Thursday September 30, 2010

Powerful Testament

The University of Dayton is creating a campus culture in and out of the classroom that shapes the values of students, according to a Catholic and Marianist Philosophy of Education survey.

Most students say their participation in the life of the University of Dayton has strengthened and shaped their values, made them more aware of the needs of others and encouraged them to become more involved in the local community.

In the classroom, more students then ever — particularly business majors and graduate students — say their coursework has shaped their values.

Those are the major findings of the Catholic and Marianist Philosophy of Education survey commissioned by the board of trustees' mission and identity committee. The survey offers a snapshot of how well the University reflects its educational mission on campus and beyond, offering comparisons to a similar survey conducted in 2006.

(Download a pdf of the survey's executive summary)

"The findings are a powerful testament," said Bro. Tom Giardino, S.M., chair of the committee and executive director of the International Center for Marianist Formation. "What does it take for the University of Dayton to create and maintain a culture that values its religious heritage? This survey, with its lights and shadows, offers some answers."

The Business Research Group conducted the online survey of faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, trustees, Marianists and community leaders. Other key findings include:

  • All groups believe the University reflects its Catholic and Marianist philosophy of education "very or extremely well," but implementation can be more effective on campus and in the wider Dayton community.
  • A greater percentage of students, faculty and staff today say the University has made improvements in educating for service, justice and peace.
  • More trustees, students and faculty believe the University educates for adaptation and change. All trustee survey takers hold that opinion.
  • Students, staff and administrators today are more likely to believe that the University provides an integral quality education.
  • Three-quarters of faculty, compared to two-thirds in 2006, say the University educates in a family spirit, one that builds community.
  • The percentage of faculty and students who regard providing an education for formation of faith as extremely or very important remains high, but lower than other groups. Two-thirds of parents, compared to three-quarters in the last survey, believe the University realizes this Marianist tenet well.

"In today's culture, if two-thirds of the people think formation of faith is important, that's encouraging to me," Giardino said. "When people think of faith, they think of Campus Ministry. It's more than that. We're creating a climate that values ethical behavior."

The survey verifies that the quality of teaching remains high on campus. "The percent of students who describe their relationship with faculty and staff as poor is almost non-existent," according to the survey.

For more information, contact Teri Rizvi at 937-229-3255 or rizvi@udayton.edu.