This qualitative thesis brings attention to a phenomenon that is largely neglected in the world of higher education: the faith-intellect relationship. The main purpose of this multiple-case study is to provide a rich description of what a highly spiritually strengthening learning environment in higher education looks and feels like to those participating. In essence, the researcher provides a vicarious experience for the reader. A learning environment that fosters spiritually strengthening experiences for the students is one in which the student-teacher interactions are of high quality and in which the attributes possessed by both the professor and students are manifest through those interactions. The researcher discusses the role the professor and students play, separately and together, in developing such an environment. These findings contribute to the small amount of research already done on the topic of spirituality in higher education. The researcher presents vignettes of four cases in which a spiritually strengthening experience was shared by its participants, offers suggestions about application in academic contexts that extend beyond the four studied, and concludes by proposing areas for potential research in the future. Regardless of subject discipline and religious affiliation, this thesis provokes thought and offers hope for all faculty and administrators concerned with the holistic development of the student.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





spiritual, spirituality, learning environment, faith, intellect