Does mission matter? Exploring the relationship between the mission of Jesuit higher education and new student affairs professionals

Jennifer Marie Mussi, Fordham University

Abstract

This study examined the relationship new professionals working in student affairs have with the Jesuit, Catholic mission of the college or university where they are employed. The researcher interviewed 28 new professionals with zero to four years of experience at five American Jesuit universities with a wide geographic diversity. In addition, the researcher visited each campus, conducted a though document analysis of materials related to mission and participated in campus tours. ^ The data revealed several prominent themes including a through exploration of the ways in which new professionals are learning about Jesuit, Catholic mission and limitations in subjects' understanding of mission beyond what is included in university mission statements. During the course of the interviews, 82% of the subjects said that the Jesuit mission of the university mattered to them. However when asked whether they supported the Jesuit, Catholic mission, many of the subjects revealed there are challenged by aspects of the Catholic identity. More than half of the subjects have prior experience as a student in Jesuit education and this cohort within the study demonstrated a stronger foundational knowledge of Jesuit mission that their peers who are new to Jesuit education. The Jesuit-educated subjects demonstrated loyalty to working in student affairs at Jesuit colleges and universities and many cite their experiences as an undergraduate student piqued their interest in their career in student affairs. The researcher offers a number of recommendations for administrators in positions of leadership at Jesuit colleges and universities to consider for implementation to better educate new professionals in Jesuit, Catholic mission. ^

Subject Area

Religion, General|Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Jennifer Marie Mussi, "Does mission matter? Exploring the relationship between the mission of Jesuit higher education and new student affairs professionals" (January 1, 2008). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3312058.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3312058

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