College of Education Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 3-24-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Ronald Chennault

Second Advisor

Karen Monkman

Third Advisor

William Hoecker

Abstract

It has often been said that conversations concerning religion, sex and politics should be avoided in most, if not all social settings. In general, it was believed that discussions on these topics could lead to very heated and argumentative debates as the participants openly expressed their views on these subjects. Increasingly, however, religion has become a popular discussion topic in many areas, such as politics, health and medicine, and even the business world. This is likely because religion, for many, is an important part of daily life. It shapes how individuals see themselves and others in the world and may even help to guide life decisions.

Because of its importance in many people’s lives, religion and faith and spirituality (which are often used interchangeably with religion), deserves further investigation. This study attempted to explore the relationship between faith and education as well as examined the possibility that one’s faith may influence academic achievement and career choice. The research questions that guided this research were:

  1. How is faith defined by individuals whose religious beliefs and practices differ across religious denominations?
  1. How does ones’ conception of faith influence academic and career aspirations and/or choices?

This study utilized the research method of narrative inquiry and using three semi-structured interviews with participants from five different religious denominations namely, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu (Jain), Jewish and Muslim. The research results were examined through two lenses: Self-Determination Theory and The Theory of the “U”. The four themes that emerged were Faith within the Family; Faith Choice; Faith with Academics and Career Choice; and Faith in Service to Others.