The Catholic and Marianist culture at the University of Dayton as revealed through students' voices

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Leadership


Advisor: Carolyn R. Benz


The purpose of this study was to explore students' experience of the Catholic and Marianist culture at the University of Dayton. Higher education institutions hold a unique niche in United States culture and colleges transmit culture. Student development theories suggest that students progress through stages of development and there is a hierarchy of environmental influence of students' development. Both bodies of knowledge were backdrops for this study of the meanings one group of 23 seniors at a Catholic and Marianist University made of their four-year experiences. Transcripts of individual, face to face interviews and written follow up questions were analyzed in this qualitative study grounded in frameworks of life history and ethnographic interviewing. Findings include students' trajectory of experience, their perceptions of the culture at UD, and the values and ideals their experience reflected. Dominant were the dynamics of diversity, strong cultural mores based on the values of respect, and the perception of UD's culture as a bubble. Implications for the University of Dayton's role in a competitive higher education market are drawn. Students' voices revealed UD's Catholic and Marianist mission is distinct, it shapes the culture and students' learning, and it remains an ideal which has not yet been fully realized.


University of Dayton Students Attitudes, Marianists Education Ohio Dayton, Catholic college students Ohio Dayton Attitudes, College students Ohio Dayton Attitudes, College environment Ohio Dayton, Catholic universities and colleges Ohio Dayton, Higher Education, Higher Education Administration, Catholic, Mission, Marianist, Students, Culture, Student Development, Organizational Culture, Life History, Ethnographic Interviewing

Rights Statement

Copyright 2016, author