Spring 2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Kathleen M. Boyle

Second Advisor

Sandra M. Estanek

Third Advisor

Thomas L. Fish


Student affairs practitioners working in Catholic colleges and universities face the challenge of balancing of two competing value systems: that of the Catholic identity and mission of the institution coming from the Catholic Church, and the values of the student affairs profession. At institutions founded by a specific religious order, the charism of that order can play an instrumental role in a student affairs practitioner’s understanding of that Catholic culture and can aid in that balancing act (Sanders, 2010). These charisms ground religious congregations, providing them, and the individuals working at their institutions, with “distinctive ‘flavors’ or cultures, and act as reference points and as guiding forces for their ministries” (Sanders, 2010, p. 4). However, at an institution not founded by an order, student affairs professionals do not have such a guide present within the culture of the institution (Galligan-Stierle & Casale, 2010). Given the focus on charism in the limited literature on student affairs within Catholic higher education (Estanek, 2002), student affairs practitioners at these institutions are left without professional guidance. This study examines the particular case of St. Isidore University, a diocesan Catholic university. Using case study analysis I determine the nature of the Catholic culture within the student affairs division. I go further to apply grounded theory methodology to analyze how that culture came to be. Finally, I provide recommendations for future practice.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

This file may be slow to open due to its size. For best results, right-click and select "save as..." COinS