Does Catholic Identity Affect Students?

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The implicit aim of much of the work on the Catholic identity of Catholic colleges and universities has been to ensure students encounter and appropriate the Catholic tradition. Thus, to have a full account of Catholic identity, one needs to attend to students and their perspectives. This paper attempts to address this aspect of the work. Data were gathered and compiled from more than 1,000 students at 26 different Catholic colleges and universities concerning their perceptions of their institutions’ Catholic culture. From these two data sets a linear regression was conducted to examine which institutional characteristics of a college or university affected student perceptions of Catholic identity. Findings show that institutional factors account for approximately 25 percent of the variation in student perceptions and that the aspects that have the greatest impact are those that students encounter on a regular basis.

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