Date of Award

8-26-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Philo Hutcheson, Ph.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

Mary Deming, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Sheryl Gowen, Ph.D

Fourth Advisor

Christine Coley, Ph.D.

Abstract

Catholic universities across the United States are perceived as some of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the world. As communities of intellect and faith, they have been successful in educating generations of leaders in both the sacred and secular arenas. In the past forty years, they have also been subject to market forces which have forced a re-examination of their fundamental mission of the singular education of young men. Since the late 1960s these same institutions have admitted women undergraduate and graduate students and have seen an increase in the number of their women professors. Utilizing a qualitative research method, this study seeks to better ascertain the current milieu for women faculty members by examining issues of the experience of women scholars; institutional policies and practices which support of hinder the professional life of women faculty members; the role of scholarship, teaching, and service; the reltionship between women faculty members as a whole; and the articulation of the mission as it relates to diversity. Findings indicate that most university policies continue to favor the advancement of male faculty members; that the founding religious community exerts considerable influence over the programming of the university; that women faculty members engage in service but find their most significant intrinsic reward in the activity of teaching; that while most women faculty members cite the absence of a mentor for their own professional development, they find support in their relationships with other women faculty members on campus; and that women faculty members believe in the importance of the notion of diversity as a favorable attribute they rate particular and sincere outreach efforts as being ineffective.

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