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05.07.2014
This article describes the year-long process designed by Edgewood's Student Development Division staff to create, claim, and implement a vision for promoting students' spiritual development during their time on campus.
Encouraging students' spiritual development on college and university campuses is certainly a tall order.
Over the past five years, I have served as Director of College Ministries at Edgewood College, a small, Catholic, liberal arts college in Madison, Wisconsin. Despite our institution's religious affiliation, our overall campus climate does not foster spiritual engagement, similar to many institutions across the country. I realized that our College Ministries' staff of two full-time and two part-time professionals, along with a small cohort of involved student leaders could, at best, have limited impact on the campus through co-curricular programming and individualized services.
The following narrative description of the work at Edgewood College provides a model for how other institutions can implement similar spiritual interventions on their campuses in order to produce this shared vision and mutual commitment. Despite existing challenges, it is essential that campuses develop a climate in which the life-enhancing and transforming spiritual dimension of students, staff, faculty, and other members of the campus community can thrive. An early goal of this collaboration was to increase Student Development staff members' willingness and comfort-level to incorporate spirituality in their individual practices. Unfortunately, resistance from colleagues generates a sense of isolation and can make the challenges seem insurmountable for College Ministries' staff. For several years, staff in the Student Development Division has utilized learning communities in order to expand the staff's knowledge and application of current developments in the field of Student Affairs. One learning community accepted responsibility to explore the role of spirituality in our programming and services. Around this same time, HERI released findings from the longitudinal Spirituality in Higher Education research project. Through the groundwork of establishing a learning community and the Division's shared study, it was evident that more concentrated time and attention needed to be devoted to this important area of student life. Prior to the retreat, the planning committee also sought input from students on our campus. Throughout the retreat, the students' comments were posted around the meeting room, allowing time for staff to read and reflect on the comments before we discussed concerns and themes emerging from the students' feedback.
These student voices illustrate how our students consider spirituality to be very connected to their experiences in higher education, further demonstrating the importance of this work.
In order to begin discussing spirituality with a common understanding, we first needed to agree upon how to define this abstract concept.
For our purposes, we adopted an excerpt from Wayne Teasdale's (1999) book, The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions for common vocabulary regarding spirituality and religion.
Several features of this definition appealed to us, namely that it incorporates both religion and spirituality, provides a broad and understandable description of spirituality, and recognizes, but does not require, religious practice as a legitimate spiritual path. A staff member began the retreat program days by introducing a visual representation or model that described her understanding and experience of spirituality. One session of the Retreat was devoted to discussing the challenges and insights that staff members gleaned from chapter six of Chickering, Dalton and Stamm's (2006) book, Encouraging Authenticity and Spirituality in Higher Education, that addresses Student Affairs professionals' role in students' spiritual development on college campuses. The most pragmatic session during the retreat produced a practical resource booklet for participants.
Using a group writing process, we applied our common language about meaning and spirituality in order to compose conversation starters and questions regarding the situation that could be used to engage students in conversations about each situation. Level One: Testing the Water provides informal, open-ended comments and questions that acknowledge the situation presented by the student, while allowing the student the option to engage in or decline further conversation. Level Two: Wading Pool comments and questions respectfully seek information to assist in opening a genuine conversation when a student sends signals that further conversation is desired.
Level Three: Deep End questions presume a sense of trust is present and that the time is right to encourage further self-reflection, deeper probing and the potential for transformative conversation for both parties. While the retreat better equipped our staff to engage with students regarding spirituality, many realized that one and a half days was not sufficient to address the challenges of integrating spiritual development within our practice and programming.
Each individual follow-up session included group discussion to identify and make decisions regarding the guiding principles that would direct our work. Edgewood College, rooted in the Dominican Catholic tradition, values the lifelong and communal search for truth. Encouragement of relationships that make it possible to share the fruits of one's own reflection with others. We promote opportunities to discover insights from others, to sharpen our perspectives, and increase our understanding of those with whom we agree and disagree. We will work in partnership with faculty, staff, and students to explore intellect, spirit, imagination, and heart as pathways to personal and spiritual growth.
We acknowledge the variety of developmental domains, including the intellectual, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual.
These questions are essentially the same for each of us; so are the movements that help us to answer these basic questions. Therefore, the SDS commits to integrating spirituality and promoting spiritual development through our services and programming as we challenge and support students in their growth toward personal fulfillment, spiritual depth, and cultural competence. Tangible results from a year of intentional staff development, including the spirituality model and the spirituality scenarios booklet have been widely distributed beyond the Student Development Division.
With the creation of this Vision and Values Statement along with the dedication of Student Development staff across campus, our work will continue. With shared vision and the collective effort of our Division to support students' spiritual development on our campus, we have laid a strong foundation upon which to further develop this important work of preparing our students for meaningful personal and professional lives of ethical leadership, service, and a lifelong search for truth. Mary Klink is the Director of College Ministries at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, a liberal arts Catholic college in the Dominican tradition that serves 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students. This warmer light mingles itself with the cold spirituality of the moon-beams, and communicates, as it were, a heart and sensibilities of human tenderness to the forms which fancy summons tip. All content on this website, including dictionary, thesaurus, literature, geography, and other reference data is for informational purposes only. In a world that requires us to experience plenty of hustling and bustling just to acquire basic needs, it is important that we take care of ourselves.


The reason innocent negative thoughts spiritually burden us the most is that we often interact with people (bosses, coworkers, children, spouses) that bring us stress.
Therapeutic activities such as meditation, prayer, and yoga are great for helping us treat and cure our spiritual health. The spiritual health definition involves there being a balance between the experiences we encounter in the physical world and maintaining a positive state of mind. Through creating a campus Vision and Values Statement for Encouraging Student Spiritual Development and structuring intentional training and development sessions, Edgewood's work serves as a model for introducing spirituality on an administrative level within Student Affairs. In this role, I have worked with the College Ministries department to provide leadership for the campus in promoting students' spiritual development. Yet, multiple entry points for engaging in this important work still exist and must be capitalized on if our goal to support students' spiritual development is to be met. Therefore, building effective partnerships with a shared vision and commitment to this work on a larger scale was a necessary first step. The following sections illustrate the process our Student Development Division used to address the spiritual needs of both students and staff, including establishing a partnership among a portion of our staff members, designing a retreat as an intensive professional development intervention for the entire Division, creating a campus-wide Vision and Values Statement, and integrating new learning and reflecting on our progress. It takes openness, intentionality and quality relationships among colleagues a€“ at least a core group of colleagues a€“ who are willing to respect, encourage, explore, and mentor spiritual seekers. These individuals served as sounding boards, ambassadors, and partners in planning professional development for our colleagues.
Generally, the staff was not comfortable discussing the topic and not prepared to integrate spirituality in their work.
This attitude of avoidance is common throughout many institutional types and prevents us from moving forward with this important work.
By recognizing and responding to this attitude, we were able to lay the initial foundation to begin this important dialogue about how to move forward. The learning community introduced the Division to the work of Sharon Parks, Arthur Chickering, Jon Dalton, and other scholars who write about spirituality. The following description details specific activities and materials that were incorporated prior to, during and following this retreat as well as results generated by these efforts.
We also used the same check-in questions after the retreat, to assist in assessing the effectiveness of the retreat.
We engaged in a word association exercise during the retreat, focusing on the words faith, religion, and spirituality. Being spiritual suggests a personal commitment to a process of inner development that engages us in our totality.
The model drew from the work of Henri Nouwen, identifying three professional disciplines (psychology, ministry and theology), three personal movements (inward, outward and upward), and three essential questions of the spiritual journey (Who am I?
Much of our discussion centered on a concern raised by the authors, namely a tendency for Student Affairs professionals in higher education to exclude spirituality from the conversation, despite intentional efforts to provide holistic programming and services for students. The authors and our discussion of their work provided our staff both the challenge and opportunity to claim co-responsibility to develop competencies in the area of students' growth toward spiritual depth. As a group, we shared, critiqued, and contributed further ideas to each other's conversation starters.
A level one conversation might open in this way, "Many students I talk to are asking similar questions about their future.
Level two conversations might begin, "Let's talk about a past experience where you felt you made a difference. As a Division, we dedicated four additional 90 minute professional development sessions during the next year to further develop competencies for this important work. These domains are supported by the Student Development Staff in an integrated manner encouraging holistic health and spiritual depth. Several Human Resources-sponsored training sessions were provided to introduce Faculty and Staff to the spirituality model and scenarios booklet.
While the concept of spirituality is certainly more acceptable in polite conversation across campus at this point, challenges still remain. As a recent practitioner in higher education, Klink brings to the campus setting extensive professional experience in parish ministry. Tell a friend about us, add a link to this page, or visit the webmaster's page for free fun content. View in contextThere was animalism in the soul, and the body had its moments of spirituality. I am looking through Limericks right now on TeenInk to see if I can get some inspiration for a school project in creative writing and came across this one.
Exercises and strategies used in this process provide resources for other institutions that seek to integrate opportunities for spiritual development within holistic services and programming.
Given this task, it didn't take long to realize how essential it would be to enlist partners for this daunting responsibility.
Additionally, building effective partnerships among campus colleagues for spiritual development work on campus also takes commitment to ongoing personal growth. They also assisted in identifying other allies on campus who were committed to similar outcomes. The goal of each learning community is to provide leadership and propose initial steps to move the Division forward on an issue. Reading assignments, journaling exercises, and small group discussions based on our common reading invited staff reactions and questions, as we undertook the challenge of describing our understanding of spiritual development, and what mature values and a self-authored belief system might look like in young adults within a college environment. With statistics like this, we knew many of our students were open to exploring their personal spiritual journeys! Using a 1-5 scale, staff members were asked to rate their comfort level discussing or expressing spirituality with faculty members, group of students, and with other Student Development staff members.
Using a brainstorming approach to this exercise, individuals were invited to express any and all thoughts and feelings about these abstract concepts, including experiences, assumptions, and concerns regarding these concepts. The goal of this exercise was to build confidence and competencies in Student Development staff to provide conversation starters that capably move conversation from a surface level to greater depth, when appropriate and when both the student and staff member choose.


Do you sense any calling, and any way that you could dedicate your career to these concerns?" or, "How might your unique personality, talents and spirituality be leading you? The pace of academic life places great demands on people's time and energy in higher education, such that personal and spiritual domains can easily move to the margins, not integrated into the academy's vision of student growth and development. It is incumbent upon faculty and staff in higher education to model and mentor integration of all domains of human development a€“ intellectual, moral, emotional, interpersonal, and spiritual a€“ so that today's young adults may be well prepared to serve as leaders and builders of a respectful, just world.
She works with the Assistant to the President for Mission Integration to incorporate the founding community's vision and values in all aspects of the institution.
The spiritual life of college students: A national study of students' search for meaning and purpose.
View in contextIt is, therefore, not among our aristocracy that we must look (if at all, in Appallachia), for the spirituality of a British boudoir. Activities such as meditation, prayer, and yoga can help us achieve or maintain good spiritual health. For those of us that do not have a positive state of mind, doing any one of these activities will help acquire it. Even though the institution is sponsored by a congregation of religious women, conversations about spirituality are met with resistance, and sometimes even disapproval. We then set out to discover how and where we might accompany them on this important human search. Often, when authentic faith embodies an individual's spirituality the religious and spiritual will coincide.
Henri Nouwen, prominent 20 th century author and spiritual guide, identified these three questions as core questions of the spiritual journey. Throughout life, we revisit the questions and may discover different patterns that encourage our spiritual development. Resident Assistants learn about the spirituality model and receive training that incorporates the spirituality scenarios pamphlet. Her special interests include leadership development, engaging students in reflection, and accompanying them along the ups and downs of the young adult journey. View in contextEager was as full of spirituality and culture as she had been led to suppose. Good spiritual health is not allowing stresses, negative actions, comments, and viewpoints deeply influence your positive state of mind. Not wanting to lose our jobs, relationships, and families, we reluctantly accept being mistreated. Still, not every religious person is spiritual (although they ought to be) and not every spiritual person is religious.
Nouwen highlighted three inter-related movements that help us discover answers for these important questions as we reach inward, outward and upward.
We anticipate additional synergy arising from the revised general education curriculum, recently approved by faculty at the college, a curriculum, which includes three core classes that address questions very similar to the spirituality model questions. Klink earned a masters degree in theology from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. View in contextIt was not exactly spirituality that was obvious, though the screen of the flesh seemed almost transparent, because there was in his face an outrageous sensuality; but, though it sounds nonsense, it seemed as though his sensuality were curiously spiritual. Having a positive state of mind requires you to rid all negative thoughts, even if they are innocent.
Mediation, prayer, and yoga require us to surrender ourselves to something more powerful than the negativity we receive from our bosses, coworkers, children, and spouses.
As any construct, this model has limits, but it continues to serve as a useful catalyst for conversation.
View in contextThere is a spirituality about the face, however"--she gently turned it towards the light--"which the typewriter does not generate. Instead of communicating emotions of distress to the people that hurt us, we keep them to ourselves. We have the power to repress those innocent negative thoughts that cause us to think irrationally. It is at once a contemplative attitude, a disposition to a life of depth, and the search for ultimate meaning, direction, and belonging. View in contextAnd he involuntarily compared the two: the lack of spirituality in the one and the abundance of it in the other- a spirituality he himself lacked and therefore valued most highly. Keeping emotions of distress to ourselves cause us to develop those innocent negative thoughts. We think about using vigor language towards our coworkers, quitting our jobs, breaking up our relationships, and abandoning our children. To be spiritual requires us to stand on our own two feet while being nurtured and supported by our tradition, if we are fortunate enough to have one" (pg.
View in contextHe vigorously attacked the Dissenting denominations, because he believed them to be a conspicuous embodiment of Philistine lack of Sweetness and Light, with an unlovely insistence on unimportant external details and a fatal blindness to the meaning of real beauty and real spirituality. View in contextIn structure he was the blonde beast of Nietzsche, but all this animal beauty was heightened, brightened and softened by genuine intellect and spirituality.
View in contextOur beloved Madame Flintwinch,' said Rigaud, 'developing all of a sudden a fine susceptibility and spirituality, is right to a marvel.
View in contextSpirituality factors in the prediction of outcomes of PTSD treatment for U.Currier, J.



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