossians 2:8). That is, several of these participants understood from Scripture that there is a world system th at desires to take them captive and they are admonished against allowing this to happen. Another similar passage says, Â“Do not be conformed to this world but be transfor med by the renewing of your mindÂ…Â” (Romans 12:2). This passage teaches Chri stians that there is a world system that seeks to conform them into a system of thought that stands in direct opposition to GodÂ’s system. These participants understood that the way to a void being Â“conformedÂ” was through regular Bible study and through regular affiliation with other Chri stians (both are Biblical imperatives). However, the critical point here is that these participants were not surprised by a different worldview system at the univers ity. In fact, they expected it because it is described in Scripture. Their coping strategy was simply to believe GodÂ’s Word as true and act accordingly. Emerging threats. There were no themes that emerged directly related to retention. However, I believe th at the data so heavily demons trates the importance of the evangelical enclaves to social integration, that anything th at the university would do to limit or deny access to campus ministries w ould be highly detrimental to evangelical assimilation. For universities th at value a diversity that includes an evangelical presence,
260 institutional intentionality in building and/ or strengthening bridges with existing campus ministries might be a significant step fo rward in both recruitment and retention of evangelicals. Another way of stating this question might be the following: How can the university improve the college experience fo r evangelicals? Perhaps a more important question is: Are universities interested in improving the university experience for evangelicals? Assuming that evangelical recr uitment and retention is important, the following points are submitted for consideration. Although the treatment of evangelicals in this study was far less hostile than they or I anticipated, there was a strong thread of negative interactions with secular students and faculty that were clearly instances that generated participant incongrue nce. Conversely, evangelical students held atheistic and liberal professors in high esteem when th ey felt those professors treated them with respect as human beings. They also valued thos e that could take positions of neutrality on controversial debates between students. Th e students were quick to acknowledge professors who treated them with dignity a nd sensitivity and who could bring a sense of fairness and civility into academic debate. They particularly disliked when evangelicals or an evangelical position or doctrine wa s mischaracterized. Essentially, promoting positive interactions and reducing the number of threatening interactions would make for a less incongruent experience. Another potentia l step that universi ties could take that might improve the college experience for ev angelicals is more evangelical presence among the faculty. Student perceptions about unive rsity reactions to them. The participants perceived that there was an overall Â“secularÂ” mindset manife sted by the majority of the students and the faculty that generally held evangelicals and their viewpoints in low
261 regard. The participants also perceived that there was a disdain for them or general hostility toward them as evangelicals, not onl y from a religious perspective but also from a political one. They also perc eived that there was a social cost for their evangelicalism. In spite of these negative perceptions, I thi nk it is very important to understand that the participants expressed a hope fo r the well-being of their unive rsity on a number of fronts. They indicated that they regularly prayed fo r other students and the university in general. They also saw themselves as bringing Â“light Â” (moral purity), hope, and a sense of positive encouragement to their campuses. They also sa w themselves as servants to the university community by seeking to meet the physic al and spiritual needs of believing and unbelieving students alike. The group also saw themselves as bringing a sense of worldview diversity to the campus that they believed would not otherwise exist were evangelicals not present. This was evidenced by the perceptions th at professors would deliberately call on known evange licals in order to provide contrasting viewpoints during classroom discussions. Some participants sugge sted that a secular un iformity of thought existed to the extent that only the evangelical perspective allowed for some diversity in viewpoints and the invaluable us e of contrast as a teaching tool. They expressed a desire for the overall well-being of th eir universities and tried to respond to the perceived needs of others. Several students expressed a hope th at their campuses would come to know the love of Christ. Although evangelicals percei ved hostility towards them as a group, they expressed concern and hope for the university community at large. They were not only concerned about fellow believers experiencing moral failures, but they expressed concern for the morality of the entire university comm unity. They held professors whom they described as neutralists in very high regard. They also expressed some positive surprise
262 that the university had not been as hostile towa rd their worldview as they had expected or had been told it would be like. The main poi nts here are that evangelicals deliberately sought avenues to contribute and be a part of the community and also perceived themselves to be contributors to the university community. The participants perceived that the university was intentional in presenting a secular worldview and one of the ways to execu te that was by only hi ring secular or what some of the students called Â“lib eralÂ” professors. It is impor tant to note here that the successful institutions (those with the least pe rceived amount of alienation) studied in the Richardson et al. (1987) study ha d by policy determined to ac tively pursue the hiring of minority faculty as a strategy for reducing mi nority alienation. The participants in this study recognized the scarcity of evangelical faculty and percei ved that that scarcity was by institutional design. Summary. Based upon the definition of aliena tion selected for this study (alienation = malintegration = incongruence + isolation), evangelicals were not alienated. This was supported by the relatively high leve ls of academic and social integration manifested by the participants. This is al so supported by the f act that there was no evidence of worldview related attrition. However, evangelicals did experience incongruence. The sources of the incongruence we re: 1) As Biblicists, they were at odds with the moral ethos of the uni versity. 2) They were at odds with a materialistic monism of the university that led to irrelevance or marginalization of their Christian worldview. 3) They were at odds with the self-centered hedonistic materialism of the student body. 4) They perceived the university to be at odds with them as evangelicals.
263 The study revealed that evangelicals coped with their in congruence through membership in the evangelical enclaves. They also coped through their expectation that the university was going to be hostile to wards their Christian worldview. This expectation is consistent with the Biblical narrative and seemed to have been developed prior to the freshman year. The participants perceived an overall Â“secularÂ” mindset held by students and professors that generally he ld evangelicals and th eir viewpoints in low regard, and they perceived disdain or hostility towards them for both religious and political reasons. They perceived a social cost for their evangelicalism. They also perceived the university to be intentional about presenting a secular worldview and one way of doing that was by hiring secular or Â“l iberalÂ” professors. They saw themselves as being intentional in seeking ways to contri bute to the university community, and they also saw themselves as being contributors to the university community in a variety of ways. Significance This research is significant because it broke new ground as the first study to consider whether studentsÂ’ worl dview could contribute to thei r alienation. This study also was the first study to focus on whether ev angelicals were expe riencing alienation. Additionally, this study is important in light of the high evangelical presence in American higher education based upon the data from th e HERI project (2005). Another reason this study is significant is because I believe th at the Spiritual Ques tionnaire (Appendix B) proved to be useful in determining the authen ticity of each participantÂ’s evangelicalism. Although determining a personÂ’s faith commitment is impossible from a human standpoint, I believe that the instrument help ed me have confidence that I was working
264 with authentic evangelicals based upon their answers, th eir mean scores, and the interview data. I used the ques tionnaire and the interview data together in determining the authenticity of the participan tsÂ’ evangelicalism or the level of their faith commitment. There was nothing expressed in two hours of interviews that would invalidate the high mean scores of the questionnaire data. I beli eve this instrument might prove useful to others seeking to study evangelicals. Implications for Future Research One of the strengths of this study proved to be its greatest weakness. The strength was the social connectedness of the case. As a researcher new to campus and approaching in the middle of the freshman year, the soci al connectedness of poten tial participants to the enclave entities did provide me with acce ss to authentic evangelicals. However, in retrospect, a thriving enclave entity that is strongly supporting evangelical students is probably not the best place to find highly alienated evangelicals. The reason is because a component of alienation is social isol ation. Through the snowballing and interview processes, a couple of the pa rticipants mentioned less soci ally connected evangelicals whose college experiences were not assimilati on success stories but retention failures. In fact, my efforts at contacting these individuals were met with silence. This makes sense as those evangelicals in the pr ocess of seriously questioning or abandoning their faith are not likely to be regular attend ees at a campus ministry or want to talk with someone studying evangelical students. They would likely be withdr awing from that community and avoiding other evangelicals. Therefore, for future research studies with this population, I recommend identifying participants before they arrive on campus for the fall semester. This would require a shift aw ay from campus ministries as a primary
265 recruiting source. Therefore, I recommend the evangelical secondary schools as the primary recruitment source for future studies. Although the university environments under study did not prove to be alienating enough for any participant to abandon their pr evious faith commitment or withdraw from their university, there were enough negative interactions for me to reasonably conclude that evangelicals are experien cing noticeable incongruence. However, there are a couple of factors that make this study less transf erable. For one thing, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has a very strong evangelical presen ce compared to other parts of the country. With the exception of the Midwest, I have liv ed in many other areas of the country and found the north Texas region to be more heav ily influenced by evangelicalism than any other area. In my mind, this potentially make s perceived anti-Christian bias on these campuses a lot more costly to these universiti es. What university can afford to alienate itself from its immediate community? Therefore, it is possible that an ti-Christian rhetoric in these classrooms might be far tamer than wh at might be experienced by evangelicals in other locations. In light of my conclusi ons about the existence and importance of evangelical enclaves, I believe that this group of evangelicals had far more enclave support than could likely be found in many other places. This enclave support makes this case far less alienating than the intensity of alienation likely to be perceived in areas where the evangelical enclave is less pervas ive. In that case, it would not be as transferable. Therefore, I believe that eva ngelical alienation should be studied at other institutions, particularly in geographical areas manifesti ng a less pervasive evangelical influence.
266 There are some emerging themes from this study that might become the impetus for future research. In general, student partic ipants in this study who attended public high schools seemed to experience less incongrue nce than their peers from home school or Christian school backgrounds. Future resear ch might explore whether there is a relationship between the evangelicalÂ’s le vel of incongruence and his educational background (public, Christian, home school, etc. ). Because many participants indicated that they expected to be treated worse (expe rience higher levels of incongruence) than they actually were, future research might focus on how and where those expectations were formed and whether those expectat ions influence perceived incongruence.
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280 Appendix A: Interview Guides Interview Guide #1: Personal Worldview Hi story and Recollection of Semester One Introduction : 1) Please tell me a little about yourself. For example: a) Where did you go to high school? b) Where are you from? c) Do you consider yourself a good student? Explain. d) What are you looking forward to as part of your continued college experience? 2) How has your adjustment to college been up to this point? What do you anticipate to be your greatest challenges for the remainder of this semester? 3) What is your academic major? General Questions 4) Is your college experience different than what you thought or what you were told it would be like (prior to yo ur arrival)? Please explain. Probe for concerns and successes. 5) What do you hope your college experience will do for you? Academic & Social Integration Social Integration : 6) Do you feel like you are a Â“good fitÂ” for this university? 7) What groups and clubs have you jo ined or participated in? Campus activities? Campus ministries? 8) How would you describe the overall moral character of the student body? 9) Have you found a good set of friends here? How did you meet them? 10) How often do you go home? Academic Integration : 11) How did your classes go last semester? 12) Were you happy with your grades? 13) Do you think you were prepared for college coursework? Was it more or less challenging than you thought it would be? 14) Did you have any professors last semester that you will avoid in the future? Without mentioning their name(s), tell me about that. 15) Among your Christian friends, (wit hout mentioning professors by name) are there any professors that they discuss as being oneÂ’s to avoid? What reasons did they give for avoiding particular professors? 16) Were there specific courses that you or your Christian friends deliberately tried to avoid? For example, would you be comforta ble taking a zoology or a biology course?
281 Appendix A. (continued) 17) Are there certain professors that are favor ed or more highly regarded by your Christian group? Explain? 18) From an academic standpoint, were there any occasions last semester where your being an evangelical was an issu e at this university? Probe for occasions and challenges to faith. Social Integration 19) In terms of your social life at college, have you ever found being an evangelical was an issue? 20) Are nonevangelical students aware of your evangelicalism? If so, do you perceive that they respond to you differently than other students? 21) Do you believe that your college experience is influencing your spiritual life? Please explain. *Administer Questionnaire at the e nd of the interview Â– paper & pen
282 Appendix A. (continued) Interview #2: Worldview Conflict and Perceived Student Alienation General Questions 1) Last time, you told me X was going well for you. To date, what else (aspects, events, courses, professors, etc.) have you liked most about your college experience? 2) In general, what about college was a surprise to you (in the good sense), and what was your biggest disappointment? 3) What are the most prominent issues regard ing your college experience up to this point? Explain. Academic & Social Integration Social Integration : 4) Do you feel like you are a Â“good fitÂ” for this university? 5) What groups and clubs have you joined or participated in? Campus activities? 6) How would you describe the overall moral character of the student body? 7) Tell me about your social life? Do you feel like you are a part of the universityÂ’s community or part of a community within the university? Explain? Academic Integration : 8) How are your classes going this semester? Do you anticipate getting good grades? 9) Now that you have been in class for two semesters, how do you feel about what you are learning? 10) Did you have any professors this semest er that you will avoid in the future? Without mentioning their name(s), tell me about that. 11) What advice would you give to incoming freshmen to this university?
283 Appendix A. (continued) 12) Was there anything that stood out in your classes from this semester that challenged your faith? 13) Is it your perception that the university va lues the presence of evangelical students on this campus? Explain. 14) Is it your perception that the university va lues your evangelical perspective on issues? Explain. 15) Does evangelical student presence on campus add anything positive to the university? Explain. 16) I am interested in hearing about your re ligious experience over the past several months. a. Have you shared any of your evangelical pe rspectives on campus? How were they received? Please be specific. b. Have you heard anyone else share their spiritual beliefs on campus? How were they received? c. Do you feel comfortable sharing your religious beliefs/perspectives in a classroom discussion? Can you recount a particular instance when you have done that? 17) What advice would you give to incoming freshmen who are Â“bornagainÂ” Christians? What advice would you give to religious students in general? Social Integration 18) In terms of your social life at college, ha ve you ever found being an evangelical was an issue? 19) Have you met with any other Christians since we last talked? How important would you say your connection with other Christians has been up to this point in the year?
284 Appendix A. (continued) Academic Integration 20) From an academic standpoint, were there an y occasions this semester where your being an evangelical was an issue at this university? 21) Do you feel that your view of how the world works differs from the view of the world presented in your various classes? If so, have those differences impacted your academics in any way (positiv ely or negatively)? Explain? 22) Would you say that what you are learning is consistent or inconsistent with your beliefs as a Â“born-again Christian?Â” Explain. 23) Last time, you shared a lot about your life in general and about your spiritual life and beliefs. In general, how do you feel you have changed in this first year of college? Can you tell me if any of yo ur spiritual beliefs have changed since the beginning of this year? If yes, what accounts for that change?
285 Appendix B: Spiritual Questionnaire This brief questionnaire will be included and evaluated as a distinct unit in both student interviews. The purposes of this ques tionnaire are to unders tand or identify how a participant believes with regard to critical doctrines of eva ngelicalism, and to determine a participantÂ’s level of ideological commitment to evangelicalism as it has been previously defined. Spiritual Questionnaire Directions: Please respond to each statement below by circling the number that most accurately reflects your personal view. 1) I consider myself to be born-again. 1 2 3 4 5 Disagree Uncertain Agree 2) I have come to the place in my spiritual life where I know for certain that if I were to die today I would go to heaven. 1 2 3 4 5 Disagree Uncertain Agree 3) All of the information cont ained in the 66 books of the Bible is information that God provided (revealed) to hum anity. Therefore, the Bibl e is authoritative above all other forms of knowledge, to include all other human and religious texts. 1 2 3 4 5 Disagree Uncertain Agree 4) The Bible does not accurately portray r eality (the universe th at exists and the human condition). 1 2 3 4 5 Disagree Uncertain Agree
286 Appendix B. (continued) 5) Since so many believe that there are multiple paths to spiritual success, Jesus was probably wrong when He said that He is the only way to a rest ored relationship with the Father. 1 2 3 4 5 Disagree Uncertain Agree 6) The one true God exists as three pe rsons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 1 2 3 4 5 Disagree Uncertain Agree 7) Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinl ess life, was crucified, was buried, rose from the dead in bodily form, and will return again. 1 2 3 4 5 Disagree Uncertain Agree 8) The most significant human problem is human sin? 1 2 3 4 5 Disagree Uncertain Agree Directions: In the space provided, please pr ovide short answers for the remainder of these questions. 9) If you were to die today and God were to ask you, Â“Why should I let you into my heaven?Â” What would you say? 10) How long have you considered you rself to be born again? 11) Briefly explain how you came to be born-again? 12) Where did you attend church prior to coming to college? 13) Do you attend church now? Where? 14) Would your parents al so identify themselves as being born again?
287 Appendix B. (continued) 15) How would you rate the importance of your spiritual life at this time in your life? Please circle the number that repres ents the most appropriate response. 1 2 3 4 5 Low Importance Moderate Importance High Importance
288 Appendix C: Participant Recruitment Guide The following guide will be used as a t ool for recruiting prospective participants for this study. The purpose of this guide is to reduce the possibi lity of biasing the participants in any way. I intend to say the following in each recruitment approach: Â“Hi, my name is Joseph Fox, and I am currently a Ph.D. student in Higher Education Administration. I am currently doing research as pa rt of my doctoral dissertation. I understand from _________ that you are a student at this university and that you also happen to be a bornagain Christian. Is that correct? I am currently doing research on wh at I consider to be a ve ry important question. I am trying to find out what it is like to be an evangelical student at a large state university. Would you be willi ng to consider being a part icipant in this study?Â” If the student says Â“noÂ”, then this recruitm ent event is terminated. However, if their answer is Â“yesÂ”, then I proceed to the following: Â“Great. As I said earlier, I am doing resear ch trying to understand what it is like to be a Christian at a large state university. I believe that this is a very important and timely topic since a recent national study on college freshman indicated that 26% of all college freshmen classified themselv es as being Â“born-againÂ”. I believe that through your participation in th is study there is some real potential to be of benefit to other college students and of potential benefit to colleges and universities in gaining a greater understanding of this portion of the student population. The way that I am attempting to answer this re search question is through two personal interviews that would occur on ce in the first half of the semester and once toward
289 Appendix C. (continued) the end of the semester. Both intervie ws would last approximately one hour. Would you be willing to participate?Â” If the person answers affirmatively, then I would proceed to cover the specific administrative details to include setting up the first interview appointment and other administrative topics like informed consen t forms, optional pa rticipant journaling, optional emails, voluntary withdrawal, audio-taping of interviews, etc.
290 Appendix D: Coding Keys Coding Key AI Academic Integration AI-AC Â“Â” Academic Challenges AI Â– Acom Â“Â” Â– Academic Accommodation AI Â– AO Â“Â” Â– Academic Orientation AI Â– ACS Â“Â” Â– Academic Costs AI Â– ADF Â“Â” Â– Advice to Freshmen AI Â– AVGS Â“Â” Â– Average Student AI Â– CLR Â“Â” Â– Curriculum Lacks Relevance AI Â– CR Â“Â” Â– Curriculum is Relevant AI Â– ETE Â“Â” Easier Than Expected AI Â– FG Â“Â” Â– Focused Goals AIFN Â“Â” Â– Faculty Neutrality AI Â– GP Â“Â” Â– Good Pedagogy AI Â– GS Â“Â” Â– Good Student AI Â– SH Â“Â” Â– Study Habits AI Â– Ship Â“Â” Scholarship AI Â– SC Â“Â” Â– Spiritual Commitment AI Â– WLS Â“Â” Â– Workload Structure AI Â– PD/TM Â“Â” Â– Personal Discipline/Time Management AI Â– PA Â“Â” Â– Pedagogical Avoidance AI Â– NPA Â“Â” Â– No Pedagogical Avoidance AI Â– PAF Â“Â” Â– Poor Academic Fit AI Â– GAF Â“Â” Â– Good Academic Fit AI Â– PH Â“Â” Â– Profs Helpful AI Â– PP/PI Â“Â” Â– Poor Pedagogy Or Pedagogical Issue AI Â– QAF Â“Â” Â– Questions Academic Fitness AI Â– FTP Â“Â” Â– Favorable Toward Profs AI RP Â“Â” Research Profs In Advance AI Â– WP Â“Â” Â– Well Prepared AI WV AI Â– NWVD Â“Â” Â– No Worldview Discomfort AI Â– NWVA Â“Â” Â– No Worldview Avoidance AI Â– NWVI Â“Â” Â– No Wo rldview Incompatibility AI Â– WVD Â“Â” Worldview Discomfort WVDS Worldview disagreements Â– students WVDP WV Disagreements Â– Profs WVI Worldview Irrelevance MWV Majority Worldview WVR Worldview Rejection WVM Worldview Minority WVC Worldview Conflict WVAE Worldview Alie nation Expected
291 Appendix D. (continued) SI Social Integration SI Â– ADF Â“Â” Advice to new freshmen SI Â– AO Â“Â” Academic Orientation SI Â– C Â“Â” Challenges SI Â– CB Â“Â” Â– Cultural Barriers SI Â– CM Â“Â” Campus Ministry SI Â– COBO Â“Â” Â– College Of fers Better Opportunities SI Â– DA Â“Â” Â– Dorm Activities SI Â– EE Â“Â” Â– Evangelical Enclave SI Â– ENI Â“Â” Â– Evangelicalism not an Issue SI Â– GF Â“Â” Good Fit SI Â– IM Â“Â” Â– Intramural SI LC Â“Â” Â– Local Church SI Â– MO Â“Â” Â– More Outgoing SI Â– Neg Â– AI Â“Â” Â– SI Negatively Impacting AI (or reverse) SI Â– NCF Â“Â” Â– NonChristian Friends SI Â– NR Â“Â” Non Religious SI Â– NR(C) Â“Â” Â– Non Religious (Classroom) SI Â– UAF Â“Â” Â– Uncertain About Fit SI Â– PO Â“Â” Â– Professional Organizations SI Â– UNC Â“Â” Â– Unconnected Christian AF Abandoned Faith CE College Experience CE Â– MD College Experience Â– Moral Discomfort CMI Christian Moral Influence CP Christian Profs CS Christians Stereotyped COM Choice of Major CSRP Comfort Sharing Religious Perspectives ASRP Apprehension Sharing Religious Perspectives CTF Challenge to Faith EG Â– CTF Expected Greater Challenges to Faith C-UC Part of University Community CWIU Community within University DC Discrete Christianity DICH Dichotomous Thinking FO Faith Ownership HC Hypocritical Christians HV Home Visitation ISU Increased Spiritual Understanding
292 Appendix D. (continued) KWYB Know what you believe LCP Lack of Christian Profs LNM Learning New Materials LS Life skills NCTF No challenges to faith NISL Negative Impact Spiritual Life M Personal Move MAJ Academic Major MAL Moral Assessment Low MAM Moral Assessment Medium MAH Moral Assessment High MCWIM More Christians would Improve Morality MHTE Morals Higher Than Expected MR/CM Moral Relativism/ Cultural Morality MS Minority Status ND No Disappointments NFP No Favored Profs SBAC Students biased against Christians SBAC Â– SK SBAC Â– Skep tics (Atheists/Agnostics) PBAC Professors biases against Christians PSC Perceived Social Cost NPSC No Perceived Social Cost PA Party Atmosphere PC Political Correctness PI Parent Involvement PG Personal Growth PL Politically Liberal PSG Perceived Spiritual Growth POE Positive Overall Experience RC Religious challenges RI Roommate Issue RTRS Religious Tolerance Among Religious Students SC Spiritual Commitment SC-CM Â“Â” Campus Ministries SC Â– EE Â“Â” Evangelical Enclave SC Â– MA Â“Â” Moral Accountability SC Â– SI Â“Â” Social Integration SC Â– EV Â“Â” Evangelism SC-H Spiritual Commitment High SCP Spiritual Commitment Personal SD Student Diversity SED Social Expectation Different SEP Shared Evangelical Perspectives
293 Appendix D. (continued) NSEP Not Shared Evangelical Perspectives SM Social Malintegration SM Â– I Â“Â” Isolation TS Transition to college smooth TD Transition Difficult UC University Community UF University Focus UN University Neutrality UVC University Values Christians or Christian perspectives -UVC University does not Value Christians VE Vocational Emphasis WCA What Christians Add
294 Appendix E: Demographic Chart Student College Major GPA Sem1 GPA Sem2 Race Gender Educational Background Nancy UTD Math 3.5 3.5 Wh ite Female Homeshool & Christian School Gert UTD History 3.27 3.0 White Female Homeshool & Christian School James UTD Accounting 3.5 3. 5 White Male Homeshool & Christian School Sonya UTD Pre-Med 3.25 3.5 Asian American Female Public School Evan UTD Arts & Technology 3.6 3.3 White Male Christian School & Public Victor UTD Biology 3.0 3.0 Vietnamese American Male Public School Leti UTD Business Admin. 4.0 3.0 White Female Public & Private School Kelsey UTD Biology & Business 3.8 3.8 White Female Public School Ivan UTD Business & Finance 3.7 3.5 Nigerian American Male Public School Paul UTD Computer Science 1.98 2.5 White Male Public Tami UTD Electrical Eng. or Biochem. 3.25 3.5 Taiwanese American Female Homeschool, Christian, & Public Herman UTD Molecular Biology & Business 3.83 3.5 Hispanic American Male Christian & Public School Ronald UTD Software Eng. 2.97 N/A White Male Public Schools Susan UTD Arts & Technology 2.75 3.5 White Fema le Christian Schools Natanya UTD Pre-Med 3.45 3.5 Wh ite Female Catholic Schools Chelsea UTD Psychology 3.5 3.5 White Female Public Schools Dirk UTA Business Fin. 1.5 3.0 White Male Homeschool Tre UTA Business Finance 3.0 3.0 White Male Christian School David UTA Undecided 4.0 3.75 White Male Homeschool Katrina UTA PreNursing 3.5 3.7 White Female Public Schools Summary UTA=4 UTD=16 Business=7 Pre-Med=3 Life Sci.=4 Computer Sciences=4 Psychology =1 Math=1 History=1 Undec.=1 M= 3.27 M= 3.34 White=15 Asian=3 Hispanic=1 Black=1 (Minority= 5) F=11; M=9 Public=8 Homeschool+ Christian=3 Christian=2 Homeschool=2 Christian+Public=2 HS+Christian+ Public=1 Catholic=1
295 Appendix F: Spiritual Questionnaire Summary Student Name Score on Key Evang. Doctrines (Qs. 1-8) Born-again Testimony (Ques. #9+11) Born-again for how long? (Ques. #10) Parents self identify as born-again? (Ques. #14) Importance of Spiritual Life (Ques. #15) Christian Denomination Campus Ministry Nancy 40/40 Faith in Christ 14 years Ye s 4 Southern Baptis t Campus Crusade for Christ Gert 40/40 Faith in Jesus & grace 10 years Yes 4.5 Presbyterian Campus Crusade for Christ James 40/40 Trust in Jesus; His death & resurrection 18 years Yes 4 Presbyterian Focus Sonya 40/40 Faith & Grace & Lordship 10 years Yes (Mom only) 3.5 Baptist Baptist Student Ministries Evan 40/40 Faith & Prayer of Salvation 12 years Yes 5 Bible Church Christians on Campus Victor 33/40 Belief that Christ died for my sins 4 years, 6 months Yes 5 Baptist Baptist Student Ministries Leti 37/40 Asked Christ to come in and forgive sins 2 years, 2 months Yes 5 Southern Bapt ist Baptist Student Ministries Kelsey 39/40 Faith that Christ died for sins & GodÂ’s grace 2 years No 5 Assemblies of God Focus Ivan 38/40 Faith that Christ died for sins & acceptance of GodÂ’s grace 5 years Yes 5 United African Presbyterian Campus Crusade for Christ Paul 35/40 Accepted Christ 10 mo nths Yes 4 Baptist BSM & CCFC Tami 39/40 Belief that Jesus died for my sins & accepted Jesus into my heart 10 years Yes 5 Assemblies of God BSM & Focus Herman 40/40 Asked Christ to forgive sins and to come into his life 10 years Yes 4 Southern Baptist N/A Ronald 40/40 Accepted Christ as savior 10 years Yes 3 Bible Church Focus Susan 40/40 Forgiven through the sacrifice of Christ 13 years Yes 5 Baptist Campus Crusade for Christ Natanya 37/40 Led to Christ and saved by Christ 18 years No 5 Roman Catholic & Methodist BSM & Focus Chelsea 40/40 Accepted Christ as Lord & savior 1 year Yes (only 1) 5 Baptist Focus Dirk 39/40 Faith & trust in Christ & Christ alone 14 years Yes 3 Presbyterian N/A Tre 40/40 Accepted Christ as Lord and savior through ChristÂ’s sacrificial death 7 years Yes 5 Bible Church Cornerstone Ministry David 40/40 Faith & trust in ChristÂ’s death and resurrection 8 years Yes 5 Bible Church Cornerstone Ministry **Katrina 38/40 Belief in the death of Jesus for her personal sins 15 years Yes 4 Methodist Breakthrough Church & COC Means 38.75/40 9.225 years 34/40 4.45/5 Summary Baptists=5 Bible Church=4 Presbyterian=4 Southern Baptists=3 Methodists=2 Roman Catholic=1 Assemblies of God=2 BSM=6 CCFC=5 Focus=5 COC=2 Cornerstone=2 Breakthrough=1
296 Appendix G: Informed Consent Forms University of Texas at Dallas CONSENT TO PARTICIPATE IN RESEARCH Title of Research Project: Evangelical Students in American Higher EducationInvestigators: Contact Number [Principal Investigator, Joseph C .. Fox, Ph.D.. C.]: [940-367-6214] [Faculty Sponsor, Fred Fifer, Ph D.]: [972-883-2496] Purpose: The purpose of this study is to fi nd out the perceptions that evangelical students have about their freshman college experience. Description of Project: The procedures, which will in volve you as a research subject, include: Two intervie ws where you will be aske d 20-30 questions. Only you and the interviewer will be present during the interview. You will be audio-taped during the interviews. Also, at the end of th e first meeting you will be asked to take a written survey which has 15 questions on it. Number of Participants: There will be approxima tely twenty partic ipants in this study. Possible Risks* The possible risks and/or discomforts of your involvement include: We believe the risks in th is study are minimal. However, it is possible that participating in this study may cause psychological discomfort. If you feel that participating in this study is increasing your discomfo rt level, you can withdraw at any time. If you feel that you need to speak with a campus counselor, a counselor may be reached at (972) 883-2575. Possible Benefits to the Participant: Participants will not likely receive any direct benefit for participating in th is study. Your participatio n in this study may assist colleges and universities in understanding this large group of stu dents that you are a member of, and the informa tion you provide may be used to improve the college experience for those who follow you. IRB Approval. FWA 00001669 IRB Number: 104-376 From 3/15/2006 Thru 2/7/2007 MAR 0 9 Â‘06 A PPROVEUT Dallas Institutional Review. Board tor the Protection of Research Participants MAR 0 8 '07EXPIRED
297 Appendix G. (Continued) Alternatives to Participation: Individuals may choose not to participate or they can withdraw without any penal ty or change in student status. Reimbursement of Expenses [or Payments to Participate]: Participants will not re ceive any reimbursemen t for participation in this study and there are no financial cost s to you the participant. Voluntary Participation: All individuals have the right to agree or refuse to participate in this study. Individuals who consent to participate also have the right to change their mi nds while they are experi encing the experimental procedure.. Participant s may tell the investigator that they no longer wish to participate. Refusal or withdrawal of parti cipation will not invo lve any penalty or loss of benefits to which non-participants are enti tled. Refusal to participate will not affect participant's legal rights or the quality of se rvices they may wish to receive at UTD. Records of Participation in this Research: Information Stored at the University of Texas at Dallas All of the information participants provide to investigators as par t of this research will be protected an d held in confidence within the limits of the law and institutional regulation. A roster of participant's names will include a random number which will be assig ned to each name The Informed Consent document and the coded roster of pa rticipants will be kept lock ed in the Multipurpose Building, Room 3.218, on the campus of UTD. No other identifiable data will be collected. The only persons who will have dire ct access to the indentifiable data will be Joseph C.. Fox, the Principal Inve stigator, who has been trained in methods to protect participant confidentiality. Information Available to Others: Members and associated staff of the In stitutional Review Board (IRB) of the University of Texas at Da llas, the University of Te xas at Arlington and the University of South Florida may review th e records of your pa rticipation in this research. An IRB is a group of people who are responsibl e for assuring the community that the rights of partici pants in research are respected. A representative of the UTD IRB may contact you to gather information about your USF INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BO A RD FWA00001669 MAR 0 8 07 EXPIRED UT Dallas Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Research Participants MAR 0 9 '06 APPROVED APPROVED
298 Appendix G. (continued) UT Dallas Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Research Participants MAR 0 9 '06 MAR 0 8 '07 APPROVED EXPIRED Complete Idle of Research Name of Principal Investigator Name of Faculty Sponsor or CoPI UTD IRB File NumberPage 3 of 4 UTD IRB Approval: (Date) UTD IRB Expiration(Date) participation in this rese arch. If you wish, y ou may refuse to answer questions the representative of the IRB may ask. Publications Associated with this Research: The results of this research may appear in publications but individual participants will not be identified. Contact People: Participants who want more information abo ut this research ma y contact an y of the investigators list ed at the top of page 1 of this documen t. Participants who want more information about thei r rights as a participant or who want to report a research related injury may contact: Sanaz Okhovat, Research Compli ance Manager972-883-4579 UTD Office of Vice President for Research & Graduate Education The University of South Florida's Office of Rese arch Compliance at 813-9745638 Karshina Valsin, Rese arch Compliance Mana ger 817-272-2775 UTA Office of Research Integrity and Compliance
299 Appendix G. (continued) Additional information is available upon request. Signatures A participantÂ’s signature indicates that they have read, or listened to, the information provided above and that they have freely decided to participate in this research and that they know they have no given up any of their legal rights. ParticipantÂ’s Name (printed) ParticipantÂ’s Signature Date Name of Researcher Obtaining Consent Signature of Researcher Obtaining Consent APPROVED USF INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD FWA2001669 MAR 0 8 '07 UT D a ll as Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Research Participants MAR 0 9 '06Complete Title of Research Name of Principal Investigator Name of Faculty Sponsor or CoPI UTD IRB File Number Page 4 of 4
300 Appendix G. (continued) APPROVED BY THE UTA Â– IRB. The IRB approval for this consent document will expire on FEB 0 1 2007. PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Joseph C. Fox TITLE OF PROJECT. Evangelical Students in Am erican Higher Education This Informed Consent will explain about be ing a research subject in an experiment. It is Important that you read this material carefully and then decide if you wish to be a volunteer. PURPOSE: The purpose(s) of this research study is/are as follows. The purpose of this study is to find out the perceptions that evangelical students have about their freshman college experience. A recent nationwide study in 2005 revealed that 1 in 4 college freshmen i dentify themselves as being bornagain or evangelical students, making your group one of the largest student groups in the nation To date, there has been little research done about how your group perceives the college experience Your participation in this study may assist colleges and universities in understanding this large group of students that you are a member of, and the information you provide may be used to improve the college experience for those who follow you. DURATION You will be asked to spend about five months (one semester) in this study. The study will last this long because we hope to understand how your perceptions about your freshman experience may change over time. However, during that period, you will only be asked to meet with the principal Investigator twice for approximately one hour each meeting. There will be twenty participants in this study. PROCEDURES The procedures, which will involve you as a research subject, include: During both meetings you will be asked 20-30 questions in art interview. Only you and the interviewer will be present duri ng the interview. The interviews will be audio-taped. Also, at the end of the first meeting you will be asked to take a written survey which has 15 questions on it. POSSIBLE RISKS/DISCOMFORTS The possible risks and/or discomforts of your involvement include. Although we believe th e risks to be minimal, it is possible that participating in this study may potentially add to the psychological stress associated with attending college. If you feel that participating in this study is increasing your stress, please call the person in charge of this study (Joseph Fox) right away at 940 367-6214 or if you experience stress during the interviews please tell the person in charge of this study so that the interview can be promptly terminated. The person in charge of this study will provide you with contact numbers of campus counselors upon request. Last Revised 01/31/06 _,Subject Initials Page 1 or 3 IRB Approval FWA 00001669 IRB Number: 104376 From 2/8/2006 Thru 2 / 7 / 2007 FEB 0 2 2006 INFORMED CONSENT
301 Appendix G. (continued) PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Joseph C. Fox TITLE OF PROJECT. Evangelical Students in American Higher Education P OSSIBLE BENEFITS The possible benefits of your participation are: For the society, it is possible that your participation may increase knowledge about evangelical students and how those students perceive their college experience. This increased knowledge may be valuable to many of the nationÂ’s colleges and universities that have large numbers of evangelical students in attendance at their schools. Information that you provide may be helpful toward enhancing the college experience for other evangelical students across the country. For you, the individual, there is no direct benefit other than the satisfaction of knowing that your participation may potentially help other students. ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURES / TREATMENTS The alternative procedures/treatments ava ilable to you if you elect not to participate in this study are: There are no alternative procedures that might be available or advantageous to the subject. CONFIDENTIALITY Every attempt will be made to see that your study results are kept confidential. A copy of the records from this study will be stored In Nedderman Hall Room 504 for at least three (3) years after the end of this research. The results of this study may be published and/or presented at meetings without naming you as a subject Although your rights and privacy will be maintained the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, the UTA IRB, the University of South Florida IRB, and personnel particular to this research (Joseph Fox and Dr. R. Stephen Gibbs, UTA) have access to the study records. Your (e.g., student, medical) records will be kept completely confidential according to current legal requirements. They will not be revealed unless required by law, or as noted above. FINANCIAL COSTS There is no financial cost to you as a participant in this study. FEB 0 2 2008 APPROVED BY THE UTAIRB The IRB approval for this consent Document will expire on FEB 0 1 2 007 Last Revised 01/31/06 (page 2 of 3) APPROVED USF INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD FWAn0001669 Subject initials ___
302 Appendix G. (continued) PRINCIPAL. INVESTIGATOR: Joseph C. Fox TITLE OF PROJECT: Evangelical Students in American Higher Education CONTACT FOR QUESTIONS If you have any questions, problems or research-related medical problems at any time, you may call (Joseph Fox) at (940 367-6214), or (Dr. R. Stephen Gibbs, UTA) at (817 272-3470). You may call the Chairman of the Institutional Review Board at 817/2721235 for any questions you may have about your rights as a research subject. You may also call the USF Office of Research Compliance at 813/9745638. VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION Participation in this research experiment is voluntary. You may refuse to participate or quit at any time. If you quit or refuse to participate, the benefits (or treatment) to which you are otherwise entitled will not be affected. You may quit by calling Joseph C. Fox, whos e phone number is 940 36 7-6214. You will be told immediately if any of the results of the study should reasonably be expected to make you change your mind about staying in the study. By signing below, you confirm that you have read or had this document read to you. You will be given a signed copy of this informed consent document. You have been and will continue to be given the chance to ask questions and to discuss your participation with the investigator. You freely and voluntarily choose to be in this research project. PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: ________________________________________ DATE SIGNATURE OF VOLUNTEER DATE Last Revised on 1/31/06 Page 3 of 3 FEB 0 2 2000 APPROVED BY THE UTA IRB The IRB approval for this consent Document will expire on FEB 01 2007 USF INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD FWA00001669 APPROVED
About the Author Joseph Fox currently serves as Headmast er of the Providence Christian Academy, a classical and Christian school. He has served as a teacher a nd administrator in Christian Education for fifteen years. In 2004 and 2006, he successfully started two Christian school campuses as part of a multi-campus Christian school system known as Coram Deo Academy. He has been recognized as a teac her, having been named Â“WhoÂ’s Who Among AmericaÂ’s TeachersÂ” in 2000 and 2001. Prior to serving in management for Airborne Express Corporation, Joseph served for eleven years as a United States Marine Corps officer. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Poli tical Science in 1985 fr om the University of Florida. In 1995, he completed a Master of Education from Widener University. A year later, he earned a Certificat e of Biblical Studies from Ph iladelphia Biblical University and was honored as valedictorian of PBUÂ’s Institute of Jewish Studies.