Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Barbara Rieckhoff

Second Advisor

Sr. Mary Paul


This research paper examines the challenges of Catholic identity in American universities using DePaul University as a case study. Carrying out the research, two research questions were posited: 1. What is the perception of Catholic identity presently at DePaul University? 2. What are the challenges of Catholic identity at DePaul? To answer the questions an interview and survey were conducted among a selected group of faculty and students at the university. The interview and survey centered on the experience of Catholic identity, elements of Catholic identity, and the challenges of Catholic identity at DePaul. Five challenges of Catholic identity were reviewed in the literature review. These five challenges were used in the survey to understand the challenges of Catholic identity at DePaul.

The results from the interview and survey showed that Catholic identity at DePaul University is stronger in extracurricular affairs (outside the classroom) than in curricular affairs (inside the classroom). The interview and survey also showed that out of the five challenges mentioned in the literature review, three are present at DePaul. These include fewer Catholic faculty, research interests (Catholic curriculum), and finance. The results suggested that more attention is given to Catholic identity outside of the classroom than in the classroom. This can be attributed to the effect of the work of the mission and ministry department. However, though the figures of the presence of Catholic identity in the classroom are good, they can be made stronger.