Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher and Adult Education


Higher Education

Committee Chair

James I. Penrod

Committee Member

Katrina A. Meyer

Committee Member

Patricia H. Murrell

Committee Member

Brooks Ramsey


The study is a qualitative research study done with the purpose of exploring how seven teachers at a mid-southern, state-supported, urban research university perceive their spirituality to inform their teaching philosophy. The researcher discusses the increased attention noted in educational literature, in recent years, with respect to the relationship between the spirituality of teachers and the ways in which they think about, and engage in, teaching. The heart of the study is based in his exploration of these concerns with seven teachers in higher education in regard to six areas of inquiry: What do these teachers in higher education think about their spirituality and/or religion? What do these teachers in higher education think about the processes of teaching and learning? How do spirituality and teaching come together in the cognitive processes, the affective experiences, and the actions—that is, in the person—of each of the participants? What are the perceptions of these teachers with respect to the factors that have enabled them to reach, or not to reach, their students in ways that promote growth and development? What kinds of experiences have manifested these learning and developmental exchanges? And what can be learned about the connections between spirituality and teaching based on the perceptions and experiences of these seven teachers in higher education? The researcher details the unique story of each professor with respect to these six questions and summarizes the common perspectives of the participants in regard to these concerns. He concludes that the experiences and perspectives of these seven participants indicate that spirituality is an important frame of reference through which some teachers see, experience, and interact with the world, which, in turn, informs their teaching. This type and degree of influence differs from one person to the next, but the composite picture presented in the stories of these seven professors attests to the fact that spirituality does inform the teaching of some teachers in higher education. The researcher concludes by suggesting that the institution of higher education would do well to find ways of building on this important resource in its midst.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.