From the heart of the storm: The response of Catholic colleges and universities to the HIV/AIDS epidemic

Joseph George Marina, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if and how Catholic and Catholic-affiliated colleges and universities in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York are responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. ^ The study employed a mixed design of quantitative and qualitative research methods. A review of relevant literature provided the foundation for measuring the effects of five independent variables (institutional size, location, student-body diversity, support from senior administration, and influence from local bishops and Church documents) on five dependent variables that correspond with major components of higher education (curriculum, policy, support services, student awareness and activities, and faculty and staff development). ^ An original survey instrument entitled Catholic Universities' Response to the Epidemic (CURE) was constructed to gather data from 35 Catholic and Catholic-affiliated colleges and universities in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. Thirty schools completed and returned the surveys and data gathered were analyzed by tabulation of simple statistics, analysis of variance, t tests, and multivariate correlation analysis. ^ Additionally, interviews were conducted with selected administrators and student representatives at two institutions within the sample and with three key individuals in AIDS education and ministry outside the sample. These site visits and interviews provided findings for the study that were not detected by the survey. Data gathered through qualitative methods were analyzed by coding. ^ Results indicate that the support of senior administrators and the influence of local bishops and Church documents affect the form and extent of a college or university's response to the AIDS epidemic. No significant variation was found among schools within the sample as a result of differences in size, location, or student-body diversity. ^ Interviews and site visits revealed four major themes or perspectives: a paradox between the importance of AIDS education and an immeasurable effect on student behavior, contrasting perceptions of administrators and students regarding AIDS-related efforts, institutional tensions that result from responding to HIV/AIDS, and the role of leadership in creating an effective and caring campus community. ^ The conclusions provided the foundation for construction of a stage model. The model is comprised of three stages or levels which Catholic colleges and universities progress through in their response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Marina, Joseph George, "From the heart of the storm: The response of Catholic colleges and universities to the HIV/AIDS epidemic" (1999). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9938910.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9938910

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