This book is predicated on the belief that the spiritual
development of college students has been largely ignored in our
colleges and universities, despite the importance of spiritual
matters to young people in their quest to lead integrated lives.
Thus, while academics are understandably proud of their "outer"
accomplishments in the fields of science, medicine, technology, and
commerce, colleges and universities have increasingly come to
neglect the student's "inner" development--the sphere of values and
beliefs, emotional maturity, spirituality, and self-understanding.
The book defines "spiritual development" very broadly: how
students make meaning of their education and their lives, how they
develop a sense of purpose, the value and belief dilemmas that they
experience, as well as the role of religion, the sacred, and the
mystical in their lives. Each student, of course, will view his or
her spirituality in a unique way. For many, traditional religious
beliefs and practices may form the core of their spirituality; for
others such beliefs and practices may play little or no part. While
two-thirds of the students in the study express a strong interest
in spiritual matters, well over half report that their professors
"never" encourage discussions of religious/spiritual matters, and
about the same proportion report that professors never provide
opportunities to discuss the purpose and meaning of life.
By raising public awareness of the important role that
spirituality plays in student learning and development, by alerting
academic administrators, faculty, and curriculum committees to the
importance of spiritual development, and by identifying possible
strategies for enhancing that development, the book will encourage
institutions to give greater priority to these spiritual aspects of
students' educational and personal development.
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