Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Lea A. Hubbard, PhD; Terri Monroe, PhD; Donald Godwin, EdD


college campuses, comparative case study, culture of vocation, emerging adulthood, higher education, Jesuit college, Leadership studies, mentorship, Non-Jesuit Catholic college, qualitative, spirituality, Theological Exploration of Vocation--PTEV


Young adults today experience an extended adolescence, a period of time now commonly referred to as emerging adulthood, in which they delay undertaking the roles traditionally associated with becoming an adult in contemporary society. College has the potential to become the mentoring environment needed for emerging adults to consider their future life choices grounded in the context of their deepest beliefs, shared values, and personal passions. Since 2000, the Lilly Endowment, Inc. has invested over $2 million in 88 select religiously affiliated colleges to fund Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (PTEV). These Programs were designed to help students consider a sense of God's call in their life, or vocation, and to assist them in exploring their vocation during their undergraduate years. This qualitative comparative case study explores the PTEV initiatives that were developed at one Jesuit college and one non-Jesuit Catholic college in order to discover the extent to which their initiatives helped to support (or impede) a culture of vocational exploration on campus. In comparing the two cases, a similar theoretical framework for understanding their Programs' effectiveness emerged from the data. In each case, the success of their Programs rested upon factors related to structure, culture, and agency. The structural elements consisted of the curricular and co-curricular programs put into place to help their campus communities explore the idea of vocation, both individually and as a community. The cultural factors influencing their PTEV initiatives entailed both the pre-existent campus culture shaped by each college's founding religious order and the culture of vocation that their Programs shaped. Finally, the individual actions or agency involved in these case studies refer to the leadership exercised by those who were responsible for the Programs that enabled each Program to be a truly collaborative and effective agent for cultural change on campus. While case studies of just two colleges, the study has the potential to become a useful heuristic tool for other colleges that wish to create a mentoring environment on campus that supports students in their exploration of vocation.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies