Student spiritual development: A guide for the integration of living and learning Deborah Cady Melzer, Ph.D. Vice President for Student Development Le Moyne College
Session Overview • Reflective exercise • Overview of spiritual development • Engaging big questions • Integrative learning • Cross collaboration opportunities • Discussion
Reflection • James • Maria • Sarah
Spiritual Development involves… • an internal process of seeking personal authenticity, genuineness, and wholeness as an aspect of identity development. • the process of continually transcending one’s current locus of centricity. • developing a greater connectedness to self and others through relationships and union with community. • deriving meaning, purpose, and direction in one’s life. • increasing openness to exploring a relationship with an intangible and pervasive power or essence that exists beyond human existence and rational human knowing (Love & Talbot, 1999, p. 364).
Spirituality is… Meaning, reflection, wholeness, connection, culture, inward orientation, outward practice, sacrifice, search, higher meaning, obedience, personal growth, identity
Student views on spirituality A sense of wholeness in one’s identity or a connection with the divine Both a personal and communal quest
Fowler’s stages of faith development • Primal faith • Intuitive projective faith • Mythic-literal faith • Synthetic-conventional faith • Individuative-reflective faith • Conjunctive faith • Universalizing faith
Park’s Mentoring Community The peer group is the most influential vehicle for student growth and development (Astin, 1993; Dalton & Petrie, 1997; Parks, 2000; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991). Students work through life shipwrecks within the context of a supportive and challenging environment (Parks, 2000).
Spirituality as a tool for… • Student Development • Engaging Meaningful Conversations • Cross unit collaborations
Student Development Understanding Self Self-actualization Vocational Discernment Values clarification Wholeness Understanding Others Openness Conversation Strategies Conversation Outcomes Understanding the World Philosophy of Life Privilege Service to Others Understanding Faith Comfort with the unknown Relationship with the divine Connection between faith and life
Diverse Conversations • Relational Context • Encountering Otherness • Common Language of Understanding
Conversation Strategies Conversation Strategy in the Context of Mentoring Communities Event spurred a meaning of life question Self-reflective thought processing Test out ideas or beliefs on like minded peers Test out and/or debate ideas or beliefs with perceived otherness
Cross Unit Collaborations • High impact practices • Core Components • Jesuit pedagogy
High impact practices • First year seminars and experiences, • Common intellectual experiences, • Learning communities, • Writing-intensive courses, • Collaborative assignments and projects. • Undergraduate research, • Diversity and global learning, • Community-based learning, • Internships • Capstone courses and projects, • Academic advising integrated into curriculum
Jesuit student affairs • Accompaniment • Exploring Questions of Meaning • Well-educated solidarity
Student Voice • If the world was void of uncertainty, then we wouldn’t need spirituality as a lens to understand the world. If we lived in a certain world, rationality would lead us to knowledge and to truth just fine. Somehow all that is happening in today’s world can not simply be explained or found to be true by rational methods alone. My Jesuit education not only allows but encourages me to seek truth and knowledge through my education, my faith, my experiences of the world, and my inner soul.
Conclusion The Deck Prism
Discussion • How might the developmental perspective of today’s college student affect our role as student affairs educators in the Jesuit tradition? • What opportunities and challenges do we face in being called as the authentic mentors, student development and Jesuit tradition suggests we be, to our students?
Contact Information Deb Cady Melzer VP for Student Development Le Moyne College firstname.lastname@example.org 315-445-4525