Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


The purpose of this study was to investigate, compare and contrast the perceptions and expectations of second-semester freshmen in regard to several aspects of the campus environment at three church-related liberal arts colleges in western Michigan.

The review of the literature traced the origins and the development of private church-related higher education and outlined some rationale for the continuation of pluralism in American higher education. The review further indicated that church-related higher education appears to be caught in a period of self-doubt and uncertainty. Some studies have been conducted to assess the condition of church related higher education in America today, but a great deal more must be done to make an adequate assessment.

As a means of assessing the environments of the three colleges in this study. The College and University Environmental Scales (CUES) by C. Robert Pace (1963, 1969) were adapted to measure the responses of the students. In addition to the five scales of the CUES (Practicality, Community, Awareness, Propriety and Scholarship), a Religious scale was developed. Added to the five major scales from the CUES and the newly created Religious scale were two of Pace's subscales. Campus Morale and Quality of Teaching and Faculty-Student Relationships.

Two forms of the Instrument were used. Form A was designed to measure student perceptions of the campus environment while Form B was designed to measure student expectations of the campus environment. At each of the colleges, approximately 20% of the freshmen were selected as the sample. Ten percent were asked to give their perceptions of the campus environment, using Form A, and 10% were asked to share their expectations for the campus environment, using Form B.

The data generated by the study were assessed In several ways. Student perceptions and expectations regarding their campus environments were assessed. Comparative data among the colleges In the study and between the two forms of the Instrument were examined. Finally, comparative data among the three colleges in the study and similar colleges In the national reference group of Pace were discussed.

The study revealed that all three schools In the study scored low on the Practicality scale. It also showed that students at all of the colleges In the study have come to expect sound scholarship at their colleges and have found It.

The scores on the Community scale Indicated that a sense of community was fair to good on the three campuses In the study, while the scores on the Awareness scale were somewhat lower than those at similar schools In the national reference group. Of particular concern was the fact that expectation scores on this scale were considerably higher than perception scores. The colleges scored very similarly regarding perceptions and expectations on the Propriety scale.

The religious dimension, as defined by scores on the Religious scale, was Important at two of the schools; and It would seem very Important for the moderately denominational school and the strongly denominational school to maintain their religious commitment and Identity. The religious dimension was not nearly as Important In the nominally denominational school.

In conclusion, while the scores on the scale Quality of Teaching and Faculty-Student Relationships appeared to be high at all three schools, the scores on the Campus Morale scale appeared to be sufficiently low to cause concern.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access