Examining Student Spiritual Outcomes as a Result of a General Education Religion Course


religious education, spirituality, spiritual growth, students in religion courses


In an era in which part-time faculty are becoming a higher proportion of the teaching faculty on most campuses, this study addressed the question of whether student learning outcomes in religious education courses are significantly influenced by whether the instructor teaches in a full- or part-time capacity in the Department of Religion. We examined student learning outcomes in light of the particular mission of a faith-based university, including both spiritual and religious outcomes. We surveyed 608 students enrolled in eight different sections of an introductory religion course at a private religious university. These students were taught by both full-time religion faculty, as well as faculty with full-time teaching assignments outside the Department of Religion and part-time teaching assignments within it (known as transfer faculty). We found that there was a significant difference in most of the religious and spiritual outcomes between classes taught by full-time religion faculty as opposed to transfer faculty, based on an independent samples t-test analysis of students’ scores on the Religious Education Survey (Plummer & Hilton, in press) that was designed for this study. We also found significant differences in students’ scores across full-time faculty members, leading to the conclusion that both hiring practices and faculty development opportunities for all faculty are deserving of further examination.

Original Publication Citation

John Hilton III and Kenneth Plummer. “Examining Student Spiritual Outcomes as a Result of a General Education Religion Course.” Christian Higher Education. 12 (5): 331-348. (2013)

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL



Taylor & Francis




Religious Education


Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor