February 1, 2007

Spiritual Accountability

Susie, like her older brother and sister, enrolled at a Christian university
in her home state. While at the university, she became increasingly involved
in issues of social justice, helping out regularly at a soup kitchen and
organizing a food drive. She attended chapel weekly, as required, but
reported that she frequently daydreamed or took it as 'down time' from her
busy schedule. Has Susie grown spiritually in college? To what degree?
(Please round to the nearest whole number).

The leaders of public and private institutions alike are thinking about
spirituality these days, as the data suggest that's what their students are
thinking about, too. Researchers at the Higher
<>  Education Research Institute at
the University of California at Los Angeles released data in 2005
<>  suggesting that
freshmen care about spiritual matters far more than was widely believed -
and that they find guidance from colleges sorely lacking in this domain. The
researchers are surveying those same students as juniors this spring to
pinpoint any changes in their spiritual lives and the experiences that may
have brought these changes about.

"We feel very strongly that ignoring the aspect of spiritual development is
ignoring the whole student, especially when we learn from our data that our
students are very interested in that," says Helen Astin, one of the
principal researchers for the Spirituality in Higher Education
<>  survey. Researchers hope to survey 50,000
students this spring at 150 institutions across the various sectors of
higher education, says Astin, who stresses that tapping into students'
spiritual lives is an avenue for enhancing student engagement more



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